In our increasingly global business community, young professionals are seeing the world early and often in their careers, all the while collecting loyalty points and favorite destinations. And as they do so, Monday’s business traveler becomes Friday’s vacationer.
But the millennial generation seeks more than elegance and leisure. They think of themselves as explorers rather than tourists, traveling in pursuit of adventure and cultural immersion. Many millennials would rather visit a dig for ancient pottery than walk around a museum to look at art on walls. Compared to those of previous generations, the expectations and reasons for travel have radically transformed—marking a shift toward the “experience economy.”
Delivering experiences through technology
As the home base for millennial adventures, hotels have an opportunity to use technology to deliver these sorts of experiences both digitally and in three dimensions. What if you could lead potential visitors through an individually tailored preview of all that your hotel and local area have to offer? Using iBeacon technology, hotels can now have apps that walk patrons through the locations inside the property. Apps can also provide detailed information about dining experiences, local entertainment and hotel amenities—and not just flat photos or a copy of the online menu. These applications dig deep into the experience, giving users an authentic sense of what is offered, which helps to inform their decisions as they plan their activities.
Travel companies also stand to gain from employing technology to captivate travelers. The “Game of Thrones” tours in Ireland, Croatia and Spain provide excellent examples. Travel companies engage the fans of the super hit HBO series at actual filming locations through storytelling and trivia about the actors, crew and shoot. Push notifications deliver facts and clues to smartphones about local spots to glue the traveler into the experience, and augmented reality enhances sets where fans can take pictures in period costumes with themed backdrops.
The key lies in maintaining a balance between the games or storytelling and self-discovery, without making the entire exercise too rigorous. The digital component, when carefully personalized, can elevate the guest experience to new levels.
Accessing millennials through user-generated content
Millennials have set themselves apart in their willingness to depend more on social networks than on marketing efforts to help inform their purchases. In fact, social media is rapidly emerging as a channel for online reputation management for the hospitality industry. User-generated content is deemed more credible and therefore more actionable for today’s traveler. Hotels and travel companies can harness the power of social networks by providing online communities for their guests through the use of apps and forums.
Millennials tend to reach for their phone before they reach for their wallet. From a single sophisticated smartphone application, these travelers can now get a comprehensive view of every aspect of their experience. From tailored offerings and suggestions to online reviews of the lobby bar to access to hotel services, technology allows you to reach the hearts and minds of this new generation of travelers.
Mindtree understands that new and quality experiences are central to a memorable holiday or business trip. We empower our hospitality and leisure clients with robust digital and technology solutions that focus on guest experience. If you would like to transform your hospitality brand into a digital storyteller, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.