Social Change or bust: A new hotel brand aims to be a hub for young Conscious Consumers

Hotel amenities have come a long way since standard attractions like the in-room coffeemaker and a business center. Add “artist and activist residencies, meditation rooms and communal spaces for [innovators, progressive thinkers and creatives to] brainstorm” to a nouveau list of offerings from an emerging hotel brand: Eaton Workshop.

Oriented toward politically progressive Millennial travelers who crave community and social change, the global hotel brand is opening its first location in Washington, D.C. (the pilot spot, debuting 2018), with others to follow in San Francisco, Seattle and Hong Kong (as a brand update for an existing Eaton hotel).

Each location is expected to be a unique reflection of its host community, but the concept of welcoming and nurturing politically involved Millennials will be a common thread. The D.C. property will boast a 50-seat cinema that will feature socially conscious films, visual art studios for activist artists-in-residence and a wellness center designed to “promote a holistic mind-body-health approach to life and work” (FastCompany.com, 11.13.17).

In a world of commodity experiences, consumers are craving places of purpose. Whether they’re shopping for clothes or packing their suitcase, they want brand interactions to fulfill more than their basic needs. And it can take a lot to stand out in the landscape of travel marketing, but values can go the distance.

In fact, our recent THINK Report study found that Conscious Consumers place a premium on brands that reflect their personal values – to the degree that they’re willing to pay more for the products and services of like-minded companies.

Young, devout Conscious Consumers don’t leave their socially conscious values at home when they venture out. Travel and destination brands can connect with this cohort though amenities and experiences that let them live their core values – even when they’re on the road. And, as the Eaton properties could prove out, for Millennial consumers, true commitment to the concept is more respectable than simple lip service.

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