Millennials are commonly described as the generation with a desire for new experiences. Spontaneity and adventure are two integral parts of Millennial living. This is a great prospect for hotel businesses, but a less positive one with regards to customer loyalty. Today, Millennials have an overwhelming amount of options to choose from. So, it’s no wonder that joining loyalty programs isn’t at the top of their agenda. This does not mean, however, that you should underestimate their customer importance. Millennials are your hotel’s greatest social advocates. When your hotel appeals to them, it can also potentially appeal to everyone that follows them on social media. Below are a few ways that you can appeal to and catch the eye of a Millennial, consequently boosting your social media presence.
Recently, the hashtag #BoyfriendsOfInstagram took Instagram by a storm. People took to social media to share behind-the-scenes photos of reluctant boyfriends being forced to take the perfect picture for their other halves. This includes them holding uncomfortable positions to get the right angle while their girlfriends gaze candidly into the distance. As questionable as it is, this is today’s social scenario and proves that there is no better way of influencing a Millennial than being Instagram-worthy. This doesn’t mean that you must invest in an infinity pool or rooftop gardens. Take Galgorm’s Easter-themed dish as an example.
This afternoon tea option is irresistibly shareable! It has colour, creativity and authenticity. These are the three key elements your picture needs in order to be successful on Instagram. Introduce an aesthetically pleasing, themed option onto the hotel’s menu for seasonal holidays. For example, a Candy-Cane Cocktail at Christmas time would be too tempting for your guests not to photograph! Another idea is to add an area dedicated for an Instagram picture. Opt for something simple yet picturesque, such as a floral wall or a hanging swing. Alternatively, follow the example of the Ovolo 1888 Boutique Hotel Sydney, who have adopted a ‘selfie space’ into their lobby. It consists of a large, hanging photo frame with a revolving mural of Instagram images. An idea along these lines that will promote your guests to share their experience at your hotel on social media.
Finally, don’t forget the hashtag! Create a hashtag to go along with the image that has been taken in your hotel. This will help to get your hotel noticed online. Consequently, it will help you connect with potential future guests, and stay connected with past guests. Something unique to your brand and clever will not only encourage guests to post their own content with your brand, but also make it easier to find the content and build an awareness. Take the Starwoods Hotels group for example, who have employed the hashtag #SPGLife. Guests and fans of the hotel group alike have used this hashtag to tag their holiday snaps and plans, bringing the brand to the forefront of travel images and creating a desirable club future millennial guests would want to be a part of.
Prioritise Your Staff
Making your staff the models of your brand is an extremely beneficial way of catching the eye of a Millennial. It adds a human face to your business! People use social media to be entertained, not to be sold to. Get your staff more involved in the business by offering incentives in exchange for the most unique or intriguing social media post they can share about your hotel. Think along the lines of a snap of the restaurant’s latest dish accompanied with a competition for the wittiest caption or pun related to the industry.
Furthermore, encourage storytelling blog-posts on your hotel’s websites. Topics such as what makes working in your business so special, or reflections on a staff event will give your hotel the personal touch that Millennials appreciate. Your staff can help to spread the message of your brand without all of the traditional advertising, which Millennials seem to be growing immune to. Simply provide them with a bit of coaching and guidance from your marketing department to optimise this strategy!
Another way of giving your business a human face, is by actually showing the faces of your staff! According to this post by Georgia Tech, Instagram photos with faces in them are 38% more likely to receive likes than those that do not. Rather than having a feed of scenery/food imagery- switch it up a bit and throw in a few pictures of your staff! A great idea is to organise events with dedicated hashtags that your staff can participate in. Galgorm Resort & Spa have ticked all the boxes with this Instagram post. The post demonstrates their good work culture and portrays their hotel’s warm and friendly atmosphere. Not only this, but the ‘selfie frame’ with the hashtag #YourWeddingYourStory is a great idea to publicise their hotel and get it trending on social media platforms.
Although portrayal is important, what’s more important is that your hotel actually has a good work culture. You need to ensure that your hotel boasts an encouraging environment that values human resource. An employee’s level of happiness at work will be reflected in their behaviour. A happy employee means good service, and good service means a happy Millennial. Consequently, your hotel will receive a positive social advocate and a great word of mouth review.
Give a Little Back
The generosity of a company is an important factor for Millennials when making a decision. When it comes down to organisations and charities that they are passionate about, Millennials are keen to contribute to make a positive impact. Pick an issue that is of concern to them and create a unique fundraising idea to help combat it. For example, according to this post by Tree Hugger, the largest global concern for Millennials at the moment is climate change. Raising money for a non-profit organisation that is working to combat climate change, such as Environmental Defense Fund, will majorly boost your hotel’s popularity. It will also gain your hotel positive publicity on social media platforms and attract the attention of other Millennials with this concern.
Having said this, there may be one thing that Millennials tend to appreciate slightly more than generous gestures to help combat global issues. That is, generous gestures aimed at themselves. Hosting competitions is a fantastic way of promoting brand awareness and getting your hotel shared on social media. Create a fun, witty competition idea in return for the chance to win something or to be featured on your hotel’s page. Another great idea is introducing a ‘RAOK’- Random Acts of Kindness strategy. Once a month, pick a random guest and offer them a room upgrade or a free cocktail. The best gift is one that isn’t expected– and will guarantee you a good review on social media!
Millennials are a generation of customers whose importance should certainly not be over-looked. Although they may not be the most loyal of customers, their opinions are loud and largely based on the opinions of their peers. Therefore, if your company strives to impress and catch the eye of a Millennial, it will improve it’s publicity and brand awareness. By following these guidelines, Millennials will more willing to be your hotel’s social advocates and spread the good word about your business! Let us know if you have any other ideas on how to grab the attention of a Millennial in the comments below.