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At a conference in Orlando last week, Marriott International executives had a message for some three thousand general managers of the company’s hotels. From now on, said the executives, Marriott would be tailoring its hotels – and its marketing efforts – toward Millennials, the generational cohort that represents the future of the hotel industry’s customer base.
“These Millennial travelers will be our dominant customer segment for the next 20 years,” said Janis Milham, global brand manager for Courtyard, Marriott’s 30-year-old brand for business travelers.
Hotel rooms have been reworked to appeal to the design sensibilities of younger travelers. Lobbies, often treated as little more than a conduit for ferrying guests from the front desk to their rooms, have been made more welcoming and communal, with Starbucks cafes, free WiFi and bistros that serve small plates and plenty of booze.