Nicole Tj
October 11, 2021

FYI, hotels. Curation is more important than you think.

Understanding Millennial and Gen Z Travelers

The digital world is no doubt run by millennials and Gen Zs today. Together, they make up 63.5% of consumers worldwide - which means an incredible amount of spending power from these demographic segments, who also value unique, curated experiences above anything else.

Millennials (born 1982-1996) are the original generation that spearheaded the shift towards digital and social media in the first place, most notably driving the shifts towards peer-to-peer marketplaces (hello Airbnb and Uber) and the experience economy. Gen Zs (born 1995 and after) are digital natives - apart from driving the astronomical growth of TikTok through the course of COVID, they are also snapping up their early career roles, achieving their own dispensable income for the first time - and they are ready to spend (read: splurge) on experiences that are unique, memorable, and shareable.

Thing is, hotels are no longer just a place for a good night's sleep.

Your ability to support your guests in curating a memorable experience while staying with you, are crucial factors to increasing delight, bookings, and word-of-mouth. No matter how beautiful your hotel design and room service perks might be, it's time hotels look beyond your physical space to fill the role of experience curator for your guest's trip.

Four key insights that might make you as a hotelier sit up straight. Our survey with 728 travelers aged 20-35 revealed that:

👉 22% always choose hotels (over Airbnbs). 78% choose hotels some of the time.

  • "These days prices are quite comparable between hotels and Airbnbs. What matters to me is unique experience I'll get from staying with them."

👉 90% choose boutique, independent hotels over big brand name hotels.

  • "They feel more personal, and usually have more character and storytelling in their experience. Larger hotel brands feel more commercial, or something my parents would choose."

👉 57% say they would trust local recommendations by hotels more if they looked good, and didn't feel like advertising.

  • "The times I've clicked on guides from hotel emails, is because they seemed to show me something that was relevant to my travel interests, or real experiences by people. Not just an ad to make more sales."

👉 80% look at hotel guides in-room. 85% strongly agree that a digital solution will help

  • "I always look at the guides in the rooms when we get there - if there's something we like or there's a special offer we might change our plans to slot it in. But they're usually just in words and paper maps are awkward. I'd definitely like to scan it on a QR code maybe and take it with me on mobile."

Good news is that there are so many opportunities for hotels today to stand out to millennial and Gen Z travelers. Here's how.

  • Inspiring travelers to take action with unmatched local insight and storytelling - not just brick-and-mortar features or price wars
  • Building trust through curated local recommendations relevant to travel interests and intents - not one-size-fits all lists
  • Delighting guests with a seamless digital experience that amplifies the in-person experience, bridging inspiration with planning and the in-person experience itself.

And of course, when you reach travelers is as important as what you provide them with.

We've boiled it down to these 4 key magical moments - opportunities where hotels can maximise simple interactions to win the hearts of travelers, to drive delight, bookings, and word-of-mouth.

1: Pre-Trip Inspo

Travelers love a good holiday, but don't always have the time for deep research and planning, or know where to find the best insider tips. While creators and peers on Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest are key sources of travel inspiration, sifting out what's good and relevant on social feeds, Google searches and maps is still often an overwhelming and time-consuming process. There's usually multiple consideration points at play too - what's in the area, what experiences match my interests, how close are they to other key locations?

How hotels can win: Inspire travelers to take action with personalised local recommendations, increasing average booking nights.

This is a great opportunity to position your hotel as a trusted local insider and experience curator, inspiring travelers with confidence to take action and decide to experience the region with you. Take the time to curate local recommendations tailored to your travelers key personas and trip intents. Enable travelers with interactive maps - travelers who interact with maps spend longer on a page than those who don't.

2: Arrival Guide

Our research shows that 80% of travelers look at hotel guides-in room, and up to 85% of leisure travelers decide on activities only after having arrived at the destination, says Google. There's nothing worse for a traveler than FINALLY arriving at your destination after a long flight, drive or train ride - and realising that you don't know how you're making the most of the next few days. And even if they've planned out their trip, they're usually open to trying something new for a moment of spontaneity.

How hotels can win: Help guests avoid stressful moments on the ground with contactless guest guides upon arrival.

Provide a seamless in-person/digital experience to bridge planning phase to the on-trip phase. Allow easy access to mobile guest guides via QR codes at the lobby or on in-room guest guides. Even better with integrated maps and location information, to save the hassle of juggling between paper, notes, and Google Maps.

3: Digital Concierge

Gone are the days of scribbling directions on a paper map while guests pretended to have themselves orientated in a new area. Well, this generation does not do paper - and while contactless solutions like QR codes might have become a necessity through COVID, shifting to digital enables you to help guests curate their trips more efficiently, while collecting valuable data about guest experience preferences.

How hotels can win: Equip your team with the tools to deliver a magical traveler experience.

Imagine digital guest guides on iPads at your reception, your concierges curating a customised digital guide on the spot for guests, then sending a link through for your guest to open it directly on mobile, get directions on a map and start exploring, without having to switch between tools. That's a magical moment.

4: Post-Trip Referral

The biggest mistake you could make, is assuming that your guest's experience is done once they've checked out of their stay. 97% of millennials sharing their travel photos on social media, and 87% of Gen Zs and millennials have booked a trip based on social recommendations - that is, social proof by people and creators they trust. Strengthen your word-of-mouth game by making it easier for your guests to share and recall their experience with you - even after their trip.

How hotels can win: Grow word-of-mouth referral with shareable, digital guides.

The question "So, what did you do on your trip?" is usually accompanied by frenzied hand-waving and vague recollections of places and locations, that only get more scattered with time. By having curated, digital guides that your guests can access easily - or even better, their own curated moodboard of their experience while staying with you - means that they are readily able to share this on with their fam, friends and fans even months after staying with you.

Find out more about how Travis can help your hotel

We're partnering with hotels and accommodation providers to create magical traveler experiences that increase bookings and referrals. Get access to curated digital guest guides, interactive maps, QR codes, and traveler insights. Think you'd be a fit for our Pilot? Apply today to chat with our team. You get access to generous discounts and partner perks if you apply by 31 Oct 2021.

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