“Millennials” or Generation Y are the first generational demographic to be brought up with technology and the internet. These digital natives consume more online media than ever before and are quickly surpassing their Baby Boomer/Gen X parents in purchasing power.

As they grow financially independent every industry is scrambling to attract their attention, and none more so than the travel sector. According to research by Expedia millennials travel more than any other demographic taking an average of 35 days holiday each year. Unfortunately for the independent hotel however, over half of millennials currently book through OTAs. So what can you do to encourage Millennials to book direct?

Here are our top tips;

Mobile Speed

This generation won’t wait around for a site to load. Your mobile site needs to be fast. This means cutting down on clutter such as fancy hover menus, flash-based animations and sliders. Also consider the images and video you have on your mobile site. Are they mobile optimised or are they slowing down the site?

Figures by KissMetrics indicate that 40% of users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, so taking note of these tips to make your site load faster is essential for increasing conversions. Here’s an article with more details on making your mobile site lighter.

If you’re getting a new website designed think “mobile first” design. Consider how the website will function on mobile first and then back to desktop as most of your future traffic will be from mobile.

User Experience

You need to ensure users can easily book or enquire on your website by having a clear call to action (CTA) on each page. If you don’t make it obvious how to book, these customers will quickly leave and go to other websites. Ensure your CTA is always visible by using a sticky navigation for example. This is when the booking button stays at the top of the page even when the user scrolls so they can always get to it easily.

Once in the booking process ensure all offers are clearly visible and click-throughs are in the thumb zone.

Make Offers Clear

Ensure that your offers and rates are clear and show your best offer first. If your rates are just in parity with OTAs, try to give added value such as Book Direct rewards like free parking or a welcome drink on arrival. Finally make use of one clear pricing structure so multiple offers can be easily compared.

Guest-Generated Content

Millennials are highly influenced by the opinions of friends and family, so try to use as much guest generated content as possible. From reviews on your own website to sharing content on your social media channels, let this help you reach like-minded millennials and let your customers become your brand advocates!

One clever way to encourage this type of content is to create a unique hashtag for your hotel and use it on your social channels and throughout your hotel. It also gives potential guests an easy way to search through these photos for an inside look at your property.

Competitions are also a great way to encourage user generated content. Run a photo contest asking guests to send you their best photographs from their stay.

Or what about creating a specific space for hotel guests to take photos? The 1888 Hotel in Sydney have a selfie space in their lobby that creates lots of content for their social channels.

Selfie Space 1988 Hotel Sydney

Source

Conclusion

Millennials are looking for travelling experiences that are unique and affordable and will often gain inspiration for their trips from their friend’s social profiles. They also expect a seamless booking process that is quick and easy. Is your hotel ticking these boxes?

What tips have you found most useful when engaging with millennials and encouraging them to book a stay directly? Let us know in the comments below.