May 02, 2016 |
  • Digital Marketing

Talking Millennial

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Canadian Lodging News


Synthesizers, big hair, legwarmers: these weren’t the only unforgettable things to come out of the 80s and early 90s. This era also produced babies that have grown up to be known as the millennial generation.

These tech-savvy young people have been immersed in web technology from the time they were old enough to type. Today 90% of millennials go online every day1 . So if your hotel is looking to target millennials in earnest, it’s no secret where to find them. But what’s the best approach? From a millennial himself—and a hotel digital marketing expert by trade—here are a few tips:


Craft Your Social Media Presence Carefully

62% of millennials say that they are more likely to be loyal to brands that engage with them on social media2. But simply being active on these platforms isn’t always enough. Millennials are social media snobs. They can sniff out the un-savvy among us like a shark to blood. So it’s important to carefully craft your approach to social media. Stay away from plugs and promotions on social media and provide your audience with content that’s interesting and entertaining. One way to do this is to incentivize your guests to share photos and videos of their trip with you so that you can, in turn share their ‘stories’ on your social media channels. Social media loves a good story, and your hotel is crawling with them.

When it comes to engaging directly with people on your social media channels through comments and messages, avoid overly professional or stuffy language and try to relate in a lightheaded, conversational tone. (Canned phrases like “Thank for your inquiry” should be a no-go).


Be Mobile Friendly

Mobile eCommerce is the future for all of us. But millennials are early adopters, of course, so it’s no surprise they’re already most of them are booking hotels exclusively on their mobile devices.

Skift reports that 52 percent of millennial business travelers book on their mobile devices. This can be contrasted with Boomers who according to the AARP are “more likely to book in advance and are going hotels direct to book.”3 How can you capitalize? Most importantly, build a website geared to mobile.

Be aware that having a separate ‘mobile’ version of your hotel website is a thing of the past. Mobile-friendly websites of today are designed using responsive coding, meaning that the website can adjust proportionally to display on any size of the screen, from the smallest smartphone to the biggest desktop monitor.


Wear Your Social Conscience on Your Sleeve

A recent Forbes survey reports that 75% of millennials say that it’s “important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit”.4 Having a social conscience doesn’t mean you need to make huge donations to local charities or have your GM photographed rescuing abandoned kittens. It can take other forms like, for example, sharing on social media the story of an employee who overcame hardship to achieve success. Or taking small measures to reduce your hotel’s environmental impact.

If you are active in the community or have implemented eco-friendly policies, add a page to your website that details these activities. Be careful, however, not appear too desperate or disingenuous with your attempts to display this social conscience. If, for example, it’s a bold-faced ploy to cash in on the ‘sustainability’ craze, Millennials can sense it. And, after all, authenticity is important to these folks: the same Forbes survey says “43% of millennials rank authenticity over content” 5

Be authentic, be human, and have the strongest digital presence that you can. These are the things that are most important to the millennial demographic. And the next time you consider traditional advertising, remember this: “Only 1% of millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more”.6


3 http://www.sabre.com/insights/what-hoteliers-can-do-to-leverage-mobile-hotel-booking-trends/

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