The grand dames of the hotel industry—Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt—built their reputations on creating a consistent, high-quality product that would ensure a guest had a perfectly predictable experience anywhere in the world. This approach worked like a charm with baby boomers, who liked their premium hotel stays—much like their Starbucks macchiatos—to follow a neat formula. But millennials, it turns out, are different beasts altogether. Big hotel chains don’t interest them.

[highlight]MARRIOTT IS KNOWN FOR CREATING PERFECTLY PREDICTABLE EXPERIENCES FOR ITS[/highlight]

[highlight]GUESTS. TURNS OUT, MILLENNIALS WANT THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THAT.[/highlight]

The grand dames of the hotel industry—Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt—built their reputations on creating a consistent, high-quality product that would ensure a guest had a perfectly predictable experience anywhere in the world. This approach worked like a charm with baby boomers, who liked their premium hotel stays—much like their Starbucks macchiatos—to follow a neat formula. But millennials, it turns out, are different beasts altogether. Big hotel chains don’t interest them.

Older millennials, now in their late twenties and early thirties, travel frequently. They take an average of five business trips a year, which is twice as many as their peers over 35, and they are 23% more interested in traveling abroad than older generations. But millennials are also driven by a desire to have a rich, meaningful experience when they travel, get an authentic taste of the local culture, and gather unique stories to share upon their return. They are often choosing to stay in hostels, AirBnBs or non-name boutique hotels instead of big-brand hotel chains.

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