Imagine a hotel or resort without pools, bars, or a lounge – pretty dull and boring, right? In recent years, in accordance with changing demographics, hotels have been turning towards the target market of millennials, as they are perceived to be the most important group of customers in the hospitality industry. At SEAHIS 2019, held on May 16-17 at the Westin Bangkok, the next big idea to satisfy millennials focused on new ways to keep them entertained.

While some might say that it’s hard to read a teenager’s mind, studies show exactly what they want. According to Giselle Abramovich, Executive Editor, Enterprise Thought Leadership Adobe, “seventy-eight percent of millennials would choose to spend money on a desirable experience over buying something that is desirable. They are all about creating, sharing, and capturing memories.” In practice this means that many have no real interest in luxury, and would rather travel places. Many business owners are therefore struggling to attract these millennials because of a lack of understanding, and more significantly a lack of content to offer.

There are two approaches to integrating entertainment with hospitality: the urban approach, and the leisure-destination approach. These contrasting styles attract different individuals, depending on their vacation plans and preferences.

Entertainment facilities in urban areas are usually restricted in terms of size and atmosphere. Some common examples include bars, lounges, and theaters.

However, when thinking about millennials, these consumers want new content; content that’s exclusive, but which also allows them to actively participate. Some of the best-known ideas are:

  • Escape rooms
  • Virtual Reality games
  • Spyscape (an espionage museum that allows visitors to act as spies)
  • Laser tag

Taking entertainment to a whole new level is One Pioneer: “Fulfill the Dream of Space, Experience for Mankind on Earth.” This is an indoor theme park with space-related accommodation and activities, all under one roof. It features Artificial Reality, holograms, and robots. This novel offering will attract space enthusiasts, as well as curious millennials, who just love a bit of technology.

Another example is set by Caesars Entertainment, an American gaming corporation based in Nevada. According to Samuel Lim, Vice President, the company is currently looking to expand their market in SEA. One of their specialties involves hosting events which include inviting celebrity chefs into hotels, and offering entertainment components such as providing venues for music artists.

In contrast, entertainment in leisure-destinations seems to focus on social factors: meeting new people, and having fun. That’s not to say that the activities are in any way sedate, but the core concept seems to be the atmosphere of open-air venues – epitomized by beach clubs. In Thailand, beach clubs could be placed in three basic categories: day-time beach clubs open from 11 am until sunset, night-time beach clubs which open from 7 pm until late, and party beach clubs which are usually only open on Saturdays.

Party beach clubs provide the stage, lighting, and sounds for guest musicians and DJs. Although it might not sound like a mind-blowing idea, according to one manager with experience of running such a beach club, the real estate value of the hotel could easily increase by 5-10%. The key is to provide a place where millennials have the opportunity to meet each other and spend quality time together.

In general, if the goal is to hold the attention of the new generation of hospitality consumers, entertainment content must be regularly overhauled to ensure fresh, new, safe experiences that can bring customers back to your brand time and again.