Positioning for Millennials

To determine the most important trend affecting your future sales growth, there’s no need to look further than the up-and coming Millennial generation.

Millennials, ages 18-34, represent about 30% percent of the U.S. population. They are entering your restaurants, guest rooms, tee boxes and gift shops. They represent about $200 billion in direct purchasing power and $500 billion in indirect spending due to their influence on older generations.

Millennials are 2.5 Times More Likely to be Early Adopters of Technology  

PT-AK773_Drinks_DV_20090130185841If your property is in the hotel or golf sectors and hasn’t built its go-forward technology strategy and woven it into a customer journey or experience design, it might be best to hit the panic button now.

Millennials report using a variety of technology tools before, during and after they dine and shop. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, consumers’ mobile appetite has grown a lot in the past year, and it shows no signs of slowing. With connected devices on the rise, mobile data usage is skyrocketing too — mobile traffic worldwide grew 70% in 2012, nearly double what it was the year before. It’s now 12 times what the global Internet was in 2000.

These consumers can’t get enough of mobile video too. It grew 50% for the first time in 2012 and made up nearly 51% of mobile traffic. Brands like Ritz-Carlton have embraced this new media and launched ‘The Art of the Craft‘ series last year. By 2017, Cisco believes two-thirds of global mobile data traffic will be video.

Millennials expect mobile-friendly websites, Facebook presence, quick responses to tweets and substantive rewards for brand loyalty (L’Auberge Del Mar is a great reference). If your organization doesn’t have a strong digital and technology strategy in place, it risks losing the Millennial consumer spend.

Millennials Seek Peer Affirmation & Advice  

Perhaps because of their need to share and to find commonalities, 70 percent of Millennials reported feeling more excited when their friends agreed with them about where to shop, eat and play–and, of course, they connect with these friends online. Only 48 percent of adults were as heavily influenced by their friends and colleagues. Whether due to their youth or as an indirect result of growing up in the social media age, Millennials yearn for information from their peers. Social scientists tell us that social pressure is a significant influencing factor on human behavior. For 18-34 year olds, this phenomenon seems especially true.

Luxury properties looking to market to Millennials should not shy away from social media out of concern about its inherent risks. Whatever platform your company chooses, social media enables the conversation and their participation which is crucial (Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach) . It should be the eyes and ears into the Millennial generation to learn what’s being said to whom, when and why. And yes, if done authentically, social media should also be your property’s voice.

Do You Have a Snacking Strategy?

If you want to pick up more shares of the stomach with Millennials, think outside of your traditional dining strategies because theirs gold in snacking. Millennials crave snacking opportunities, and are more than twice as likely as older people to seek them out mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late at night. We’ve all seen Starbucks’ After 2 p.m. BOGO promotions on drinks, they’ve been successful in driving material sales growth during a fringe part of the day.

Since the Millennial generation is three times bigger than Generation X, your understanding of their needs, tastes and behaviors will clearly prove who they will want to associate with in the coming years.