Column: Aren’t We All Millennials?

Wow Suite bedroom at the W Hollywood // Photo by W Hollywood
Wow Suite bedroom at the W Hollywood // Photo by W Hollywood

I just stayed at the W Hollywood on a business trip and my guestroom there has become one of my favorites of all time. Not for its size or lavish furnishings, but for a window seat that sits high off the floor. It was a great space, wide and long to stretch out in and it provided me with a great view of the iconic Colony Records building across the street, so I had a sense of place to boot. I curled up in that cozy nook whenever I was in the room with my laptop and phone, a few cartons of coconut water, some magazines and the TV remote. My next house will have one of these unique spaces, which I now refer to as a “cocoon.”

I didn’t realize how on-trend I was in embracing this concept until I recently read that Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts has designed new business traveler rooms with three spaces in mind: “a cocooned bed, a flexible nook and a streamlined workspace.”

The thought here is that people don’t necessarily work at a hotel desk anymore. And that’s not just a Millennial thing, it spans all age groups. Consider the last trip you took: If you didn’t have a nook like I did at the W, you were probably answering your e-mails in bed, on the floor or wherever you could spread out with access to an outlet for all your devices.

Millennial is the buzzword these days, but all the new lifestyle hotel product isn't being developed solely for this age group; it’s for all evolving humans whose new definition of social is to sit silently amongst others in a hotel lobby without any intention of speaking to anyone. Little contact is made unless an amazing cultural synergy arises between you and your neighbor, say, if you both realize you have the latest version of the MacBook Air, which prompts you to start grinning at each other. Hotels are making their lobbies such gathering spots, ensuring that coffee and wine are readily available at the appropriate time of day and that there’s a local vibe to the place. Even more important amenities include an abundance of conveniently placed electrical outlets and of course, free Wi-Fi. These things appeal to virtually every traveler — not just to 18 to 35 year olds.

All of your clients are evolving in their travel needs, not just your younger customers. We treat Millennials as a special dynamic that needs to be understood, but your older customers are losing out if you’re not doing a deep dive into their needs, too. If they’ve been your client for five years, consider how their homes have changed over that time. They likely have a “smart”  TV, great Wi-Fi and might even have changed their lifestyles if they’ve taken up new interests, new spouses, become empty nesters or parents of impossibly savvy teens. They weren’t drinking coconut water five years ago, they weren’t gluten free and they certainly weren’t binge watching their favorite TV series on demand, but they might be now. Who knows what else has changed for them?

It’s time to re-qualify your clients, even those you think you know really well. Ask them where they are now with their lives, for starters. You might be surprised at what you find out, but that knowledge will help you deliver a better customer experience to them, which undoubtedly will add to your bottom line.