By Joe Pooley
Synthesizers, big hair, legwarmers: these weren’t the only unforgettable things to come out of the 80s and early 90s. The decade 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 per cent of millennials go online every day . 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
Sixty-two per cent of millennials say that they are more likely to be loyal to brands that engage with them on social media. 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 lighthearted, conversational tone. (Canned phrases like “Thanks 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 most of them are booking hotels exclusively on their mobile devices.
Skift reports that 52 per cent of millennial business travellers 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.”
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 screen, from the smallest smartphone to the biggest desktop monitor.
Wear Your Social Conscience on Your Sleeve
A recent Forbes survey reports that 75 per cent of millennials say that it’s “important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit.”
Having a social conscience doesn’t mean you need to make huge donations to local charities or have your GM photographed rescuing orphaned 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, to not appear too desperate or disingenuous with your attempts to display this social conscience. If, for example, it’s a bald-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 per cent of millennials rank authenticity over content.”
Be authentic, be human, and have the strongest digital presence you can. These are the things that are most important to the millennial demographic.
Joe Pooley is senior communications strategist at Digital Hospitality where he helps hoteliers make sense of Internet Marketing. Read more of his work at www.digitalhospitality.com