The Importance of Selling Experiences, Not Just Beds
May 30, 2017 1:09pm
By Mike Murray
Millennials are one of the fastest growing travel demographics, who are “expected to be taking 320 million international trips each year (by 2020).” Contrary to popular belief, not all Millennials are choosing to stay at Airbnb (or other alternative accommodation properties); in fact, Millennials “make up 70 percent of all hotel guests.”
Surprised? If you’re like most hoteliers, I’d guess that your answer is yes. If you haven’t figured out how to make your property more attractive to Millennials, I’m here to help.
The answer is simple: focus less on selling a room and a bed, and more on selling a complete, unique, share-worthy travel experience.
FutureCast’s Millennial Brief on Travel & Lodging called Millennials “Experience Pioneers,” which is one of the most apt descriptions that I’ve read for this demographic, as “[a] great experience is 3X more popular [with Millennials] than getting a bargain price” and “72% of Millennials choose to prioritize experiences over luxury and material goods. This is the basis of the Experience Economy, in which “businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers, and that memory itself becomes the product.”
For most Millennials, their travel experiences are an integral part of their development as a person. This, combined with Millennials’ obsession with social media engagement (receiving many likes, shares and comments on their posts), makes the experiences had while traveling of much greater importance than it was for previous generations. Millennials experience FOMO (“fear of missing out”) more poignantly than any other generation, fueled primarily by social media, which again re-emphasizes the importance of having every element of their trip, be unique, beautiful and highly experiential (in nature) – and that includes their accommodation.
Like other industries who have had to make significant changes to suit the Millennial market, the hotel industry needs to get onboard with the Experience Economy or they risk losing out on many bookings. Hotel marketers must completely revamp their strategies to emphasize the experience that their guests will have during their stay, rather than on their amenities, luxury or brand name (as would appeal to older generations) if they want to boost bookings with Millennial travelers.
Some of the best ways to communicate the experiences that your property has to offer (rather than just your amenities) are:
Currently, Millennials spend over “$200 billion on travel each year” and this number is only expected to increase, as most have yet to reach their peak earning - and spending - potential. Now is the time to update your marketing materials and OTA listings to make your property more appealing to Millennials; you’ll have nothing to lose and everything – including increased occupancy and RevPAR – to gain!
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Mike Murray is the founder of Vir.al Vir.al is a new inspirational hotel booking app and website that capitalizes on today’s social media phenomenon to bring hotels and the valuable Millennial travel demographic together. Using curated, experience-based, destination-specific content, Vir.al enables users to create unique travel experiences, not just book a hotel room in which to sleep, and incentivizes them to increase their social media score in exchange for perks, promotions and status. Hoteliers can use the app’s back-end, which identifies socially active potential guests who are planning a trip to their destination, enables hoteliers to offer incentives to book and, as a result, boost their brand’s online visibility with and appeal to Millennials. Currently, Vir.al is available on iOS and can be used to plan travel experiences in eight popular destinations in the United States - New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Austin and New Orleans - but more domestic and international destinations will be added on a regular basis.
To find out more, please visit http://vir.al/.
Contact: Jennifer Nagy
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September 5, 2017 4:12pm
This article is just brilliant! Millennials definitely prefer video content when considering their accommodations. It’s the perfect way for them to share their upcoming trip with friends and family.