The most obvious business related feature of the millennial traveler is their assumption of being constantly connected to their office, personal network, and information sources.  This assumption has lead to a few changes to the standard hotel design and offerings.

  1. Wi-Fi service access is still growing.  On average, Wi-Fi access has become increasingly available.  Airports, airplanes, shopping malls, and even some city blocks post signs touting their free Wi-Fi.
  2. Hotels are also joining in to provide Wi-Fi.  What used to be available only for a fee can now be found free in most locations. In fact, an increasing number of travelers have started to not only comment on the availability of Wi-Fi at different hotels, but also describe the cost and quality of the service as one of the most important items that they review.
  3. Workspaces are becoming more prevalent.  Open plan offices and the plethora of laptop friendly spaces in coffee shops are part of why millennials are less likely than older travelers to work in their hotel rooms.  Those old school business centers hidden behind the elevator are giving way to lobby designs that have areas where visitors can comfortably work on their electronics and still place a food or drink order. (ex. Marriott Courtyard’s Bistro Lobby).
  4. Self service options are a good thing.  This generation prefers to conduct business using electronic tools for transactions rather than interfacing with a live person.  When planning, websites and apps are routinely employed to research travel options, make reservations and even to provide electronic boarding passes.  Kiosks are being chosen more often for hotel check in and check out and Yelp-like reviewer apps provide specific location information that used to come from the concierge desk.

According to American Express Business Insights, the Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 1999) is already making their business travel preferences known and travel providers are beginning to adapt.

All of these elements add up to a common trend towards do-it-yourself activities fueled by technology.  Publications as diverse as Buzzfeed and the Wall Street Journal have both recently published articles noting the trend and its direct impact by showcasing new hotel openings that are designed specifically with this trend in mind. Check out the new designs from Starwood’s aloft or Marriott’s MOXY to see the Next Generation in action.