Millennials are young people born between 1981 and 2000, coming of age politically, economically and socially at the start of the new millennium. In 2016, they ranged in age from 20 to 35. Demographically, they’re an important consumer segment: they account for about 24% of the EU and 27% of the USA adult populations. By 2020, Millennials will comprise half of the global workforce.
As a hotelier, you will no doubt have welcomed guests from the Babyboomer Generation (born 1946 to 1964) and Generation X (born 1965 to 1980). How are Millennials different? What changes can you make to your hotel to win the loyalty of this important new customer group?
Understanding Your Millennial Guests
Also known as Generation Me, Generation Y, Digital Natives and Echo Boomers, Millennials have been criticized as impatient, disloyal, tight-fisted, selfish and overly dependent on their parents (Pew Research found that in 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, more 18-to-34 year-olds were living in their parents’ home than with a partner in their own household.) However, they’ve also been praised as smart, perceptive, civic-minded, entrepreneurial, adventurous, tolerant and progressive. Where does the truth lie?
The fact is, Millennials are very diverse, and there’s no substitute for personal insight. It is useful, however, to consider the life experiences of this generational segment in terms of their shared history. As a group, Millennials have been shaped by two events of enormous historical significance: the birth of the Internet in 1995, and the global financial crisis of 2007-09
Growing up with the Internet has made this generation exceptional in some ways; Millennials are often:
- great at researching online (especially with mobile devices)
- ready to share experiences on social media
- resistant to mundane advertising messages
- informed with a culturally inclusive worldview.
The global financial crisis struck just as Millennials were entering the job market, so many people are:
- more budget-conscious (they were hit hard by unemployment and student debt)
- health-aware (USA Millennials, in particular, lacked access to affordable health care)
- more focused on experiences rather than ownership
- keen on personal development and learning
- civically and socially engaged.
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