Generational differences factor into lodging preferences

You knew the emerging millennial crowd was different from most of your other guests, right? But did you also know their planning and booking habits when making lodging reservations are fundamentally different from those of boomers and matures, too? Well, according to our 2014 Portrait of American Travelers, they are.

While millennial and Xer travelers are significantly more likely than matures to prefer luxury lodging, boomers and matures are more likely than younger travelers to prefer moderately priced hotels/resorts. Matures are also likely to be more inclined toward traditional hotels/resorts than all-suite properties.

Millennials, too, are significantly more likely to believe that online travel agencies offer the best prices on lodging accommodations, are the most convenient way to arrange travel plans and, not surprisingly, OTAs are where they typically book. They are, however, significantly less likely than their older counterparts to use travel service provider websites (such as hotel or airline websites) or believe they offer the best prices or are the most convenient way to book.

Boomers and matures are a lot more likely than their younger counterparts to cite “value for the price” as an influential factor when selecting a hotel or resort, while millennials are significantly more likely than older travelers to think the “location of the hotel/resort” and “room rate” are influential factors when selecting lodging. However, millennial travelers are significantly less likely than their older counterparts to consider a “previous experience with the hotel/resort” or “previous experience with the chain” an influential factor when selecting lodging.

Xers, boomers and matures all find “being able to check the lowest available fares or rates” to be the most desirable feature of a hotel or resort’s website. Millennials, on the other hand, prefer visual content. They cite “photos of the hotel and resort facilities” and “photos of the area” as the most desirable features of a hotel or resort website. Mature travelers are significantly less likely than their younger counterparts to find the following website features desirable: “photos of the hotels and resort facilities,” “a lowest price/rate guarantee” and “photos of the area.” Millennials are significantly more likely than more mature travelers to find “the ability to compare the rates/fares of multiple providers” desirable.

When traveling internationally, matures are significantly less likely than younger travelers to be “willing to pay more for hotel rooms.” They are also less likely to believe their favorite hotel “really takes care of them.” Millennials are significantly more likely than older travelers to prefer hotels that are “elegant inside,” “to be willing to pay more for true luxury in lodging” and “to find there is a significant difference between 4- and 5-star hotels.”

Millennials are also significantly more likely than their older counterparts to have stayed in an independent hotel or resort during the past 24 months. These insights are revealed in the tables here.

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