The Millennial Effect on the Hospitality Industry
Cornell Center for Hospitality Research sees the “Millennial effect” as one of the most significant trends affecting the hospitality industry in recent years.The Millennial generation, those currently...
Cornell Center for Hospitality Research sees the “Millennial effect” as one of the most significant trends affecting the hospitality industry in recent years.
The Millennial generation, those currently in their early 20s, is forecast to represent around 50 percent of all travelers by 2025, according to the Cornell Center, so hotels must take their needs seriously.
For hotels planning to change their legacy phone systems to more advanced solution such as Voice over IP (VoIP) or Unified Communication (UC), the Millennial effect has a number of implications.
The Millennial generation is tech-savvy. While many hotels rely on call centers or front desks to provide information, their Millennial customers are using smartphones or tablets to look for information on comparison websites or social media.
But, if they do contact a hotel to get information or make a reservation, they may prefer to use email, text, Instant Message or chat, rather than a phone. VoIP and UC have the capability to handle all types of messages through a single inbox, so staff can manage them and respond quickly without checking many different devices.
Personal service or automation
Traditionally, hotels prided themselves on providing a personal service at check-in or check-out. But, Millennials prefer the speed and convenience of a more automated service. Again, they expect technology to provide the answer.
In response, some hotels are offering self-service kiosks for check-in, bypassing the front desk. As an alternative, hotels can use VoIP’s integration facilities to automate many front desk and business processes.
When a customer relationship management (CRM) system is integrated, reception staff can quickly and easily access guests’ arrival and check-out dates, language, preferences, wake-up call times and special requirements before calling. This helps provide a faster service while retaining an element of personal service.
Currently, American hotels are enjoying strong customer satisfaction levels. In fact, the JD Power 2014 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study found that satisfaction was at its highest level in the survey’s history.
However, one area that scored low in guest reviews was communication facilities, particularly Internet connectivity and Wi-Fi. Millennial travellers expect free Wi-Fi as standard, so they can use phones and laptops in guest rooms as well as public areas.
VoIP runs on a local area network (LAN) in hotels and can support wireless connectivity throughout the building.
Technology is a differentiator
Communication technology is an area that can provide an important differentiator for Millennial travellers. Millennials expect to use technology to do many tasks that were previously handled manually like checking in, paying their bills and getting information on services in and around the hotel.