Hotel trends for Millennial travellers

Young woman lying in the bed of a hotel room
Young woman lying in the bed of a hotel room

Budget hotels are booming. But these aren’t the cheap and cheerful chain hotels, but chic destination hotels designed to attract a new generation of tech-savvy ‘Millennial’ travellers. These guests have money to spend but want a more interesting and practical experience and better value for their hard-earned cash. Hotels are rising to the challenge with a new genre of low-cost, high-style hotels. So what exactly can you expect from the Millennial hotel?

It’s low-cost, but high-style

This winter, Marriott opens a Munich airport branch of its new affordable hotel chain, Moxy. The first hotel launched in Milan last year, with compact but stylish rooms offering show-stopping artwork and comfy armchairs as well as plenty of plug points and giant TVs. Part four-star hotel, part hostel, another 10 Moxy hotels are set to open their doors in the next year, boasting cool lounge bars, free-wifi, places to work, a library and a 24/7 self-service rather than a restaurant, with prices starting at about €79.

There’s nobody in reception

The hospitality industry thinks today’s travellers communicate only through their smartphones or social media. So you won’t find someone smiley behind a reception desk in the lobby any more, but can check in via an app and get tips from a Twitter concierge. Through Starwood Hotels’ app you can FaceTime with staff 24/7 and next year you’ll be able to pick your room, and unlock its door using your smartphone in all Hilton hotels.

They’ll get to you via social media

Hotels know that you’re more likely to book a room after seeing a photo on Instagram than a poster at a bus stop. Hashtags are set up to encourage travellers to share their experience of a hotel, as that’s how many guests get their preview ‘tour’ before booking. They know they benefit from social media show-offs, so try to do their marketing virally, using ruses including quirky interiors – or offers authentic or alternative ‘experiences’ – that guests will want to snap and post on their Instagram and Facebook feeds, sharing with potential new clientele. The floor-to-ceiling photo of a foxy half-naked tattooed man brandishing an iron in the ironing room at Moxy Milan, for example, was an Instagram hit for very obvious reasons.

Even chain hotels are ‘individual’

In the old days, travellers found it reassuring when their favourite chain hotel looked and worked exactly the same the world over. These hotel chains know that this new breed of guest wants something a little special, that’s why they try to create an individual ‘story’ for each branch, with kooky bars and lobbies cluttered with designer armchairs to sip cocktails in.  

It has a cool bar, but no room service

Millennial travellers want to dine in the latest street food pop-up restaurant or check out the nearest hipster food truck, not sit in their rooms eating a club sandwich. That’s why these hotels have traded room service for a 24/7 vending machine and a molecular cocktail bar on the ground floor.

Don’t expect a wardrobe

Be warned, with ‘smart’ micro room designs come pegs. There is often not enough room for a full-sized wardrobe and certainly not a Corby trouser press.

Hostels are posh

You don’t have to be a millionaire to stay in a historic property these days. Hostels have been getting hipper for the last few years, but now you can stay in a stately home hotel if you book a bed at Safestay Holland Park. The hostel is set in a wing of a Grade I listed building dating from 1605, in the middle of one of the city’s finest green spaces, Holland Park, and a bed there is yours from just £15.50.

By Emma Forrest