And What Shopper Marketers Can Learn
The hotel experience isn’t what it used to be. In fact, the entire look and feel of many big name hotels have transformed to better attract sought-after millennials—and it’s leading to experiences any brand can learn from. Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S., so hotels have realized they need to engage them in meaningful ways if they want to earn their future booking.
1. Hotels use technology to create ease
Hotels like Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt are using innovative tech to their advantage, and millennials are eating it up. The Hilton allows you to digitally check-in, pick your room using a digital map and use your phone as your room key. And if you need concierge assistance, but would rather not call the desk or go down to the lobby, you can tweet your questions and comments. Starwood Hotels and Resorts have also joined in on the innovation: Using the Starwood Hotels and Resorts App, you can FaceTime the staff any time of the day.
What shopper marketers can learn from this: Incorporate technology that will bring ease to shoppers during their shopping experience.
Some retailers are already using mobile usage for guests to communicate with customer service in store, but if the guest’s phone is low on battery life, then that feature is worthless. Retailers could have built in phone chargers in their carts and baskets so guests can use all the retailer’s digital resources without worrying about their phone’s battery life. Retailers can also install devices around their store that will notify a sales associate when a guest needs help in a specific section or aisle. In doing so, guests won’t have to hunt down a sales associate when they need their help in person.
2. Hotels provide affordable luxury
Millennials want the appearance of luxury without the hefty price tag that comes with it. Many hotels targeting millennials are renovating their spaces to be more millennial friendly—or luxurious—while also being conscious of their target’s budget. Red Roof Inn invested $150 million dollars on property renovations, launching 40 Red Roof Plus Hotels. These feature sleek and stylish décor, flat screen televisions, simulated wood flooring, new countertops, and complimentary snack boxes with popcorn, granola and water, and all within a millennial’s budget. As a result, the Red Roof Inn was voted #1 in the economy hotel sector for 2014.
What shopper marketers can learn from this: Provide affordable luxury for your shoppers and go beyond decor.
Beyond décor, something as little as placing cozy sitting areas in a retailer’s store that features modern furniture relaxing music playing in the background. Retailers could also partner with a transportation service such as Uber, so guests have easy transportation, perhaps at a discounted rate, when they shop at their store. For the guests that would rather drive themselves, retailers could have a complimentary valet service to park and retrieve the cars for them.
3. Hotels actively create memories
Hotels have realized millennials don’t want ordinary experiences when they can have unique ones. Millennials are attracted to things that stand out and are interesting enough to be share-worthy. Marriott’s hotel Moxy, in Milan, has a life-sized image of a shirtless, tattooed man ironing behind a white backdrop in its ironing room. This giant image has brought plenty of attention with millennials sharing it on their social media platforms. As a result, the image has gone viral and millennials are flocking to the hotel for their picture with the man.
What shopper marketers can learn from this: Add a unique touch to your shopper’s shopping experience to create a memory.
Brands and retailers can leverage experiential or social activations to drive store traffic and conversion. Could clothing stores take millennials’ love for music and create a memorable experience matching songs with outfit suggestions? What if grocery stores were to leverage the millennial foodie culture and their love for travel with a digital food crawl that inspires meal ideas with their products? What if mass channel stores took millennials’ love for discovery to a new level with in-store geocaching activations to hunt unique finds across categories and reinforce store exploration?
When searching out ideas, look at whomever is building life experience. You’ll learn something.
Karlyn Stanback is a strategy intern at Momentum Atlanta