Millennials: To pander or not to pander? That is the question

(Note: This blog post may [does] contain sarcasm.) As my first blog post for HOTELS, allow me to disclose upfront that I am both a hotelier and a millennial. The perspective I will be sharing with you, in this and future posts, is as someone who travels the world finding comfort and enjoyment in places from posh European hotels to family-run hostels in Latin America, and even tents in the Arctic. Like most of the millennial generation, I believe living and breathing the renaissance lifestyle is key.

Whether you think of millennials as Pandora’s box or the elephant in the room, we are here to stay – and equally crazy Generation Z is right behind us. The multibillion-dollar question many industry veterans are asking is how to get our heads into their hotel’s beds? Many times, what is said about us is just plain wrong, so let’s set the record straight.  

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

There are several philosophical, and at times contradictory, ideas that need to be understood in order to effectively engage with millennials. The most important yet misunderstood of these is our belief that we are a united community of individuals. We want to be acknowledged and accepted for who we are without the fear of any labels, façades or veneers forced on us by others. As a community, we promote and seek out uniqueness, originality, freedom of expression and disruption of the status quo.

Regardless of whether we are in the 1% or the 99%, what motivates and inspires us daily, whether personally or professionally, are entirely different from prior generations. Gone are the aspirational days of having a clapboard house with a white picket fence, 2.5 children and a Volvo in the driveway. Millennials live in the moment and seek ways of enriching their quality of life through authentic experiences. Our impulses tell us to do things that will benefit us this second and worry about tomorrow when it arrives. Life is too short and fragile not to be in the moment because, unlike James Bond, you only live once. This mindset is better known as YOLO. 

For hoteliers, the millennial conundrum is compounded when YOLO meets FOMO, the fear of missing out. Without delving into too much detail yet, these phenomena are major contributors as to why our generation is not brand-loyal and find “millennial focused” brands to be incredibly pandering.

More on this in my next blog post. Stay tuned and in the meantime, feel free to comment on this post below. Toodles.