September 28th, 2016 by Shawn Kerr
Last month I presented studies that showed how “work martyr” culture within the Millennial generation is resulting in fewer vacation days being taken. This month, I focus on the “how-to” for distinctive hospitality providers, such as B&B innkeepers and dude ranches, to improve their effectiveness in marketing vacations to work martyrs of all generations specifically and martyr-prone Millennials in general.
If you missed last month’s post, I do recommend that you read the “Will ‘Work Martyr’ Millennials Kill the Concept of Vacation as We Know It?” before digging into this one.
For those of you who did read that post, but want a refresher, here’s a brief recap:
Work Martyr Attitudes Toward Vacation
Work martyrs tend to agree with the following statements:
- “No one else at my company can do the work while I’m away.”
- “I want to show complete dedication to my company and job.”
- “I don’t want others to think I am replaceable.”
- “I feel guilty for using my paid time off.”
Work martyrdom is a growing problem for vacation marketing as Millennials, the generation with the highest percentage of work martyrs, are emerging as the fastest-growing target market for the hospitality industry.
Improve Your Efforts at Marketing Vacations to Work Martyrs
The first thing to understand is that there is no one tactic or even one sophisticated strategy that will woo work martyrs away from their jobs and into your B&B or dude ranch for their vacation. Each of these recommendations needs to be considered for its relevance and appropriateness to your business and then tested.
Evolve Your Definition of Vacation
The traditional week-or-more long vacation during peak vacation season is losing its popularity as more and more workers feel (rightly or wrongly) that they cannot or at the very least should not take the time away from their jobs. These work martyrs are seeking short vacations that allow them to enjoy a little time away without feeling disconnected from their work or appearing to supervisors and colleagues as abandoning their responsibilities, devaluing their productivity, and becoming targets for “vacation shaming.”
Broadening your understanding of what vacation means is needed if you want to have any hope of better effectiveness at marketing vacations to the vacation-phobic. If there’s one thing to take away from this article, it’s this: work and play need to co-exist for the burgeoning Millennial generation of workers.
Emphasize and Extend Weekends (Holiday or Otherwise)
As Liz Brodar, innkeeper of White Fences Inn in the Hamptons, mentioned in her response to my last post: “Extended weekends are…more popular than a week long vacation.”
Work martyrs, regardless of generation, are less inclined to take multiple days off during the workweek since they’re uncomfortable with taking so many days in a row away from work. Polls show that weekend trips make up nearly half of all Millennial vacations. Almost half of Millennials identify as work martyrs so it’s evident that there’s a likely connection.
Consider marketing standard weekends and and three-day Holiday weekends as four-day weekends. Blog about 4-day itineraries and create specials or packages aimed at showing there isn’t any reason short trips can’t be fun. The ambitious innkeeper or dude rancher will want to consider creating a series of such itineraries, specials and packages aimed at the work martyrs in their target guest markets to create interest and generate demand.
Add Vacation Days to Business Stays
If your B&B has a built-in business travel market and is catering to business travelers, be aware that 62% of Millennials report getting more value from their business trips by extending them into personal vacations. Offering “Work then Play” specials for vacation days added to business stays and blogging about how business guests can take advantage of local highlights after their meeting, corporate retreat, or convention is a great way to plant the seeds of consideration for earning more days of stay from work martyrs.
Understand Work Martyr Travel Habits
Here’s the good news for bed & breakfast innkeepers and dude ranch owners:
Offer a Unique, Fully Customized Experience
- 66% of Millennials value unique experiences while traveling
- 50% of older age groups agree
- Millennials prefer personalized service and want customizable options
- Millennials see themselves as explorers, rather than tourists
As a B&B or dude ranch, unique and customizable (to some degree, anyway) should be a priority already.
Have Tech Amenities
Hipmunk’s 2nd Annual Millennial Travel Habits Study, which surveyed 1,400 participants from the Millennial generation, reveals some important statistics for bed & breakfast innkeepers and dude ranch owners:
- 50% want technology integrated throughout their stay
- 43% ranked free wi-fi as their favorite perk
- 38% want to be able to check in/out via their mobile phones or tablets
There’s an additional reason to have great internet connectivity for work martyrs in employed in tech industries: if you don’t have it, they will go someplace else that does simply because of their need to do work in-between their play. Mobile data plan overages cost them money, so reliable, high-speed wi-fi is absolutely essential to their feeling of job security.
Remote dude ranches and B&B inns may find internet connectivity challenging. If so, it’s important to offer to understand that the technology to connect will eventually come to you – be ready to embrace it when it arrives.
If internet connectivity is handled, it’s time to research your options for integrating guest experience into an online and/or mobile app that allows them to check itineraries they’ve created, confirm reservations made through your concierge, share on social media and more.
Offer Value Beyond Your Stay Experience
- 77% of Millennials participate in loyalty or rewards programs
- 78% reported being more likely to purchase from a provider with a loyalty or rewards program
Having a “perks” program working hand in hand with your great stay experience will increase the potential for online and offline recommendations even from harried work martyrs. Working with other local businesses, lodging associations and other potential partners will help you extend the reach, and perceived value, of the program(s) you offer.
(How) Are You Working on Marketing Vacations to Work Martyrs?
As a hospitality provider, what are doing or considering to gain a bit more business from this growing phenomenon of “reluctant vacationers”? What has worked, and not worked, for you? Please leave a comment or contact me directly to share your experiences and expectations.