Marriott removes guestroom desks for the millennial traveler

The end of the year is rapidly approaching, and as millennials continue to become more established and travel, hotels are investing in finding ways to draw their bookings. millennials have shown to be agnostic toward brand loyalties, but are fascinated with technology, leading hotels to use more technology and data analysis to discover what these guests desire.

So while some in the industry may balk at the idea of removing the guestroom desk, Marriott International is pointing at its data as the desks go out the door. Slate reported that the removal of guestroom desks is part of a chain wide redesign that has been going on for some time, targeting millennials who are willing to trade smaller closets for bigger TVs and bathrooms. Removing the desk is one more step towards providing more guestroom space.

Is the removal of the guestroom desk a wise move? Marriott Rewards recently topped the list of hotel company loyalty programs, a spot the company is keen to stay after, and trends in guest activity show that younger guests prefer to do business in the lobby or other public spaces. But the removal of the desk could serve to alienate travelers that prefer to work in their guestroom, away from crowds. 

Tina Edmundson, global officer of luxury and lifestyle brands at Marriott International, said in an interview with The New York Times that "design has been democratized," and went on to say that millennials are setting the new bar for the needs of current and future generations of guests.

"When we say millennials are connected or they want technology, it doesn’t mean Gen Xers don’t want it. They certainly do. We are saying that is the way of the future, and we have to design the experience and the hotel to fit the new desires and new wants of our guests," Edmundson said.

In a world where brands are becoming more homogenized each year, and brands are created at a rapid rate, one could say that a brand striking out with a drastic change to its room design could be a true differentiator. By the same token, millennials are not yet the generation spending the most money. Is now the time to alienate everyone else?