This is one revealing characteristic shared by both millennials and hoteliers. Millennials face a challenging economic environment marked by recession and historically low home ownership.

Global hoteliers are facing macro-economic headwinds in some regions and social instability in others. Regional and local hoteliers might be more insulated from some wider trends but are often facing uncertainty when it comes to their competition and how best to reach the right audience. With new digital marketing channels and alternative lodgings, there are plenty of gray areas.

Thankfully, there are also many bright green fields of overlap.

Millennials prize experiences, as we all know from the endless coverage (our own included) of their willingness to spend money on memories over things. This preference meshes perfectly with the business of hotels. At its essence, the hotel business is about crafting memorable experiences worth more than the price of the room. The business is about true, old-fashioned hospitality. Within this overlap, hoteliers hit the millennial sweet spot. It’s this common interest in long-lasting memories that offers most fertile common ground.

Millenial spending

From Forbes

The uncertainty of economic conditions aside, there is plenty of money to be made when matching the right audience with the right message on the right channel. And it’s not just spending power but also loyalty. Loyalty program members are more likely to make direct bookings, and 75 percent of millennials are members of a hotel loyalty program. Millennial business travelers are also willing to spend $41 more for their preferred hotel.

So while Millennials worry about their economic situations, they are also willing to spend more on meaningful experiences. By understanding how this underlying uncertainty pushes this demographic to value memories more highly, hoteliers can clarify their own approach.

Millennial shopping habits

Recent Sabre research shows that millennials are most likely to look and book on the home computer. This is consistent with other demographics; after all, the larger screen and full keyboard have their advantages.

However, the true difference is in the browsing habits on mobile and tablet devices. The majority of respondents used a smartphone to browse for travel. From stolen moments in line to more immersive browsing, the phone is a go-to place for looking at travel. And while the margin between look and book is highest on mobile, the overall percentage of books is second only to the home computer.


From Sabre research








These habits can then be matched to content at various stages of the buyer’s journey. Knowing that the majority of lookers actually book on desktop means that hoteliers should make that the priority of the inbound desktop experience. Surfacing more inspirational content for lookers on mobile and tablets can make the experience more memorable and lead to further engagement on other platforms.

Breaking down the monolith

One of the most frustrating parts about discussing millennials is that the generation is broadly defined. Those born between 1980 and 1997 make for quite the cohort! This creates further uncertainty for hoteliers — how do you market to a group that can include young professionals and those in their 30s with kids?

The reality is far more complex.

Younger members of the generation are young and less likely to be fully employed. Older members are in long-term relationships, many with children in the household. So there is a variety of needs within this group, which hotels can micro-target by profiling the precise persona for each particular offering.


From Sabre research

This is the reality of marketing to a broad, complex group. One size does not fit all, especially with a generation that prizes authenticity and personalization. There’s not just one recipe for success. It’s about getting into the marketing kitchen and experimenting with different ingredients, spices and methods.

Remember that millennials have experienced one of the toughest economic environments in generations. It’s not about the stuff, it’s about the memory that lasts. Take advantage of this shift in behavior, as it’s one that promises a bright future for hospitality.

Check out some quick facts below and click through to download the full De-Mystifying Millennials report.