The Continuing Influence of Millennial Developers
The other day I was part of a conversation about millennial developers that are challenging the status quo, and it occurred to me that there are two ways to think about that phrase, “millennial developers.”
The first is fairly obvious: hotel developers targeting the millennial market. These are the companies working to understand this generation’s game-changing priorities when it comes to hospitality and respond through new approaches to design, programming, and functionality. This translates as smaller rooms, because Millennials prefer to be out and about; larger and more-useful common areas, because Millennials are social creatures and need third spaces for play and for work; and a heightened focus on technology, from seamless check-in via an app to robust wifi throughout a hotel, because millennials are always plugged in.
But sometimes, when you visit these types of properties, there can be a sense that something’s just a little off, that the interior details or the brand marketing reflect an older generation’s interpretation of what millennials are looking for.
And this is where the second, perhaps less-obvious, way to think about the phrase comes into play: developers who are actually millennials. These days, the oldest members of that all-important generation are reaching leadership positions at the larger, established development companies—not to mention architecture and design firms and hospitality brands. As decision-makers, they’re beginning to assert their influence from within. And because they are millennials, living the lifestyle that hospitality developers want to emulate, there’s a certain authenticity that will be reflected in the properties they work on.
In other words, the status quo will continue to be challenged, but in fresh ways that will be exciting to watch. This change will come from within and be authentic, not simply a reaction to shifting market and demographic trends.