NEW YORK—Hotel Business held an Executive Roundtable focused on the Millennial generation and 10 industry executives weighed in on a number of topics related to these travelers, such as technology, design and their overall hospitality expectations.
Held at the headquarters of Dow Jones & Company here, the event, entitled “Mining Millennials: Exploring the Mindset of the New Frontier,” was co-moderated by Lex Fenwick, CEO, Dow Jones & Company and Publisher, The Wall Street Journal, and Stefani C. O’Connor, executive news editor, Hotel Business and managing editor, Roundtables, Hotel Business. The roundtable was sponsored by The Wall Street Journal.
Neil Shah, president/COO of Hersha Hospitality Trust, noted that while Millennials are technology savvy, merely having an iPad at the front desk is not enough. “They are a little more complex than that,” he said, adding, “they’re so conscientious of their surroundings. They are experience-oriented and that’s the opportunity in hospitality.”
Rob Greyber, President, Egencia, underscored the point and noted they are not as interested in brand consistency. “Millennials view the authentic experience as a very local one,” he said.
Phil McAveety, EVP, Chief Brand Officer, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., talked about the changes they have spawned. “We don’t look at it like their forcing us [to do things], we look at it like they are informing us,” he said, adding, however, “we’re not designing for a particular age demographic.”
Jim Petrus, COO, Trump Hotel Collection, estimated there are some 75 to 80 million millennials in the world and noted the opportunity that exists with social media, for example. “You want to have that audience be a spokesperson for your brand. That’s one of the elements we’re focused on,” he noted.
Look for complete coverage of the Executive Roundtable in the January 15th issue of Hotel Business.