I just read a great online article in CNN addressing the changing of the client guard, if you will, in the hotel marketplace.
Just as travel and meeting managers are witnessing a generational change in their corporate traveler profiles, so are the suppliers taking notice, especially the hotel companies (and that would include even the luxury and upper upscale brands). Most hotel companies are starting to swap out current offerings like minibars, room service and coffee shops in favor of higher internet bandwidth, wi-fi, and shared-space public areas where younger-generation travelers can hang out–either in solitude or with others in lobbies. This also means acknowledging that they need to add more power-charging areas in not just the guest rooms but public spaces, too. What’s also interesting to note is that the BYOP (bring your own PDA) practice is becoming more commonplace even with corporate IT groups.
Statistically, the Millennials and Gen Xs & Ys are due to surpass the Baby Boomer traveler majority in a few years, and hotels need that time to make these changes in their service and amenities in order to appeal to the younger travelers.
We are indeed witnessing a changing of the guard, and it’s fascinating to watch the early adopters as well as those who are in denial. Change is rapid and fluid with the younger generations, and just like newspapers, libraries, printing and marketing have undergone significant changes in their respective marketplace ecosystems, so is the leisure and business travel and meetings marketplace.
If you’ve heard me present or speak, you always hear me talk about the fact that for the first time in the U.S., there are four generations in the workforce. Identifying the generation of your traveler profile is becoming more important to corporate program and category owners. You need to know if your company has morphed from a Baby Boomer majority to a more diverse and younger mix of travelers. That insight and information will only help you craft better and more relevant travel and meeting policies, compliance tracking and most importantly, it will help you refine how you communicate your program and policies.
Because just as the suppliers need to change to accommodate the Millennials, so do you! If you are still expecting people to come to your intranet web portal and haven’t incorporated new social media, gamification, and mobile strategies into your programs and communications, you may wake up one day to find that your employee audience has moved.
Do you have stories about how you’ve changed the way you manage travel because of the changing of the guard at your organization? If so, please share here!