While established international hotel chains have built their reputations on providing predictable, comfortable services, members of the millennial generation are looking localized, personalized and unique experiences when they choose where to stay. And hotels are rising to the challenge.
With more than 83 million millennials in the U.S., the market makes up more than a fourth of the country’s population and they’re traveling—a lot.
Aside from independent, boutique hotels, larger hotel chains are also stepping up with increased offerings and new budget brands geared especially toward these tech-savvy, locally brewed beer-thirsty travelers.
Naturally, technology plays a big role in where millennials choose to stay the night and how positively they view their experience. To reach these technology-obsessed guests, a number of hotels are starting to create their own apps, social media response teams and even offering mobile self check-in. Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ app, for example, allows guests to FaceTime with customer service representatives 24/7.
Of course, free—and reliable—Wi-Fi is also a must for guests to catch up on social media happenings, plan the day’s activities and try to get some work done in between sightseeing.
On the crazier side of things, the citizenM hotel in New York equips each room with a tablet to control room features like lighting while the Virgin Hotel in Chicago boasts Bluetooth sound systems. The Aloft property in Cupertino even has a robot deliver snacks to rooms.
Millennials are turning to social media for figuring out where to go, what to do and where to stay then sharing their own finds. To keep up with the trend, hotels are encouraging guests to tag and hashtag their images, curating collections of guest content and creating Instagram-worthy spaces that guests want to snap and share.
Along with sharing on social media, millennials aren’t afraid of sharing in real life either and many of the new properties are making an effort to provide communal hangout spaces. The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, for instance, has several communal fireplaces throughout the property, while citizenM hotels tend to have entryways that tend to feel more like living rooms than hotel lobbies.
Instead of cookie cutter offerings, at Hotel G San Francisco, a luxury boutique hotel in the center of the city, the property features plenty of little local touches to make the space unique, dialed into the city and full of character. They partner with Creativity Explored, an organization working with developmentally disable artists to place pieces throughout the property that are available to purchase and the dark denim headboards are a subtle nod to San Francisco’s role of being the home to Levi Strauss & Co.
More hotel bars and restaurants are also jumping on the local bandwagon featuring sustainable or locally sourced ingredients and specialties. The new Craft + Culture cheese shop and eatery at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, the food focus is on artisanal cheese from across the country paired with local farm-fresh ingredients and baked goods.
Some of The Best Hotels for Millennials
These hotel brands, offering properties across the globe, are some of the most millennial-friendly—and simply the coolest—around.
- Ace Hotel: One of the most well-known boutique hotel chains in the U.S., Ace Hotels have a decidedly quirky, hipstery feel to them and are full of unique touches.
- Hotel G: Hotel G is a stylish, urban boutique hotel brand with newly renovated properties in San Francisco and throughout Asia.
- citizenM: The modern, minimalist citizenM offers properties throughout Europe and New York stripping down conventional hotel services, like bellboys, to offer more affordable prices and authentic experiences.
- Marriott Moxy: Moxy is Marriott’s fresh new brand featuring mid-price hotels set to open in eight U.S. locations.
- Aloft Hotels: A Starwood brand, Aloft Hotels boast “style at a steal” with a fun, modern atmosphere. The brand is also hyper-connected with an active Twitter team, its own local travel tips on Foursquare and mobile app.