What Vacation Ownership Needs to Know that Marriott and Ikea Have Already Figured Out

Moxy Hotels have a Lesson for Vacation Ownership
Moxy Hotels have a Lesson for Vacation Ownership

How do you feel about spending your Saturday morning shopping at Ikea? Or your Saturday afternoon assembling what you bought at Ikea that morning? Here’s a new thought for you … how would you feel about spending the night at Ikea? Marriott International Inc. (the brand behind the hotels, not the spun off Marriott Vacation Club timeshare brand) is about to make it possible for you to book a room at Ikea —sort of.

Announced this week, Marriott International Inc. will debut a new line of economy hotels in Europe. And their partner in this venture will be Inter Hospitality, a subsidiary of Ikea parent company, Inter Ikea Group. Projected to launch in Milan next year (early 2014), the new Moxy Hotels are planned for development in the United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and at build out, should number some 150 properties in all, phased in over a ten-year window of development.

The new partnership brand will be going after a target market the companies have identified as worthy of their time, energy, dollars, and attention. So worthy, that Marriott and Nordic Hospitality have spent more than two years conducting consumer research, including constructing sample rooms for focus group studies. And who is this highly sought after target market? Millennial travelers; those who fall in age range of 20-something to 30-something.

But what makes this Marriott – Inter Ikea Group effort significant news to the timeshare and vacation ownership industries? The troubling fact that currently, almost no one in the business of vacation ownership is targeting or even paying attention to Millennials.

What are Hoteliers Asking Millennials and What Do the Answers Reveal for Vacation Ownership?

You can’t market and sell timeshare to Baby Boomers in the same way you sold it to their parents and you certainly market and sell timeshare or even rent timeshare to Millennials without addressing the keys that make them a different consumer than any generation who has bought (or failed to buy) vacation ownership in the past.

Millennials are great travelers. They actually put more emphasis on their need (and their right) to take vacations and to travel both nationally and globally than other generations have done in the past. This makes them an ideal market for timeshares, yet because they have yet to reach their earnings potential, vacation ownership has to offer them products they can afford and justify in their budgets.

While this group is rarely interested in fine furnishings (Ikea products suit them fine), they do have other requirements of the amenities their vacation accommodations offer. These include:

  • Upscale bathrooms
  • Oversized, flat screen televisions
  • USB ports incorporated into electrical outlets
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • And full accessibility to booking, check-in, and other services not only via the web, but through purpose-built web apps for complete mobile accessibility of services.

It’s really time that all of us in timeshare sales, timeshare resales and rentals, and all aspects of vacation ownership stopped thinking of Millennials as our client’s children and started seeing them as the next market of timeshare owners and renters.