News | OnlineHotels faced with new challenges as average age of guest dropsThis article was originally published onBy Nick Vivion | November 19, 2013 The average age of hotel guests has dropped, new research has found.The white paper, "Who's Sleeping with You: A Detailed Look at the US Online Hotel Guest" was produced in partnership with Hudson Crossing, and took a 3-month sample of the billion monthly travel transactions processed each month from Adara.The key finding is surprising: 4 out of 10 hotel guests are between the ages of 18 and 36. This provides a solid counterpoint to the prevailing trend of targeting hotels towards Baby Boomers.The rise of the boutique hotels and larger design-focused properties is most certainly at play here, as the younger generation of Millenials both begin to travel more for business and seek exceptionally unique experiences as they travel.The simultaneous focus on socializing the hotel experience likely plays a factor in this demographic shift, as trendy hotels like Ace create lobby scenes that create an atmosphere appealing to the more social Millennial demo.Loyalty - or lack thereof - was also a key finding in the study, which found that only 2 in 5 travelers express loyalty to any one hotel brand. Even those travelers that have elite status are shopping around, and willing to trade loyalty benefits for a better deal.Henry Harteveldt from Hudson Crossing explains what these results mean for hotels.“In 2014, hotel chains face a fiercely competitive environment on the web. Their customers are becoming more demographically fragmented and most don’t belong to a hotel loyalty program. So hoteliers really need to know who their customers are and understand them on a deeper level. They have to earn their customers’ loyalty and fight for every booking.”The following infographic pulls out the highlights from the study, which include: 92% of travelers researching hotels will book online this year.Millenials are now the largest segment staying in hotels.Supplementing organic hotel searches with paid ads can lead to higher conversions, especially if the ads are seeded with specific targeting like geo-location, previous purchase history, past visits and most recent stays.The full report lives here and here's the larger version of the infographic.NB: Boy with plane image courtesy Shutterstock.