I know there's been much discussion on Insiders about how Marriott has been trying to cater to millennials lately and a lot of great discussions/arguments have taken place. One of the biggest points of contention has to have been about the removal of features from rooms deemed as necessary to millennials and the push to create more social atmospheres in the public areas.
I for one have never agreed on this stance. Call me strange (for a millennial), but I prefer to work in my room. Even on vacation, I'd rather set my laptop down on the desk in the room and dump photos from the camera and edit them in-room. I want to relax in my room, which I'm paying good money or points for, after a long day of work or adventure. Admittedly, I may be an old sole, but I'm not alone, as was made even more clear by a BoardingArea post I saw today:
Further, there are other chains that continue to keep the focus on the in-room experience, such as Hyatt's Andaz, doesn't charge for minibar items (excluding alcohol). In-fact, studies are showing that younger millennials and even the Gen Z kids have more in common with the Boomers than Gen X or older millennials/Gen Y.
I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks, especially the other millennials in Insiders. Am I just part of a minority
Good Morning to the "Islands"
kharada46 This subject (as you have noted) has been discusssed from many angles recently so here is an opinion of a non-millennial (and one that has lived through many generations)..
I believe that Marriott (and all other chains) are attempting to please too many at the same time in the same properties.
AND, it doesn't always work out to the better.
Starwood, for example, has dedicated that the W brand to the younger millennial. They are making it "hip" in decor as well as automated services. Although I haven't read anything "official" but I have been told this will be the plan for new Renaissance properties.
Brand identification might be the answer.
\When travelling I don't want any surprises. I want a human being behind the reception desk to greet me. Personal attention is expected and when received appreciated. As an older and have attained a level of affluence that allows me to splurge, I don't want a "mobile check-in" when on my way to the Essex House in NY (or for that matter any JW)
Demographics are changing - 18 - 49 year old have been the target of air wave advertising (which dictates content) and the hospitality industry believes they must adapt. They must do this with the understanding that there is a distinct difference in the needs and desires of all trailers in each category of accommodation.
A Ritz customer, or (looking at the whole industry) a Four Season guest wants the human interaction that many feel millennials want to reduce. On the other hand CY's are attempting to be a "no hassle" experience to make a business person's stay as seamless as possible.
It's not an easy undertaking. I'm afraid this topic will be important as it effects so many different socio-economic levels. I don't envy this attempt to please everyone when the next generation begins their demands. With life lasting longer there will be more to cater to at the same time.
Great points misterchk!
That very much seems to be the way Renaissance is going with the way the public spaces are at the Ren LAX, as well as the advertisements and contests Ren has been running over the past few years.
Let's also not forget the "new" Marriott brand, Moxy.
I do like face-to-face service as well. This is especially true at luxury type properties, though, again I think certain other brands are doing this better, such as at Andaz where you sit & relax while checking-in, with a beverage even! I might prefer, though, mobile check-in at a CY where the service is very no-frills.
I totally agree with you. My experience has been that Millennials I work with want the same things I do when traveling for business, with the addition of the latest technology. Doing work at a desk is definitely easier than trying to do it while sitting on an uncomfortable chair or in bed. I don't know what marketing research Marriott did to determine Millennials don't want desks, but they really missed the mark on this.
I've been doing marketing research with Millennials for several years and they are becoming more like Boomers as they progress through lifestages. We learned how to reach and appeal to them with our products without alienating our core customers. In some cases, we create new brands rather than jeopardize reducing appeal of our existing brands to older customer who represent a majority of our sales. I think Marriott is smart to add new brands, but needs to quit screwing up the ones all of us became loyal to.
I currently like the Renaissance brand better than any other Marriott, so I hope they don't turn it into spiffed up Courtyard. or Aloft.
I'd like to know, superchief1, where Marriott got it's data saying that Millennials don't want desks as well. It seems to come out of left field, as I've NEVER heard anyone say this. Granted, the vast majority of my friends are well educated and/or are hard working.
You are right, we are more alike the previous generations than many will agree to. And while many still complain that we lack loyalty, that isn't something that can really be said either. I think we lack loyalty because we aren't really given reasons to be loyal whether that be at work or companies we do business with, but that's another discussion
I definitely agree that Millennials have good reasons to be less loyal customers and employees. After all, airlines and hotel chains are all devaluing programs and elite perks, so why should anyone remain loyal. Millennials also watched their hardworking parents get downsized due to frequent mergers and greedy upper management. It is a two way street.
Although "many moons" separated from the Millennials I believe that there are always advantages to a loyalty program.
Even it it is only lounge access. That benefit alone with it's free (non alcoholic) beverages and morning and evening food over a year's travelling can really add up to "mucho bucks".
Misterchk, superchief1 and kharada46 - All of your comments are right on the money. As an almost 65 year-old (March), I'm not interested in social areas in the lobby and am definitely concerned with the lack of a desk or appropriate workspace in the room. If I'm meeting someone in the lobby area, its always to meet for 1) dinner or other meal; 2.) the conference or meeting which we are both attending and walking to together; 3.) friends who are picking me up for a day trip. It's never been, and I don't expect it to ever be, for socializing. Partly, it's my concern for confidentiality. I don't like the idea of others hearing conversations with my friends about my health, their health, my job, their job, etc!
In addition to my "regular job", I also teach on-line so whenever I travel my trusty Macbook Air is with me, and I need the desk/workspace. If Marriott intends to eliminate those, I'll have to look for another hotel chain. I recall some years back the big change was to an "intelligent workspace" that included easy to access plugs, etc. I will say that I've recently found that some hotels, when they have refurbished the rooms, have gone back to hiding the plugs!
I consider myself open to change, and willing to accept changes for the better. On the other hand, I'm also a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of guy. (And sorry for the use of slang. As a former English major in college, I still find it difficult to use "ain't" even in this context.)
Please note Sir this is a very classy site and I will not tolerate slang or any "bastardization" of the American language!!
U shud be ashaymed of youself!!!!
Seriously, being of like ages (and generations) we are on the "same page".
I get the feeling that retirement (like me) is not in the immediate future. Consequently we will find ourselves continuing as "road warriors" and desire those conditions that make our "traveling lives" as smooth as possible.
The only constant is in fact "change". We can only hope that it is for the better.
Yes, I am ashaymed, especially at having had to expose someone like you to it! It's a doggone shame, especially to an "old" dog like you who looks great in glasses!
I, too, do not see retirement in the immediate future and agree with your desire that our traveling lives are made as smooth as possible (I recently signed up for Global Entry to assure that I get the pre-check line every time. My knees seem to creak a bit more every time I stand up after bending down to retie my shoes.) I only hope that when the time comes I die in bed - my own bed, and not at a Marriott (or worse, a hospital). LOL (past the graveyard?)
By the way, if that's your dog, I love him/her! Labs are the best.
nhtraveler (the dog is only a photo of a similar friend that passed on years ago - currently have a 14 pound cockapoo who favors my wife and growls when I get into bed everynight - she thinks the bed is only for her and my wife)
I think we have made the point as well as the problems facing the hotel industry. With more of us working into our late 60's and 70's they must deal with more "generations" at the same time. This can't be easy and I don't envy them.
phctourist, I hope sees the light and changes their mind. But, renovations happen so slowly, it'll be a long time before most properties are affected under the current stance.
misterchk, the blog post I linked has a quote from an article stating that Marriott intends to remove desks from all Marriott brand properties as they're renovated.
Why would they take the desks out. Doesn't make any sense to me. This can't be a generational thing.
CY's have always been proud of their comfortable desk to work at and they set up the largest lobby in the world with enough desks for the entire hotel.
I would love to know what executive dreamed this idea up - I also wonder if he is residing in a state with legal access to "weed" as he certainly was stoned when arriving at that decision.
Actually you and I would make a great "panel" on this subject. We represent two different generations.
Let me ask you this question: When on traveling on business don't you expect that a desk will be part of the furniture in your room.
I would notice it missing as much as would notice a bathroom missing.
Sounds like a great idea misterchk! Doesn't matter if I'm traveling for business or for pleasure, I want a desk! I always have my laptop whether it be for work or photography, I need a desk for it and my camera to go. Sufficient outlets to recharge everything is a must too!
This is why this whole situation is nonsense: According to your profile you are in your 20's - I'm 71 (but with a maturity level of 14) - now if that isn't a difference in generations I don't know what would be a better example.
Now, we are in total agreement when on business we expect (probably demand) to have a desk in the room.
Which I think would be the same opinion irrespective of generational differences by most members.
The latest news I read doesn't say anything about removing and/or remodeling without desks. The only mention is reducing the size of the desks. So there - different generations due business the same way. "What a country"........
Now I'm going to connect this discussion with the Residence Inn discussion floating around today - not only do you get a roomy desk, you get a kitchen table, a sectional couch and a half a dozen TV's - okay I was kidding about the TV's. Great place to stay when on business - when you think about it the only thing you miss at an RI is room service.
I will take the bait. As a fellow millenial I am with you - much rather be in the confines of my hotel room than on the lobby working. I made more extensive comments at the end of last year when Marriott announced they were debuting a "hotel brand for millenials". More here: Re: Marriott debuts hotel brand for Millennials
I think other Insiders have made the observation that Millenials are really not much different than older generations when it comes to loyalty - and I would agree. I will take good service anyday over bells and whistles and "millenial" design.
I live in Marriott Hotels. And, I have almost 4,000 nights, so I am considered an expert in this area.
So, having a social area away from my hotel room is actually very helpful. I host staff meetings in the lobby's, I entertain friends and family in the lobby's, I watch football in the lobby's. To me, having a certain lobby "feel" is very important to me.
While having a great room is nice, once you start reaching the 1000's of nights, you realize the hotels are your home. And, it feels good coming in and having a place to relax besides your room, which starts to feel more like a jail cell once you have stayed as much as I have.
ericwynn, thanks for your interesting perspective and input! And I do agree with your view, that it is nice to be able to escape your room with public spaces. I do this from time-to-time, though I'm more concerned with public spaces taking precedence over the rooms. I firmly believe that desks should be kept in rooms, as well as comfy sofas, and of course, great beds.
I think a balance needs to be found rather than always trying to run towards extremes. Marriott, I think, needs to figure this out.
I'm with kharada46. I work from the hotel and need a desk. I can't work in the lobby as my work requires confidentiality, and I need to concentrate so a quieter area is better. Also, I bring business clothes and need a closet.
Great post and discussion, kharada46. I have enjoyed your and the other insider's thoughtful comments. I think every generation thinks it's unique, but IMO in the business World the generations have more similarities than differences. A big difference is the "new technology" offered which many of the older generations embrace also. I certainly do not feel slighted by Marriott looking for new business within the Millennial Generation. We can certainly co-exist. Thanks for your stimulating post.
Thanks bpelican! I agree. The generations can co-exist, and much easier than most think. While all generations are unique, we're also much more similar than we're all given credit for.
Though, I must say, I can't stand the characteristics people assign to my generation, namely those of being entitled and lazy. I find that, at least among myself and my peers, we're a hard working bunch. We may not want to live at work to be able to have time with friends and family, but I wouldn't equate that with laziness. There are certainly many in my generation that match these attributes, but I believe all generations have these type of people.
I agree, kharada46, that your generation takes a bad rap on those characterizations (entitled and lazy), but that's what the older generations always say about the new generations. Thanks again for a very thought-provoking post.
After "sleeping" on this subject for 24 hrs I'm more confused about catering to different generations (hotel services).
At the beginning of 2015 there was a poll of business travelers. I wasn't surprised to read that active business travelers over 40 were planning more business travel and those under 40 less. The explanation was the use of technology, video conferencing etc
The over 40 group, practicing what has been successful during their careers wanted face to face contact with customers, associates, etc.
Those of both groups that are traveling I would suggest need the very same services. Although phones have become less necessary as we all use cells most of the time, but what is necessary to conduct business must be available to attract this segment of guests. Whether it is desks, available computer equipment and peripherals (printers etc), you won't find business travelers staying in a property that is devoid of necessary services and equipment.
In my opinion the catering to business travelers (which must be a top priority of all categories of hotels) in reality should not be different whether a millennial or a boomer - their requirements are the same to be successful.
I for one, will not reserve a room in a property if I know in advance there is no desk. I'm not one to lay horizontal on my bed with a laptop on my stomach.
If the hotel has a nice lounge in the lobby with entertainment/piano bar etc for socialization, fine. That gives me and those 30 years younger the choice of going to bed or being entertained for an hour or two before sleeping and continuing the next day.
BOTTOM LINE OF MY OPINION - all categories of hotel guests require the same amenities in their rooms. The differences should only be in the common areas of the property that can cater to various age groups.
I'm confident that there are contrasting opinions and throughout the day they will be posted.
I for one think businesses will cater to where they think the money is. Is they are right they will beat their competition , if wrong they will change or go out of business. I do think different generations have different interest. To some extent Starwood with the W chain was ahead in catering to millennials so maybe Marriott will use that chain to get to this base that is now or soon will be the largest
My comment was specifically expressing my opinion not based on different interests. It was given assuming those that travel for business have the same requirements when on the road.
We all have different interests whether there exists an age difference or not. (my wife and I haven't agreed on anything since 1995).
Jerry, when you stay at a hotel don't you expect to have a table or desk where you can set up you laptop or other electronic tools?
I think that Millennials are more likely than older people to use a smart phone when I would use a computer, Thus, less need for a large desk.
They are more likely to dress casually and therefore need less closet space.
I'm certain that there are other differences.
Nevertheless, I doubt that many Millennials will not stay at a hotel because the desk is too big, and few would boycott a hotel because the closet is too small.
However, I will avoid hotels where the closet or the desk is too small!
True phctourist, though Millennials still need in-room phones for intra-communication, especially with the front desk and what not.
While my dress style is fairly casual, I do travel with a lot of colored shirts that need to be hung and/or ironed, so I do greatly appreciate closets!!
Great insight misterchk! You post actually made me think of Up in the Air
Though, as we're seeing more and more that the younger generations prefer face-to-face interactions, perhaps we'll continue to see a need for business travel, and not it's demise as the movie and some think.
By the way, I hate using my laptop in bed too. It's REALLY uncomfortable... and also a great way to get carpal tunnel....
You mention that the younger generations are "more and more preferring face to face interactions:......
Common thought today is that the younger generations want to take human interation completely out of many situations.
The hotel industry, being the subject herein, seems to be desirous of a situation where (in a futuristic sense) a guest arriving at a property would never have the need to see or interact with a human!
You digitally check in (in advance) - like getting a boarding pass at the airport, you approach a kiosk, place a credit card or driver's license (readable card) into an ATM type device (for identification purposes) - it allows you access to the building, delivers a key and any other pertinent info.
You enter the elevator - place your key in a slot that allows you access to your floor and room. Once in the room you turn on the TV/or other monitor that has any and all info about the hotel and information specifically designed for you.
Seems to me that utilization of this type of technology (available today) would cut staff needs about 75% at an average property.
As a millennial, would you prefer this absence of a "live person" to interact with or the situation I have described?
It is quite possible that our two generations are not communicating with each other and our needs, desires and opinions are misunderstood as they apply to hotel operations.
I think it really depends misterchk. At a full service property, I would like that face-to-face interaction. And while I do use mobile check-in, it still requires that face-to-face interaction to get the key and some other standard procedures. I hope that's something that doesn't go away at all.
However, at a limited service property were service isn't exactly a strong point, then I would prefer faceless interactions. Or if a stay is simply about convenience rather than experience, then I may not have a preference.
Service, to me, is still king. Generally, Marriotts have good service, which is why I stay. Likewise, most of my credit cards are with Chase, whom provides me with excellent service. Granted, even if we did have Chase branches in Hawaii, I'd rarely step foot in one, but I do call them here and there and am always treated really well... They get my vote for my business.
Actually, what doesn't make sense to me is if the thought is that Millennials are entitled, wouldn't you want to keep a live person in front of them to stroke that sense of entitlement? Hard to make someone feel really special without that face-to-face interaction in my opinion. So I guess either way, face-to-face interactions with excellent service should continue to be a priority for any service industry, but especially hospitality.
Sorry to do this but need to throw a new "wrinkle" into this (large discussion).
Guests at top luxury properties (Ritz and Four Seasons etc) are on average older than lower hotel categories,
Luxury properties promote human interaction rather than de-emphasizing it., (They stress personal service and the number of staff per room on duty is much higher than other categories).
Is this reality in the hospitality industry consistent with this discussion of Marriott's announced operational and facility plans for the future?
I am Gen X and love Ritz and Four Seasons but sometimes do feel a bit smothered. Just stayed at Four Seasons Miami and very pleased that I could self-park, bus my own luggage, and not be followed around by people that I have to tip. It's not that I mind tipping, but it can be awkward and a hassle, and I don't need people coming into my room to show me where things are (hey, the rooms are not that big - I can figure it out myself) and giving me a tour of the property, etc. Four Seasons is a bit "big brother" in that they track you and seem to profile guests and know if they are regulars and which properties they've stayed at, etc. RC does this too and it doesn't bother me too much, but it can be a little intrusive at times.
clebert Like you I love the excessive luxury properties - I usually overnight at one when someone else it paying.
Let's face it though, it is a waste of money (unless points or another's expense).
Even the Essex House isn't the standard of a RC or Four Seasons, but to me, JW's are great - haven't been to one I didn't like.
This is a good example of why we need reviews on this site - you and I for example have experienced all categories of hotels and can make a judgement on what is worth the expense and what doesn't.
Too much luxury translates into needless spending.
As far as I'm concerned a JW at $200 less than a RC or Four Seasons is the logical choice - think of all those staying at a Motel 6 and we are deciding on 4 1/2 stars vs 5 stars.
A few months ago I spent one night at a Fairfield Inn - wonderful room, equipped with all the amenities in the bath room and even had my waffles the next morning!!! A week later I was at the Essex House (JW) and I think I slept better at the Fairfield!
In other words "camping" is okay - (I should explain "camping" or "roughing it" to me means no room service )
Many years ago I realized how to blame others. It is rare when a individual volunteers!
With thanks (I will see that you receive an "honorable mention" at my next waffleholics meeting.
Do you think I enjoy going to meetings every night, standing up in front of strangers and announcing "MY NAME IS MISTERCHK AND I'M A WAFFLEHOLIC?
Please have sympathy - this is a serious addiction - If I don't conquer this how will I be able to move on and tackle my "jelly belly" addiction?
misterchk, you and I have the same definition of camping/roughing it. Spouse has put a moratorium on our FFI, SHS, CY, RI, and TP stays though. Spouse is now demanding full service hotels with restaurants. Having said that, there are a few lower-end Marriott branded properties that fit that description. FFI in Rapid City, SD, has a nice restaurant attached as does SHS in neighboring Deadwood, SD - both very touristy areas which might explain it!