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Response to Dennis Nessler Hotel Business Viewpoint July 2013 issue

I read your viewpoint in the July 15, 2013 issue of Hotel Business regarding hotel brands focusing beyond the Millennials. I find it interesting that this is where you draw the line on branding properties. There seems to me that every day new hotel brands with new flashy names are popping up everywhere. I am a hotel designer and I run a purchasing company and I am not sure I can name all the “new” levels and different brands being put out there by these big flag companies. I am not sure travelers have any idea what hotel is at what price point anymore or what to expect. But they can easily find out!

I will say that the “Millenials” are an interesting group and are different from us “Baby Boomers.” I have three sons that fall within the Millenials, one of which just spent a semester abroad in Italy and traveling extensively throughout Europe. You would find it surprising just how savvy this group is, and how much more worldly and educated and exposed they are to everything. Significantly more sophisticated than we ever were.

We traveled to hotels in the back of my parent’s car, and stayed in lower end properties that were clean and often had indoor pools for us to have something to do in our down time. Our children are worldly and sophisticated. At the end of their fingertips sits a brilliant device that can teach them anything they want to know. It can answer any question they might have, or explore any place in the world in vivid color and detail. It encourages them to think, it encourages them to want more and to reach for it and to want to see it all and have new experiences.

My 21 year old son became very sophisticated finding hotels to stay in during every one of his travels. He found good pricing and nicely designed properties that were affordable, safe and available. He traveled with groups of friends for little money, and they had tremendous experiences.

Don’t be fooled…they are a market and they should be focused on. They have the capability to be much more selective, much more cost conscious and to do much more research. They don’t have to look up one brand and make expensive telephone calls to find the rates and plan their trip. They can sit at their computers or use their smart phones, map out their trips, find the cheapest airfares, search hundreds of hotels with the press of a button, and know all the answers. We should market to them, we should determine their wants and desires and develop brands to cater to them. If not, you will lose them to the people who keep them in focus.

The resources today are vastly better and baby boomers don’t always make use of the information available. I can’t tell you how many baby boomers I know who still use a travel agent and don’t want to “do the work” to plan their trip for either business or pleasure. But not my children, they want to do it themselves and know exactly how.

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