Remember this catchphrase from TV’s The Brady Bunch? “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”. Her sister Jan thought she got all the attention. Today it’s millennials, millennials, millennials, its’ all about millennials!
What do millennials want? How much attention should we give them? One thing for sure, we must pay attention to them as active consumers with disposable income. About 10 million millennials make over $100,000. And double that for 2 income couples.
Wednesday at the AIHP Knowledge Sharing Summit & Marketplace. I listened to Jeff Fromm’s session, ‘The Financial Impact of Millennial Influence on Travel‘. Among many attributes, Jeff is known as the Millennial Marketing Guy. He’s done all the research, written the books and has some great insights.
Some millennial facts:
Millennials were born between 1977-1995
Comprising of about 25% of the U.S. population
As a group they are larger than the Baby Boomers
Three times the size of Generation X (born 1965-1976)
These facts alone give us reasons to pay attention, work on your business to be relevant and attract this generation of active consumers. “Brands old and new, cannot afford to ignore this generation.”
An interesting insight from Jeff; “Consumers date brands before they fall in love”. Online dating of course.
Let’s start the conversation with this mindset.
Timeline: shop..date…fall in love…get married for life?
Maybe, unless that brand messes up, becomes irrelevant, inconsistent and loses their trust. Or if you are a millennial, you may just get bored and want to try something new. Think about it. Would you, millennial or not, go back to the same brand if it disappointed you, or would you shop another brand? You know the answer.
“Understand that millennials are the ultimate day traders, and that’s what’s driving changes in food, restaurants, travel, insurance,” says Jeff Fromm. “If your brand isn’t unique, you run the risk of being traded out for private-label or a low-cost alternative.” Jeff Fromm
Our industry’s B&B’s could be described as ‘private label’. We sure aren’t the Hilton or Motel 6. So how can you get that millennial to trade out to you?
I am picking 3 areas of focus from Jeff’s session. Focusing on what may help you create and sustain a brand that millennials will shop, date and fall in love with.
Unique and Innovative
Are you serving the same breakfast you served 5 years ago? Breakfast is half your name. Millennials as well as older generations with millennial mindsets are adventurous eaters. Food trends are constantly changing. Discovering and trying out new recipes is fun. Make them as visually appealing as they are appealing to the pallet. Millennials want to share their experiences on social media but only if they are worth sharing.
Millennials are searching for new experiences in everything. Travel for sure. Does your website show potential guests unique adventurous experiences inside and outside your property? Or do you show the same outdated guest room photos, typical romance packages (that everyone else has) and lists of ‘things to do’ (without any links or photos) that hasn’t been updated in years. Unfortunately, The B&B Team sees this all to often.
It is easy to connect with local businesses that offer unique and adventurous experiences. Create packages with them. Wherever your inn is located, there are adventures nearby.
How easily are you found on a web search? First, you want to come up at the top of pages in a search of Inns in your area. If not, your SEO needs help. Pretend you are a potential guest (millennial or not) and do a search. You may be surprised. Second, how easy is your booking process. Seamless? Is your PMS (property management system) outdated? May be time to research a new, innovative user friendlier system. Third, how frictionless is your check-in procedure? Can guests access your inn after hours with a keyless lock system? Or do you wait up for them, greet them with tired eyes and impatient words?
These questions and examples just touch on the insights that Jeff spoke about.
A final insight from Jeff Fromm. Successful brands: “Treat others the way they want to be treated”. Plus…“Always be helping”. These things are huge when sustaining your brand.
Innkeepers have got that down, right? But there is always room for improvement, for more love.
Thanks for Listening,