Hilton Hotels has a novel plan to attract young people — give them less stuff in their hotel rooms.
Chief executive officer Chris Nassetta, in Berlin for the Hotel Investment Forum, confirmed that the world’s biggest hospitality chain was exploring the possibility of a hotel with more of an “urban flair, more of a micro-hotel.”
The idea is that some Hilton rooms would be more akin to hostels. There would be no chairs, desks, or fridges. Laminated floors would replace carpets and bathrooms would only have showers. Room service would also be limited.
It goes against earlier remarks he made two year ago when he said that targetting millennials wasn’t some kind of “silver bullet”.
“It’s misguided to try and develop a brand largely around just one generation of travellers because the desires of those travellers change as they age,” he said in March 2014.
Nonetheless, evidence suggests millennials just want a bed to sleep in and will then spend more time in the communal hotel lobby — assuming it has capable wi-fi capabilities and a funky decor. Hotels are also installing more bars and restaurants to keep up with Millennials’ appetite for eating and drinking out.
But not everyone is happy with the new direction. As MashableUK reports, some veteran hotel users may hate the idea of a minimalist room: “Flexible I have no problem with,” says computer consultant Don Wright. “Unusable is what I have a problem with.” He added that he found it hard to imagine Millennial guests would mind a desk being in the room.
Best Western CEO David Kong theorises the move could simply come down to slashing construction bills.”The big hotel chains don’t own most of their properties but licence out rights to them. And the owners and developers are pushing the parent companies to cut costs,” he said.