Millennials force new hotel stylings


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If you’re a concierge, start sending out your resume.

That’s what hotel chains across the world are promoting through the new brands they’re creating, focused specifically on the millennial traveler.

Millennials are surpassing baby boomers as the world’s dominant generation with more than 75 million waddling around the US, eyes and fingers tethered to the smartphone. Seeing the population shift, hotel chains are racing to launch brands that meet the needs of a generation seeking a need to be connected to everyone at all times.

Many of these brands — with laughable names like Aloft, Moxy, citizenM and Vib — have launched in the last five years, with gradual growth about to explode worldwide. Aloft — the millennial brand from Starwood Hotels — first opened in 2008 in Montreal, boasting loft-like guestrooms, one-stop charging stations and healthy food options.

In March 2015, with a new hotel in the high-tech hub of Sunnyvale, Calif., Aloft promoted its smartphone room-key system and gourmet grab-and-go food kiosk. Aloft is even employing robots to deliver snacks, and at the Yotel New York, luggage, according to a March 2015 Los Angeles Times report.

In late 2014, Marriott opened its first Moxy, a brand intensely focused on millennials. Moxy’s guestrooms are 200 square feet or less, two-thirds the size of normal guestrooms. That strategy responds to research that reveals millennials don’t mind room size as long as they have free and strong Internet access. On its website, Moxy promotes its Instagram feed: #AtTheMoxy. See wild millennials hobnobbing, drinking and — sort of — enjoying their stay. The ploy: Everyone is loving Moxy; you should come, too.

While Moxy’s only open property is in Milan, Italy, it’s expanding rapidly into Eastern Europe, the Middle East and US.

Other chains are trying to catch up, developing plans that demonstrate a misread of the audience. Welcome Radisson Red, Radisson’s attempt at a millennial hotel launching in China and South Africa, among other locations. Radisson Red is the drunkard’s design of a millennial space: Ping-pong tables outside (millennials aren’t ping-pong players); guestrooms with oddly space-age appliances; and a lobby decorated as a “modern” art gallery.

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