What Hotels Think Millennial Travelers Want

From cntraveler.com by Juliana Shallcross

Did anyone actually ask a millennial?

Hotels have long been falling at the feet of millennials—that tech-savvy, experience-driven, pleasure-seeking demographic—creating new brands and installing modern amenities entirely for a younger set of travelers. Fast and furious Wi-Fi? Check. Texting with the front desk? Using a smartphone to open the door? Buzzing lobby scene with craft cocktails and local artwork on the walls? Check, check, check. We get it.

Now, some hotels have set their sights on millennial business travelers, who actually want to take work trips (so says 61 percent of U.S. millennials polled last year by MMGY Global) and enjoy their time away from the daily grind. But in their eagerness to capture the MBT—acronyms are in, right?—hotels still might be trying a little too hard. Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the overkill—all the amenities hotels have rolled out lately to impress twentysomething road warriors. We want to hear from actual millennials about what they got right, and what constitutes “overkill”—tweet us @CNTraveler.

Tru by Hilton thinks millennials want… a dorm-like common room area with ping-pong tables; a build-your-own-breakfast bar with sweet and savory toppings for doughnuts, bagels, and yogurt; and a “social media wall” where guests can see each other’s social media postings in real time.

Even Hotels thinks millennials want… workout gear like core balls and resistance bands in guest rooms (even though there’s a full-sized fitness center downstairs) and mood lighting behind the bed controlled by a remote control on the nightstand.

CitizenM hotels thinks millennials want… co-working spaces—introducing societyM, the chain’s answer to hotel meeting rooms. Creative meeting suites have a Mad Men throwback flair, filled with old typewriters, books (remember those?), globes, and decanters. Don Draper would be comfortable making a pitch in these rooms, but there’s also state-of-the-art audio/visual system, a soundbar for surround-sound TV presentations, whiteboards, chalkboards, mini-fridges, and espresso machines. “Some parts of our living room are really conducive to working, while other parts are perfect for relaxing,” says Robin Chadha, chief marketing officer of citizenM, citing plenty of plug-in points and iMac monitors.

Aloft hotels, a select-service brand from Marriott, thinks millennials want… a dancing robot to make room deliveries; a pilot program of customizable healthy meals that guests can order through digital kiosks, and come served in cute take-out pots; use of emojis when you order room service. (Aloft’s “Text It, Get It” service has since been discontinued.)

Element Hotels, an extended-stay brand also under the Marriott umbrella, thinks millennials want… an “alternative communal living space” (also in pilot) that allows up to four guest rooms to share a large common space. The area serves as mini-lobby of its own, ideal for larger group meetings or as a private hangout space for families and friends traveling together. Also: evening wine reception—a booze cart that offers organic wine or craft beer, poured at the touch of a button on the guest’s phone (you’ll still have to get up and retrieve it from the cart).

Holiday Inn, from InterContinental Hotels Group, thinks millennials want… to work from the bed rather than an in-room desk. A new Holiday Inn room design now features a large movable table that can be positioned in front of a chair like a traditional desk or can be moved over near the bed for a more relaxing workspace. Meanwhile, Holiday Inn Express recently introduced long communal tables in their lobby, which include outlets and wireless device chargers.

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