Ah, summer. Here in Minnesota, summer is a highly anticipated event for the fun in the sun, barbeques, and the vacation time it brings.While most Xers remember camping during their youth or cross-country road trips with their relatives a la The Griswold’s in the movie Vacation, they don’t necessarily pine for the past.We have established new trends in travel, such as these:
- Turndown service is nice, but wireless is even nicer. These 24/7 travelers travel with technology and stay plugged in at airports, hotel rooms and, alas, beaches. Some hotels are now trumpeting free high-speed Net access that lets you log in without worrying about wiring.
- Young, single, and employed Gen Ys are skipping the sighseeing for adventure travel. Most popular excursions include whitewater rafting, scuba diving and mountain biking.
- "Staycations," where travelers stay closer to home and take long weekends instead of weeks away, are more popular than ever, especially with younger generations. Almost 30 percent of Americans have taken five or more weekend trips in the past year and 35 percent say they've taken their children with them on at least one weekend trip.
- Xers and Ys are taking their families on business trips, and they are also the proud parents of babymoons (where couples take a vacation before their first baby arrives).
Xer and Y travelers are far more adventurous, far more curious and far more tech-focused than our parents. Although we earn on average $6,000 per capita less than Boomers, Xers travel more and spend more per capita on travel. And Gen Y may represent only 9% of business travelers at the moment, but it is 75 million strong.The hospitality industry is changing. Fast. Here are three hotels on top of the trend:
- Starwood has introduced Aloft, a new line of lifestyle hotels that are chic, sociable, affordable, and tailored to the under-35 crowd. Aloft has an average rate of $150 per night featuring plasma televisions, computerized check-in kiosks, pool tables and a gourmet snack bar. Founders of Aloft say they are targeting a generation that has grown up appreciating the customization of Starbucks, the good prices of Target and Ikea, and like to maintain their hip, urban lifestyle wherever they go.
- NYLO opened its first hotel in a suburb of Dallas, and expects 50 more to open by 2010. NYLO has a multi-use lobby designed to encourage guests to socialize with features like wi-fi, chairs that hang from the ceiling, and a Nintendo Wii. NYLO has design features that play up the locality, like cowhide rugs and glass chandeliers in the shape of antlers in Texas, and will offer local entertainment such as bands, art shows and movie nights. Rooms cost an average of $120 to $200 per night.
- InterContinental's Hotel Indigo is so locality-focused that each city's hotel has an entirely different décor and sponsors local art auctions and singer-songwriters in the lobby. There are guitars for guests to play hung on the wall in Nashville and a dog named Indie residing in the Atlanta hotel who is hosting canine cocktail parties this summer.
While the Bomers expected a hotel that was nicer than their home, Xers and Ys are more interested in casual food being available anytime, free Internet, great views, and self-service check-in/checkout.We have redefined the meaning of a vacation, which has become more of a lifestyle than a luxury.