For years, we have been been sifting through archives, conducting interviews, and documenting noteworthy guests at historic hotels around the world.
Hotel owners and managers are recognizing the value of storytelling in their marketing and social media strategies as Millennials and even Gen Z begin to dominate their guest lists.
As a well traveled Millennial and the founder of Houselore, part of my job is to advise historic hotel owners and stakeholders regarding the real priorities of these new generations of travelers.
This enormous consumer group (approx 3.5 billion worldwide) looks for, above all, unique experiences that are exclusive to a certain place. We no longer trust large corporations. Major chains and decades-old brands hold no appeal.
We look for unique, local, and authentic experiences. As any professional in the industry knows, a truly unique historic hotel is much more than just a place to lay your head. It is its own experience that should reflect the environment, people, and history that surrounds it.
That’s where the next piece of the puzzle fits in. Millennials want to feel an emotional connection to their experience, and the sense of being part of a greater story. It’s hard to find a unique local experience or compelling human story in the bleak cookie-cutter boxes of modern development hotels. This is where your historic property has an edge and an advantage over the competition. It’s time to use it.
How will you be found?
To misquote Boromir: “One does not simply place a print advertisement to attract Millennials”. Both Millennials and Gen Z are well known for our digital fluency/addiction. We’ll be finding you on social media, a blog, or some other online venue.
Now we encounter the problem which follows: with the daily deluge of information and advertisements online, how does your historic hotel stand out?
Millennials, Gen Z, and most humans today tend to go online for two primary reasons. To be entertained and to learn. You can hit both of these targets by telling the compelling story behind your historic hotel. When we at Houselore are contracted by an historic hotel to tell their story, we leave no stone unturned.
We tell the stories of previous owners and proprietors as well as famous guests. We locate old newspaper articles that feature the property, as well as old deeds, photographs, announcements, and more. We bring the story of the place to life – and this is what captures the hearts and minds of Millennial and Gen Z travelers.
Making an impact
Once your historic documents have been located, a timeline created, old photographs identified, and a narrative written, how do you get the story out to draw in Gen Z and Millennial travelers? When we’ve finished our research into a property and are ready to move forward with production, there are several avenues to consider for publication to attract new guests and capture repeat clientele. Here are our top choices:
- Hardcover ‘coffee table’ style books for your lobby area
- Softcover books in individual rooms for sale
- Digital formatting for easy social media and website sharing
- PDF format for marketing materials, press releases, investor documents, review boards, etc.
Old is the new green
With Millennials and Gen Z so heavily focused on the impacts of climate change, sustainability, and clean energy, there is yet another opportunity for historic hotels to shine. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 251 million tons of consumer solid waste is generated annually.
As much as 40% of this waste comes from construction projects such as new hotel developement. Younger generations are now hyper-aware of the negative impact to the environment and human health that such development can generate.
As a result, they want to support places that do not negatively impact the environment or human health and that provoke a strong feeling of emotional connection and continuity. In this case, historic hotels fit the bill perfectly.
It’s time to tell your story
If your historic property has a story to tell, now is the time to uncover it. Not only will you preserve your property’s legacy for future generations – you’ll also attract the new major market of Millennial and Gen Z travelers looking for local authenticity and human connection in the present.