According to industry sources, Millennials and Gen Zers (also known as Zoomers) are slated to be the largest group of consumers by 2030. Since the influence of these two age cohorts will continue to grow, it only makes sense for the companies operating within the vacation rental market to study and understand them.
Despite the slight differences that exist between Millennials and Zoomers, they’re alike in many ways. One common characteristic of these generations is that they can be persuaded by a loyalty program to choose some brands over others. Given the intense competition in the vacation rental market, let’s look at the loyalty programs must-haves your vacation rental management company should consider to attract younger travelers and win their loyalty.
What Do Millennials and Zoomers Expect from a Loyalty Program?
While Millennial and Gen Z travelers appreciate discounts, they’re significantly less focused on loyalty programs’ financial side than previous generations. Instead, they seem to value a unique guest experience more. It is for this reason that your loyalty programs should revolve around the following:
- Creative gifts – In addition to certain perks, such as free Wi-Fi, gift cards, welcome baskets that show off the location’s unique heritage and character, and complimentary meals to the guests celebrating a special occasion, tech items make some really great gifts for younger travelers. Millennials and Gen Zers will appreciate a few items: portable chargers, Bluetooth trackers, phone cables and adapters, wireless earbuds, crossbody phone pockets, and pop sockets.
Another aspect to consider when creating your loyalty programs is that younger travelers typically seek unique activities and experiences that are specific to the areas they visit. Thus, a great idea would be to use your social media accounts to promote different tourist attractions and upcoming events in the areas in which your vacation rentals are located. Depending on the activities you promote, you could offer different freebies, such as free tickets to specific events for the guests who book your properties within a specified time frame.
On the other hand, if your company manages any vacation rentals located near a beautiful beach or in a charming mountain town with cool hiking trails, a complimentary picnic basket filled with lunchtime delights can make another thoughtful gift. You could also add a few branded items, such as beach towels, hats, blankets, and insulated bottles and tumblers.
- Travel Credit Cards and Referral Programs – Travel credit cards are very popular, especially among budget travelers, including Millennials and Zoomers. By accepting these cards, you allow your guests to collect and redeem points every time they stay at the properties you manage. Once your guests collect enough points, they can cash them in to pay for their next trip or use them directly to book lodging on specific vacation rental listing sites, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, and also on VRBO and Expedia starting this year. Since not many lodging companies offer this option yet, including travel credit cards in your marketing strategy gives your company the chance to get ahead of the game.
In addition to accepting travel credit cards, you could develop a points-based rewards system, allowing your guests to earn points for every dollar they spend when booking with you. They can redeem the points for discounts on future bookings, free parking, one or more complimentary nights, or any other perks you might decide to offer.
Having a referral program in place will also enable you to increase loyalty among Millennials and Gen Zers. Not only does a referral program reward guests for recommending your vacation rentals to their friends and family, it also helps you
get more bookings.
- Innovation in Technology – Unlike Millennials, who have known a world without smartphones and the internet, Zoomers are true digital natives. Thus, they expect technology to enhance every interaction they have with the businesses they come in contact with. One way to offer younger travelers the best digital experience while they make the most of your offers is to complement your business with different digital solutions. Advanced technologies, such as instant messaging systems, reliable online payment systems, digital guidebooks, keyless entry systems, smart surveillance systems, virtual property tours, and—why not?—conversational
AI home devices, can provide all the bells and whistles that can make your vacation rentals more appealing to younger travelers.
Nowadays, many people think that technology prevents hospitality businesses from providing the personalized services most guests expect. In reality, however, technology is the only thing that a lodging management company can use to streamline the guest experience and offer better support and interactions, including on a more personal level. All of these while also providing a great deal of convenience that can make any loyalty program even more attractive. The easiest way to achieve these things is by opting for a comprehensive lodging management system like JANIIS. Besides helping you meet the expectations of all travelers, regardless of their age, and create better value for them, our system also provides a series of advanced accounting and insights that you can use to identify new opportunities for business growth.