Millennial, and Gen Z are a cohort born between 1981 and 1996 and contribute to roughly 1.8 billion, equating to more than 23 per cent of the population globally. Millennials have not only changed the demographics of checking into hotels but have also influenced major aspects of the hospitality industry. They play a huge influence and are responsible to dictate many future trends and graphs of the service sector.
Their spending power can be attributed to professional advancement, international exposure, and higher discretionary income. The pandemic created work-from-home opportunities that led them to travel extensively, taking advantage of flexible remote working. This led to increasing in travel demand that gave a new boost of life to the hospitality industry. The pandemic created motivation to ‘revenge travel’ where millennials felt the urge to escape monotony, desire to explore, meet new people and make random travel plans. This has led Indian travel and hospitality professionals to tap the emerging demand by evolving and ditching the conservative approach.
Here’s to how the hospitality sector can change the game, perhaps forever.
Go digital: No matter, how cliche this may sound, it’s a digital boom and the new-age traveller uses the internet right from checking in to request a stay, room administration, making payments, planning itineraries, and waiting for the room to open with a digital command. The truth is that Gen-Z doesn’t mind undertaking a travel excursion with no human interaction. The only way ahead is to be digitally present.
Make room for leisure-merging travel with work: Technology has blurred the boundaries between work and leisure. It’s not uncommon for a coding engineer to crack codes whilst on a beach in the Maldives. The millennial beliefs in ‘Work hard, party harder’. The hospitality industry needs to create more holiday spaces where business isn’t compromised while on a vacation enabling work-life harmony.
Millennials and Experiential travel: Gen Z and Millenials are upbeat, moody, and spontaneous. An itinerary doesn’t hold much importance because they may decide to prod an unusual region or destination rather than simply following a tour plan. Experiential travel is on the rise and travellers are looking to explore offbeat regions and immersive experiences. It can be in the form of rural tourism, culinary tourism, or adventure tourism. The crux is to create holidays that are meaningful and authentic.
The rise of India’s Luxury villas/homestays and wellness: The pandemic spurred the demand for luxury properties and homestays that are basically weekend homes for a relaxing staycation. Travellers are seeking comfortable private accommodations that are far from the daily hustle, have a stocked kitchen, 24X7 Wi-Fi, and an on-demand staff. A homestay or private villa provides Millenials the privacy and discretion to travel with groups or solo, relax, unwind, and stride in the property without worrying about restrictions on time and space.
Travel and wellness: Millennial travellers are looking for enriching experiences to achieve and maintain good health and a general sense of well-being. This definitely doesn’t mean that wellness travel is confined to luxury resorts and spas. The hospitality industry as a whole can take advantage of this emerging trend by marketing your business as a way to contribute to wellness tourism and promoting communities by benefiting locals as well as tourists. It can be as simple as empowering travellers by learning a new skill set that encourages personal growth.
The trend of solo travel: Solo travelling is a travel trend that strongly resonates with Gen-Z and millennials. It’s a huge opportunity in the hospitality sector if they could successfully cater to this modernized segment of travelling solo. The hospitality sector could create fun and out-of-ordinary properties that reflect the vibrant and adventurous spirit of young travellers.
Exploring unique destinations: Unmatchable zeal and enthusiasm is a characteristic that defines the new generation traveller. The rebel millennials are opportunists and adventurers and want to explore unexplored destinations. The new set of travellers wants to break through the conventional shackles of travelling by being torchbearers of exploring unique destinations even if it involves risk.
The advent of social media has fuelled the desire to travel to make an impact. Travelling is no longer a behind-the-door experience, but it’s the new cool for the Millenials of India. The hospitality sector can bank on the trend by expanding and investing in unique properties that can create lucrative opportunities that could prove to be a profitable investments.
The idea is to create travel experiences that are immersive, trending, transformative, and unforgettable. It’s an era of adventure and adrenaline rush that also demands moments of calm and peace. Striking a balance between both is like the perfect baked cheesecake, with notes of sweet, creamy, and tangy.
(Sohail Mirchandani is the Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder of Ekostay.)