Bed and Breakfast Inns have been a tradition for lodging for many years and trends in the B&B industry are continually evolving. The tradition of having guests come into one's home dates back to Colonial America during the 18th Century. At that time lodging was difficult to come by, thus the practice of staying at a stranger's home was more popular and convenient. Travelers were at the mercy of these strangers to take them in and provide a warm bed.
Later as the railroad came through the country, hotels sprung up and provided alternative lodging options. With the Great Depression, Guest Homes became popular again. Having guests rent a room for about $2.00 a night provided a mutually beneficial relationship for both house owner and traveler.
Following World War II Americans started exploring Europe in greater numbers and enjoying the European B&Bs. These had different names depending on where at in Europe you were staying, but they were all basically operated as a Bed & Breakfast. Tourists returned to the United Stated enthused to carry on the B&B experience they had discovered in Europe. This coincided at the same time as a couple pieces of legislation were enacted that allowed for tax incentives for preservation and restoration of historic buildings, including valuable old homes. The legislation that protected our heritage included the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the Tax Reform Act of 1976.
During the mid-1980 and 1990s, the B&B industry experienced rapid growth and the trend was a movement from a simplistic home-like establishment to elaborate mansions with high-end fixtures and amenities. As the internet became an increasingly important mode of communication and more readily available, many B&Bs developed elaborate websites with full detail color photos, reviews, online booking, and interactive video property tours.
The trend in the B&B industry has been to continue to add an increasing number and types of services, in order to remain competitive with the larger hotel industry. High-end amenities such as high-speed internet, luxury spa service, free wine and hor ‘de oeuvres, valet parking and baggage services are just a few extras that one can discover added at no charge for loyal guests at many B&Bs. In addition, many Inns have begun to provide extra services such as wedding packages, business conference rooms, and guest rooms offering corporate rates with business travel accommodations.
What is the Millennial Trend?
Millennial travel trends are demands by the younger generation of travelers currently affecting the type of service provided by the lodging industry now and in years to come. The Millennial Generation already comprise 40% of leisure travelers and many of these travelers will book a vacation using the Internet. Millennials are generally very comfortable online searching for a vacation, lodging, booking, posting pictures and telling friends all about it.
With the Millennials, we are not seeing a trendy fad that will come and go with the passing of this generation. This is a change in how the hospitality industry will eventually do business. The widespread use of technology has become and will continue to be more accepted and in demand in all phases of travel. This the emergence of the Millennials, spending tons of cash and throwing out every gizmo in order to get them to spend money will not be the answer to approach the demands of this new generation. This generation is only savvy they are frugal as well. The lodging industry will need to provide a smart return on investment in order to attract Millennials.
Understanding the Trends
Connect and Reach Out
It is important to connect with and respond to the unique needs of Millennial travelers for the longevity of the lodging business. This will become the cornerstone of the future of lodging business.
They trust their friends’ recommendations for travel and lodging:
On-line reviews and sources are very influential. In this case, it is very important that you monitor your reviews and respond to both good and bad reviews. Additionally, when you have happy guests in this group of travelers, they tend to tell their friends about you through social media. This can be very good for you if the review is positive. Be sure to correct any problems before they have a chance to blossom out of control and end up on a newsfeed as a bad review. Once survey mentioned that 76% say that friends’ recommendations were the main reason they went with a particular vacation travel and only 18% would consider a travel agent over their friend.
They want to fully experience new cultures and local cuisine for themselves:
Millennials look for experiences that are unique to themselves and something they will find meaningful and enriching. This typically comes with a real time showcasing of their experience on social media. This preference for unique experience has helped fuel industries such as Uber transportation and Airbnb.
iPhone, iPad, “iDigital” has provided the means to record the Millennial Adventure:
Smartphones, tablets, laptops have really become the portal by which this generation read, investigate, research, and eventually book their getaways. Not only will they use the smartphone for the booking, they will continue to use it for tracking the booking, communicating with the venue, check-in and finally for reviews. Smartphones and similar electronic devices are a powerful tool in the hands of these consumers.
Spend more money per day while traveling:
Millennials enjoy the finer things in life, especially when it feeds into bullet #2. It is meaningful, enriching and adds to their experience.
Amenities are very important and they are willing to pay extra for them if they add to the experience:
Millennials typically tip the scale toward value versus budget: and see greater value in amenities compared to their parents. Amenities tend to score higher for Millennials because once again these weigh in on the quality of the total experience, and are not seen as just something to be budgeted. Over half of Millennials surveyed said they won't even book lodging that skimps on amenities and perks such as free Wi-Fi. They would rather pay a little more and get the high-end amenities rather than pay less and sacrifice value.
“Always-connected” generation, but down time is very important as well:
Being continuously connected is for the savvy! This allows the user the option of engaging or not. Order online or eat out… check-in online or in person. The Millennials think they have social engagement conquered. Engage when you want it and downtime when you don't.
Connected with an ever-increasing number of travel apps designed to improve the documentation of the journey:
Millennials use many different apps to manage the many varied and sometimes complex aspects of their lives. There are a number of travel apps that help with specialty travel needs like BringFido for those traveling with pets. Another very important aspect of Millennial travel is documentation of the travel. There are many majority sites that help with the instantaneous post of travel events. A few of the most popular, none of course of new, including by popularity, Facebook (94%), Instagram (71%), and Twitter (14 %).
Tend to blend business and pleasure travel together, “bleisure”:
One study by Expedia found that Millennials are 62% more likely to turn a business trip into pleasure. They make the most out of a holiday with their downtime while they are on business, turning it into a “bleisure” holiday.
InnKeepers Are You Ready?
- Guarantee that you have proper amenities to meet expectations
- Blend modern high-end pampering with your own unique experience that can only be found there, ie. local cuisine, museums, hiking
- Ensure connectivity throughout your establishment is optimal and can support all of your guest needs
- Make environment comfortable and relaxing
- Let them know that you are agreeable to electronic or in-person communication
- Offer the right mix of amenities that match stay experience expectations
- Accommodate business travelers who need a few extra in-room services, such as food or beverages.
- Be ready to respond to the seriousness of loss of connectivity
- Take a few photos for travelers to help with the memory documentation.