Title of the research project
How Millennials Chose Leisure Hotels When Planning Overseas Holidays
The travel industry is experiencing a massive shift in consumer attitudes regarding the place to visit, how to research on vacations and the people they are willing to work with to ensure they get the best experiences. This aspect is especially true for millennials, who consider travelling as an essential part of their identity. Shamaa (2016) observes that this group of the population is more vacations and travel abroad more than the other generations. Further, millennials are thought to spend up to $200 billion on travel each year and that the amount is likely to increase further as they approach their productive spending years. Their experiential nature, therefore, places a higher consumer value on
experiences. Concerning travel planning, this group tends to adopt a collective experiential value for trips. Similarly, the decisions about destinations and accommodations reflect a group that is less interested in travel packages. Instead, they tend to be driven by a desire to explore uncharted territories and discover new things. These changes in consumer behavior have become a driving force for hotels across the globe. For instance, most hotels are adopting new ways and outlook to engage with a new generation that has redefined the traditional ways of functioning. This paper, therefore, seeks to establish the criteria used by millennials to choose leisure hotels when planning for holidays abroad.
Millennials comprise the largest generation in history. They are made up of age groups of persons born between the 1980s and early 1990s. Given their independence regarding
income, Rajaguru and Rajesh (2016, p.4613) acknowledge that they have achieved their status as leaders in travel and tourism. Additionally, their notoriety as decision makers places them among the significant trendsetters where they dictate tastes for new seasons and are not shy about getting what they want. This group is also defined by their flexibility and ability to maintain optimism at all times (Canadian Tourism Commission 2015). Machado (2014, p. 365), however, notes that the millennials are difficult to motivate, retain or attract especially in matters of international travels and hotel choices. Another interesting aspect is the pervasiveness of technology in every sphere of their lives as well as their appreciation for constant feedback. Consequently, most high-end hotels are capitalizing on these growing trend by revisiting their marketing strategies and including more sophisticated features that appeal to the taste of millennials.
Methodology & Discussion
The information on whether technology, value for money and satisfaction play a role in the millennials hotel consideration was collected via an online survey. The survey was divided into two sections with the first one taking the form of a hypothetical scenario where participants were asked to indicate the highest amount they were willing to pay for staying at a hotel per night. The second part consists participants with information from the website tripadvisor.com of the Atlantis International Hotel in Dubai, which has many visitors throughout the year. Participants were then asked about their likelihood to choose the hotel based on the information at hand by giving scores (3= very likely, 1.5= very unlikely). Participants were also asked to declare their age and nationality, their frequency of reading online reviews and how often they utilize social media site, tripadvisor.com, in their decision-making process.
Travelers, especially millennials have embraced technology in every aspect of their lives. Barnett and Standing (2001, p.150) note that the group is always seeking for a seamless hotel experience characterized by the availability of free Wi-Fi. The two most important factors they consider when planning for visits overseas are technology and the Internet. Mobile phones are an indispensable part of travel experience because they offer an array of functions ranging from bookings, check-ins, payments and special discounts. Hotels should therefore strive to provide websites that are mobile-friendly. This element is supported by a study that reveals 52% of millennials utilize mobile phones when making hotel bookings and that more than 30% of them have used the devices at one point in time to check into hotels. Another emerging tool when deciding on the hotels to visit is the robotics. Most millennials tend to opt for countries where such forms of automation that help in tracking hotel prices, reputation, and rate optimizations have been accepted.
The next issue on the list is hotel prices. Money plays a crucial role when booking holidays overseas. Millennials tend to prefer simple economy flights to save enough money and increase their spending in their places of choice. Unlike their parents who are more inclined to wanted amenities, the former often opt for required essentials. For instance, instead of visiting a place for the sake of sightseeing, millennials want to have an authentic experience of the local culture. They, therefore, derive satisfaction from having hands-on interactions and learning new things. Of great concern, however, is the ability to book flights and hotels from the convenience of a website accessible via a mobile device. Eng (2016) acknowledges this aspect as one of the reasons many online websites are incorporating the two and offering them as a mix.
The exciting part of traveling and tourism, as mentioned above, is dependent on the quality of accommodation facilities present in the chosen destination. Similarly, many of the hoteliers are moving away from traditional means of marketing and creating an online presence (Batinić 2015, p.35). Social media has provided potential branding opportunities
for international markets and helped in overcoming geographical and cultural barriers. In this regard, customers are able to provide immediate feedback to hotel managers, so that they can understand their wants and needs. Chan and Guillet (2011, p.352) argue that the implementation of such marketing strategies, however, faces many challenges including the unresponsiveness to clients’ concerns and lack of face to face interaction that could create miscommunication.
The hotel sector is the most dynamic industry in the world. Similarly, when crafting their marketing strategies, hoteliers have to create subsets of their markets to understand their customers. Akbar and Parvez (2009, p. 234) observe that this segmentation process allows for the hotel to recognize varying tastes and preferences and focus their marketing efforts on different clients. Additionally, creating a niche among different segments can also be useful in planning, budgeting and managing marketing activities.
Millennials are a vibrant group of individuals who are not afraid of taking risks and seeking new experiences. With this in mind, the study made sure to protect the participant identities by ensuring that they only provided their ages, nationalities and the countries and hotels they hoped to visit. Similarly, the names of hotels that were ranked lowest by the former were withheld to avoid any form of misrepresentation that could harm the business. Another important aspect that was considered is participant’s consent. They were first required to fill out a form that contained information on how their feedback would be utilized. Additionally, they were required to check a box at the end indicating that they have understood the content and that their participation is out of free-will. However, one major limitation of the study is the lack of a way to verify the authenticity of the ages of the participants and conclusively place them in the group of millennials. Further, the sample size used was small and may not necessarily capture the behavior and attitudes of the entire group.
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Shamaa, F. (2016). Hospitality industry courts millennials with new technology. Hotelier
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