Millennials choosing hotels based on social media, technology

smartphones
A prospective hotel’s social media presence is important to millennials, with 73 percent saying they check the company’s social media feed before booking. Photo credit: ViewApart/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A strong online and social media presence is important if a hotel hopes to attract millennials, according to a new report. U.K. furniture maker Knightsbridge commissioned the survey to find out how that demographic finds and selects hotels. The survey reveals where hotels and businesses should focus in order to appeal to the young demographic. 

The study, conducted with global data collection agency Viga, polled 1,000 18- to 34-year-olds who had booked hotels in the past two years. It found that 80 percent of millennials found a hotel using Google, and more than half wouldn’t book a property if its website was difficult to use. Apparently impatient, 49 percent put off making a booking if they couldn’t do it instantly online.

A prospective hotel’s social media presence is of interest to millennials, with 73 percent saying they check the company’s social media feed before booking. In fact, 33 percent would be put off booking altogether if a hotel had no social media presence.

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The research also highlighted the power of social media as a communication tool, with 76 percent of respondents professing to have shared an image of a hotel (including bar, pool, restaurant, bedroom) that they have stayed in. Eighty-three percent said they would be more likely to book a hotel after seeing images from someone they follow on social media.

Adequate technology also is an important element, according to the survey, with 70 percent saying they would be more likely to book a hotel if it featured such tech amenities as keyless entry, mobile payments, smart TVs and smartphone charging points. More than a half would return to a hotel if it had powerful Wi-Fi. Powerful Wi-Fi and smart TVs with Netflix are the top features that would encourage millennials to book a hotel, according to the study. 

A well-thought-out design scheme also can be part of the solution for hoteliers wanting to build a loyal following among the millennial generation. While 82 percent of millennials stated a preference for experiencing a new hotel each year, a significant 42 percent will return for an impressive design. The research revealed that an overwhelming 87 percent of respondents cited the interior design as important when booking a hotel, with 81 percent identified a “cool bar” as a critical factor in their choice.

Knightsbridge CEO Alan Towns said the survey shows a shift in travelers' priorities as a generation used to sharing and documenting its experiences becomes the dominant demographic.

“Another key finding was that 76 percent of those surveyed admitted to sharing an image of themselves in a hotel on social media, which illustrates the importance of interior design and key furniture pieces, and truly enlightened hoteliers can create environments that fit into the perfect Instagram shot,” Towns said in a statement. 

This continues the millennial social media trend—research has shown that millennials participate in  “travel bragging” on social media to build kudos among friends, and even faux friends. 

Research from Hotels.com's global Mobile Travel Tracker discovered 30 percent of millennials admit they spend more than four hours a day on their mobiles while traveling, often more glued to the small screen than the beach scene. And hotels are taking notice—just search for "hotel selfie" on Twitter and enough show up to keep you busy indefinitely.

Sixty-six percent of 18- to 29-year-olds saying they would rather upload a selfie than a picture with their loved ones (62 percent) while vacationing, the Hotels.com study found. In addition, 60 percent of the group admitted to uploading pictures, checking in at cool locations (39 percent) and tracking the amount of interaction on their posts (32 percent) for bragging purposes while on vacation.

Sharing pictures of food is popular among 44 percent of millennials. Fourteen percent said they would rather travel with a smartphone than with a romantic partner. Travelers said they get more anxious when their phone runs out of battery (15 percent) than if they argue with their partner on a trip (8 percent).