Millennial Marketing in Hospitality Venues

Editor’s Note: Dave Dronkers will be presenting on Expectations of Connected Consumers and Reaching Millenials with Marketing and Promotions at the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show on March 19-21. Make sure to check out his session by clicking HERE.

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Americans born between the latter 1970’s and early 2000’s are considered to be part of the Millennial generation and are the most significant one since the Baby Boomers.

According to Sarah Monnette, Director of Consumer Research for the food industry consulting firm Technomic, “Millennials cover a broad range of life stages, from college years, to early career, to starting a family. They are not one homogeneous group with constant needs, so it is imperative that restaurants stay on top of their changing needs and expectations, particularly in the areas of health and wellness; ability to customize their order; and atmosphere.”

Though Millennials have yet to reach their maximum spending power, they still want more choices; expect services instantly; hate to be delayed; do not like to wait in line; do not like unproductive processes; and will post on Facebook, Twitter or Yelp about a bad experience.

In order to effectively market to this diverse, educated and demanding group of consumers, restaurateurs and bar owners must take a marketing approach that includes social media, and must look at best practices from successful operators.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the top 10 restaurants with the best social media marketing practices are Applebee’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Hooter’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Hard Rock Café, Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse.

Why do Millennials love these brands?

  • Social Responsibility: These brands act in a way that is good for the environment and treat their employees well.
  • Food Quality: For Millennials, food quality goes beyond taste and visual appeal. These brands also incorporate elements, such as grass-fed and free-range, into their quality perception.
  • Supports Local Community Activities: These brands make charitable contributions and support community organizations. They also facilitate community activities, where young people can come together and socialize.

Applebee’s caters to the Millennials desire to mix and mingle. They offer karaoke events, Ladies’ Nights and ‘Game Time’ at different parts of the day and evening.  On Twitter, Applebee’s tweets about its 550 Calorie Menu which resonates with Millennials, a generation who likes to hit the gym and watch what they eat, but also loves going out.

Millennials also expect the speed, convenience, flexibility and power provided by digital services.  Here are three keys you need to consider when it comes to communicating digitally:

  1. Social Media Voice: Create and implement an authentic voice that resonates
  2. Visual Marketing: Pictures and videos that demonstrate product, services, people and customers.
  3. Online Reviews: Millennials find review comments more trustworthy and genuine and are inclined to share positive and negative reviews via social media channels.


Sources for article
Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog

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