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How to attract generation Y as hotel and restaurant guests

By Anne Blackburn

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Generation y

Guests from generation Y typically like to be social, connect with the community and be treated as individuals
Guests from generation Y typically like to be social, connect with the community and be treated as individuals
Anne Blackburn, director of Sidona Group, which works with hospitality businesses to help them improve customer experiences, suggests five ways to attract guests from generation Y to your hotel or restaurant.

Millennial customers, or those from Generation Y - those typically born between 1980 and 2000 - are now the world's biggest consumer group, representing 25 per cent of the world population. They are a powerful group of guests who demand unique hospitality experiences, so understanding their needs, expectations and values are key to winning their custom. These five top tips aim to show how hospitality businesses can deliver an experience to them and ensure they share it with their network. 

1.    Understand their world

Generation Y customers demand different and new all the time and are seeking the wow factor.  Can you deliver? If you have the wow factor they will market it for you through their connected world, so allow them to influence your product. Typically members of this generation won’t fill in comment cards but they will vote online to your suggestions and enter conversations via social networks, so use these means to find out what is trending in their world of leisure, food and eating habits and visit the places they are talking about. Also, look at their reviews of your competitors to understand what is important to them when they come to choose hotels or restaurants to frequent.

2.    Be easy to do business with

Ensure your website is mobile friendly which will make reservations and finding information quick and easy to this technologically-advanced generation. Those from generation Y have a short attention span and will switch to your competition if you are hard to do business with. They move in and out of your different channels constantly so your response time is critical.  They are wired 24/7 and expect you to be also.  Monitoring your Twitter feed or Facebook page from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday just won’t cut it. Offering them free Wi-Fi during their visit is an absolute must too.

3.    Tell your story

Generation Y customers are commercially aware and sceptical about marketing, so a creative approach is needed to connect with them. They want to know what you stand for and what you care about. Tell your organisational story including your heritage, your people, your passion, your food sources and causes you stand for which will build trust and create stories to share. Share those stories in an entertaining and highly visual way by using the latest tools available such as video and bear in mind they won’t read a long corporate message. 

4.    Deliver an emotional and personalised experience

Millennials like to be social, connect with the community and be treated as individuals. Recruiting staff of the same age range with local knowledge will enable them to talk your customer’s language, connect quickly and provide recommendations on the ‘in’ places to go.

They like to hang out with like-minded people in quirky social spaces that are out of the ordinary and fun, so does your business provide ‘hang out’ areas, facilities for shared dishes or even shared dining experiences? Does your food offer interesting flavours appealing to their sense of adventure?  Does your property stimulate all the senses with its unique design, knowledgeable people that can deliver fun and positive memories they will want to share with their network?

This generation also seeks honest and sincere service so ensure your staff are skilled in empathy and can evoke positive emotions such as making them feel cared for and valued and special. If these customers experience negative emotions such as frustration, disappointment or neglect their network and your feedback forum will be informed.

A service-savvy generation, they will challenge and want to know why you can’t do something so ensure your staff are trained and empowered to answer all their questions and resolve their issues quickly to avoid those bad reviews.

5.    Reward and value them

Generation Y understands what value is and are always looking for the best deals. They are well informed and do their homework before making their choices. What can you offer in the form of discounts, special packages, loyalty cards or points or giveaways on special days?  They will pay for the things they value such as design, atmosphere, quality, speed and exceptional service and uniqueness.

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