The millennial generation are a breed of tech savvy travelers where the need to access the digital world has become of paramount importance, so much so, that in a recent study released by SACO The Serviced Apartment Company, research shows that the requirement for a high-speed internet connection gets top billing (even above the quality of the cuisine) when selecting accommodation.
Ben Harper the Sales Director of SACO states that “in our expanding portfolio, we have placed digital at the heart of our strategy” to woo the segment of the market that by 2020 will represent over half the work force. The plan will be to implement super fast internet access across the SACO portfolio in the future.
Whilst ensuring that the best digital infrastructure is rolled out in all their properties, SACO is also conscious of changing travel habits. This is reflected in the need to design flexible spaces which are conducive for socializing and networking rather than focusing heavily on “in-room” entertainment facilities. SACO has even introduced “supper clubs” at some venues (at their own expense) which encourages guests staying in their apartments to meet, socialize and network over beer and pizza. This added extra goes beyond the standard “loyalty reward card” which the report indicates is unlikely to satisfy the “millennial traveler” who is deluged with so many differing choices that such cards rarely meet their new demands.
SACO’s booking engine is a simple 3-step process and is coupled with a highly responsive search facility to pinpoint all relevant properties within a set radius. They are also testing new in apartment technology such as keyless access and smart TV’s as part of their continued development. The report suggests that millennials tend to bring their own digital entertainment with them, so there has been a move away from filling rooms with systems containing a huge library of entertainment.
SACO is noticing that established clients and new business are all seeing the benefits of having their staff located in one apartment and not just from a cost efficiency point of view (which tends to work out at a 25 percent reduction over traditional hotel tariffs). Integrating staff with each other can also have a myriad of positive effects. Harper also wants to ensure that ‘the personal touch is not lost’ and is quick to confirm that the overall guest satisfaction rate stands at 93 percent.
SACO have seen that adapting to a new set of preferences, behavioral patterns and focusing on “digital” innovations is positioning the company’s long term future to cater for generation Y and to be prepared for and cater to generation Z. SACO seems to be mirroring the U.K. government’s plans to become more digitally competitive and to redefine the internet as a utility service, similar to the provision of electricity and running water.
With around 90 percent of SACO’s bookings coming from corporate and business travel clients and the Global Business Travel Association predicting that business travel will expand by 6.6 percent in 2015, SACO is adapting to the new travel landscape and is ready for a new generation.
For more information go to www.sacoapartments.com