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Luxury vs. Millennials and Their Technology: The Ritz-Carlton (By Julia Shorr)

Embodying the finest luxury experience, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC has been established since 1983. In 1998, Marriott International purchased the brand offering it more opportunity for growth while being independently owned and operated. They are known for their enhanced service level as the motto states, “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”. The luxury brand now carries 97 hotels and resorts internationally and is attempting to keep the aspects of luxury while keeping up with the trends of the technologically improving generations.

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The Varying Demographics of the Target Market

The Ritz-Carlton’s typical target market includes: business executives, corporate, leisure travelers, typically middle-aged persons and elders, and families from the upper and upper-middle class section of society.  This infers a large range of types of travelers in which all are similar in that they are not opposed to spending extra for the luxurious ambiance. However, with business executives and corporate, they are not at the property for all the amenities it may have to offer while leisure travelers and families are staying for the catered amenities and prime location. This already illustrates how the Ritz-Carlton stretches to cater to a multitude of needs.

Not only are the demographics of the target markets largely varied, but they are continuously changing as well. The business executives and corporate members are now majorly millennials and carry different expectations from millenniums (Gen X) and baby boomers. Gen Z is now also entering the workforce which is just adding more pressure to the hospitality industry to cater to new needs and wants. They are more tech-savvy and prefer simpler décor and layouts. They no longer need a large room with a sitting area and closet because they are more on the go than previous generations and are usually just using the room to sleep, keep one’s belongings and do other necessary routines one may have.

How Does Luxury Keep Up with Change?

Such a luxury brand being able to keep up with technology is a challenge when they are known for being so personable. The Ritz-Carlton is known for its superb service and anticipating and fulfilling guest needs and wants, that it seems technology will only take from that. It will not allow for strong relationships with guests to be formed as they previously have been. The relationships that are formed help one determines the unexpressed wishes of a guest through their tone, way of words and actions. This relationship is key for the creation of the memorable “Ritz-Carlton Experience” as the service values and credo reflect.

As of late 2014, The Ritz-Carlton has offered a mobile app to cater to guests needs more conveniently and meet the needs of the younger travelers. The app offers check-in and check-out procedures as well as service requests, mobile food, and beverage ordering, immediate concierge and your personal folio review. This appeals to the millennial generation as it enhances the use of technology and decreases the amount of time it would take to speak with a Lady or Gentleman (employee) and makes requests more direct. Globally, this app is a quality option. The app can allow for more clear communication which directly amplifies the personalized service strived for. It brings luxury service to your pocket.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel will be the first property to be conducting iPad check-ins in the lobby instead of waiting in line to speak with a Front Desk Attendant. Beginning this summer, the new role will be kicked off and we will examine the reaction of the market. I believe that the younger generations will be more inclined to the iPad check-in due to the speed and preciseness because they tend to be less picky on the room or location. The older generations will be more reluctant because they like to speak with representatives directly and are more selective on where their dime is spent. Personally, as a Lady and Gentleman of the Ritz-Carlton, I will be one to interact with guests while using the iPad being able to see firsthand their initial reactions, thoughts, and feelings toward the newly offered service. This will immediately reflect whether this technology is favored by the upcoming generations as well as how it sets with older generations.

Are technologies helpful in enhancing customer service only to the younger generations? Why or why not?

About the Author

Julia Shorr is a second-year student at the Collins College of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly Pomona focusing on lodging. She is currently employed with The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, and will be moving to a position of Guest Services Representative, conducting the iPad check-ins as well as working as a barista at Starbucks on campus. She is also involved with the National Society of Leadership and Success to network with professionals. In the future, Julia plans to work in operations management and eventually work for corporate in the hospitality industry.

Note: The picture about The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company was download from https://www.collaboratemeetings.com/feature/the-ritz-carlton-rebrands-to-reach-millennials/

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