This morning in Orlando, industry peers shared deep-domain expertise, insights, and best practices about the mission-critical applications that are core to their businesses. In this two part blog, I will give you a glimpse of this exclusive invitation-only event and showcase the hospitality educational general session discussing transformational shifts in the hospitality industry.
Discussing industry transformational shifts without incorporating one of the most talked about consumer audience of this decade would be a huge miss but no worries, Steve Power Brown, Intel’s Senior Industry Advisor, had it covered. In his session he shared an overview of the millennial mega trends and how this audience expectations are shaping tomorrow’s industry and how technology can help cater to this audience expectations.
Steve Brown, started his speech by making the point that being a millennial is a mindset and not a generational thing reserve to those individuals born between 1980 and 2000, it is a set of attitude and characteristics. One of the key differentiator for this audience is a desire to have things shaped to their particular needs, control over the product and choices over how they interact with a brand. Concrete application in the hospitality industry would be the ability for them to control which side of the hotel their room will be, personalize settings in their room such as hypoallergenic pillows, favorite spa products in the bathroom or preferred whiskey in the mini bar. This idea of control doesn’t stop there, they want flexibility of how they check in and out of the room and choosing the option that best fit the moment using the interaction of their choice like their PC, their phone, the room’s smart TV or the traditional human interaction at the front desk.
With this mobile audience, one could say that mobile has become the remote control for their life and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. For this reason, a mobile first strategy makes sense to cater to this audience. This is not just about bringing mobile devices into the hospitality experience such as putting menus on tablets and that sort of thing but embracing people’s existing devices and letting them use them within the environment.
Besides choice and control, zero friction or the desire for efficiency is the number one characteristic that drives millennial behavior. They will be fiercely loyal to your brand, until the exact moment they can do the same task with one less click, one less step or one less second to accomplish the task. However be warned, zero friction isn’t appropriate for everything, zero friction works when they are in a transactional mode vs an experiential mode. In fact Millennials favor experiences over products, they would rather make memories rather than own things which has led sometimes to the misconception that millennials don’t spend money. They just don’t spend money on the same thing than previous generations. They will actually spend the money if they perceive there is value in them doing so. So it about a value exchange and not so much about a fixed budget.
Before moving on to what are and will be some of the technology changing the hospitality industry to cater to the needs of millennial, Steve Brown reinforced the point that Millennials are only interested in having technology involved in hospitality if it improves their experience and help them with getting better service. This story will continue in part 2 of my blog coming soon.