Five Reasons Why Millennials are Running the Hospitality Industry

Friends Enjoying A Meal

Most adults understand that everything in life changes. However, sometimes that change seems to happen so fast that it catches us off guard. Many hotels are now playing catch-up to meet the demands of today’s biggest hospitality consumers. The generational demographic known as the “millennials” are running the hospitality industry, and it’s time to adapt. While certain expectations like quality service and cleanliness carry through the ages, many preferences are generational.

Here Are Five Reasons Why Millennials Now Lead the Charge in the Hospitality Industry:

Spending Power 

Despite certain stereotypes, millennials now represent the single biggest spending block. The generation officially surpassed all others in workforce numbers in 2015. More jobs mean more disposable income. Meanwhile, baby boomers are moving into retirement and living on fixed incomes.


Not only do millennials boast the greatest disposable income of any generation, but they also spend comparatively more money than others on travel and leisure. It is said that millennials tend to value “experiences” more than “possessions,” and all indicators suggest that’s true.

Social Media 

The hospitality industry is hyper-focused on the role social media plays in advertising to millennial guests. However, there’s another angle on the social media phenomenon. It also shapes their expectations with regards to services and experiences.

Essentially, many millennials seek experiences that can be shared via social media. So, a hotel’s restaurant should focus on providing ample photographic opportunities. Perhaps landscaping near the pool is designed with “selfie” perspectives in mind. Hotel-affiliated excursions need to focus on “sharable” experiences.


Most millennials were born into the information age. While older adults had to learn smartphones and web browsing, this younger generation absorbed it through osmosis. Even with the vast proliferation of mobile apps and virtual solutions across all demographics, millennials continue to lead the charge.

The implications for hotels are profound. Not only are features like smartphone apps and virtual check-in/check-outs welcomed by millennials, but they’re expected. Keeping up on the technology front is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

Global Middle Class

One of the biggest trends among the millennial generation is one with global implications. The world’s millennial middle class is growing exponentially in developing countries. So, a hospitality market that previously focused only on Western preferences must now accommodate the tastes of Asians, Africans, and others.

Hospitality leaders previously viewed millennial consumers as a niche demographic. However, this perception has changed dramatically in the past few years. Instead of ignoring reality, successful hotels should focus on addressing millennials’ needs.

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