Thanks to a new generation of travelers, your job as a hotelier is no longer as simple as “here’s your room key, enjoy your stay.” Guests, quite simply, want more. What lies behind the “more” is something called the experience economy, driven by people’s growing interest in spending money on experiences rather than on material goods.
These are the guests who want to create memories, show off their surroundings, and share every detail of their vacation—typically on social media. Of course, it will come as no surprise that Millennials, the nation’s biggest generation by the numbers, are at the forefront of this trend. And it’s their vacation expectations (and their smartphones!) that are shifting hotel strategy.
Is your hotel primed for delivering experience-driven stays? Here are a few ideas that can help your property engage today’s travelers.
There are many ways you can gather information about your guests and use it to personalize their stay. One way is to use booking confirmation emails as a survey tool.After providing the requisite reservation details in an email, ask guests to answer a few questions that will help you make their stay special, like “What are your vacation goals?” Based on guests’ response, have items waiting in their room upon arrival. For sunbathers, provide visors and vouchers for poolside cocktails. For tourists, provide guides to local attractions and free shuttles to popular locations. Another way to personalize the guest experience is by offering a guest portal. Allowing guests to manage their reservation, input preferences and requests and communicate with hotel staff will ensure a comfortable, enjoyable, personalized stay for every guest.
Make Local Connections
Connecting to other local businesses can produce amazing experiences for your guests. Your concierge staff and managers can build up those connections through professional and social networks, and purposeful outreach to people and places that can partner with you on mutually beneficial relationships. For example, establishing a relationship with the maître d’ at your city’s hottest restaurant could come in handy for guests looking for hard-to-get reservations. It’s all about having the power to provide seemingly exclusive perks that create unforgettable memories.
Create In-Room Ambiance
Make the guest room itself an experience by incorporating unique features that will appeal to Millennial travelers. For wellness enthusiasts, some hotels have rooms with cork flooring, eucalyptus bedding, adjustable lighting, and an in-room fitness zone with yoga matts, resistance bands, and on-demand video workouts. Other hotels are offering in-room amenities for dog lovers, such as treats, a plush dog bed, feeding bowls and toys. Offering rooms geared toward different interests and travel needs will make guests feel understood and highly appreciative for their specialized experience.
Capitalize on Locale
What unique adventures are available in your area? Make the most out of why guests travel to your location and offer to arrange outings or incorporate them into packages so guests can choose from an array of experiences when they book a room. Make sure the experiences you offer are truly site-specific, such as enjoying a champagne picnic in the Grand Canyon when staying in Arizona or going fishing on a sailboat in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. For the best deals and ideas, look into partnerships with local or online tour companies, and focus on attractions that guests will want to post about. Also look into options that integrate with your property management system for the ability to sell tickets directly through your property.