Not all hotel guests are the same, and understanding the demographics of the people who frequent your lodging is key to developing your hotel’s marketing and business strategy. When it comes to today’s consumers, various factors play into a guest's expectations for their experience at your property, including their reason for traveling in the first place, their age, personality, background, etc. Understanding the typical guest who stays in your hotel will help you to create a better environment to suit their needs and desires.
A guest persona is a description of the representative type of hotel guest who stays at your property. Without understanding the guest persona for your particular hotel, you may have a hard time creating effective marketing campaigns that drive reservations.
Whether you're a limited service hotel, luxury property, or anything in between, there are often differences between your ideal guests and the ones you may actually end up booking.
Below is a list of the most common types of hotel guests:
Now let’s examine each guest type to determine their usual expectations and see how to appeal to each one through marketing and outreach initiatives.
Family travel, also known as multi-generational travel, is more popular than ever. In fact, some analysts predict that family travel is set to explode over the course of 2022 in the wake of a pandemic that has kept loved ones apart. The term “family travelers” doesn’t just refer to couples or single parents with children. It also includes those traveling with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.
Family trips are usually heavy on plans and structure and tend to have stricter budgets, so there's a high expectation of value for the dollar. Because these groups have people of varying ages, activity preferences can be scattered, leading to a strong desire for a wide array of options that generally aren’t too far from each other.
In order to appeal to the different generations within the group, it's important to offer a variety of services and activities that are family-friendly. This could mean offering discounted prices to local attractions such as zoos, aquariums, or amusement parks.
Additionally, be prepared to offer onsite services and amenities such as pools, spas and babysitting, the last of which offers parents a needed break from entertaining the kids. Consider also hosting family-friendly activities such as game nights, trivia events, or kids’ clubs which help create a fun environment for whole families to relax in without the trouble and expense of going out to find alternative entertainment.
You may also want to make sure the rooms are stocked with things kids would like such as games, fun snacks, and books so that even their in-room experiences are elevated. It is certainly worth highlighting that your lodging is family-friendly in any marketing materials if this is the type of crowd your property is looking to attract.
Conventional vacationers are travelers that usually only venture out about once or twice a year, the frequency often depending on how much vacation time is permitted by their jobs. They don't typically travel alone, but instead with friends, family, or a partner. Usually this type of hotel guest has a decent amount of money they've saved for the trip, but because they don't travel often, they're more selective about how they spend it, usually having some type of plan in mind upon arrival.
While it's possible that conventional vacationers may plan a return trip to a destination, it's not typical. This generally means, wherever they are staying, these types of hotel guests try to hit as many sites and attractions as possible. To get the most value from both their time and money, they tend to like guided tours and group excursions. They want to be able to do and see as much as possible, but also want to relax so that their time away is a break from their typical busy lives.
It’s a good idea to maintain a list of recommendations or maps highlighting the big tourist sites and favorite local spots in your area for your guests.. You may also want to provide your vacation travelers with tips on how to save money or find shortcuts to the destinations they're looking forward to exploring most. Because they value experiences so much, providing them with these kinds of recommendations on sites and excursions outside of the hotel will win you a lot of points with these guests.
Make sure to also highlight pertinent information about the property, such as "20 minutes from the airport," "close to city center", "quick drive to main attractions." This information is critical to experience-focused guests with tight agendas.
Those who travel for the sake of health and wellness may choose to stay in a location that will aid in detoxification, meditation, healthy-eating, and/or physical fitness. Usually these types of hotel guests travel alone, but may desire to meet up with a community of people who are seeking the same things they are.
Because there are different types of health and wellness travelers with different goals and approaches to health, they can expect different things. A guest on a yoga retreat, for example, may seek alleviation of stress and mental health benefits and would expect a quiet environment in which to practice yoga, while someone on a weight loss journey may expect a well-equipped fitness room, nearby walking trails, and healthy food options.
To best accommodate those seeking health and wellness, you should be prepared with a variety of offerings. Wellness travelers frequently stay at places that are specifically designed to help them achieve their health objectives such as lodgings with active wellness programs, vegan meal options, workout facilities, a meditation space, or a spa center. Connections with local fitness and yoga studios are also helpful. Offering bikes, cross country skis, or snowshoes can also be attractive, as are directions to nearby hiking or walking trails. Anything you can offer that will aid in their journey to wellness, no matter what it is, will increase business from health and wellness travelers.
Those born between 1946 and 1964 are considered "baby boomers" and are now at, or reaching the age of retirement. Now that they have the time, many want to travel. Those in this category are usually willing to spend more money than the typical guest and usually travel as couples or as groups without young children.
Boomers typically want an authentic experience with local people and attractions. They want to eat good food in an appealing atmosphere, but also aim for relaxation during their stay and often seek accessibility, ease and comfort.
Arrange for locals to lead sightseeing tours and work with restaurants to provide special dining experiences unique to your location. Also, be sure to highlight your on-site features that promote rest and relaxation, such as the pool or spa, and find ways to have guests earn extra points in your loyalty program that will lead to additional nights of stay or special privileges.
A millennial is someone who was born between the years 1980 and 1995, and in the U.S alone, there are around 80 million. Because of their work schedules, they often take shorter vacations or "micro-cations" which may translate to multiple trips in any given year instead of a single longer one. Millennials typically do not travel alone, but as a couple, with a group of peers, or with their children.
Many millennials are looking for new experiences when they travel. They look for relaxation as well, but having an authentic experience and getting to see it firsthand is the most important aspect of a trip for this type of hotel guest.
While the hotel itself is very important, the destination is key for millennial travelers and should therefore be mentioned at every opportunity in your marketing materials. Due to the brief duration of these guests' travels, make sure to highlight things that can be covered in a shorter time frame.
Make sure your social media and website are up-to-date, easy-to-use, and visually appealing. Your team should post interesting updates, such as any fun events planned for the hotel or surrounding area, regularly. Millennials frequently use their mobile devices to research all kinds of products and services, so a user-friendly, appealing online experience and presence is very important to these guests.
People born between 1996 and the mid 2000s are those considered part of Gen Z. Worldwide this group includes about 30 percent of the population, so they are a critically important segment of travelers to market to. Many are either in a gap year before they begin college or work, on break from college, or recently graduated.
This type of traveler is a bit more budget-conscious, because most are still students not currently making a lot of money. Certain amenities are very important to them such as fast WiFi, laundry services, and high-quality food. They look for attractive architecture and furnishings that are comfortable. Connecting with others and socializing in general are of prime importance to Gen Z travelers, so they expect lodgings that will foster those social opportunities.
Because they're often traveling on a budget, offering a more affordable room that's still comfortable, and features things like fast WiFi, can appeal directly to Gen Z hotel guests. Offering a cocktail hour at your hotel could also give these travelers a place to socialize cheaply. They may also be quite inexperienced as travelers and will appreciate tips on transportation and safety protocols in your area.
Most people in this generation have an online presence and are experienced with technology, so make sure your website is user-friendly and attractively designed, and consider offering services such as contactless check-in. A good social media presence is also key, as many members of Gen Z look to Instagram or TikTok instead of a website to scout out potential lodging. Consider reaching out to online influencers who can promote your hotel. This may introduce you to a lot of potential customers who may have never heard of your property before.
Business travelers are — not so surprisingly — busy. While they may want to enjoy the location they find themselves in, they usually have little time to do so because their main focus is their job. Also, due to the fact that the traveler is generally not the one paying for their stay (the bill goes to their company), they often operate on a relatively tight budget.
Business travelers aren't there to see the sights, but they will be looking for nice restaurants and coffee shops to take a break in between working hours. When they do have downtime, the business traveler wants a smooth transition from work to pleasure, as their time is minimal and their work schedule is tight.
Business guests appreciate amenities such as business centers and co-working spaces.
They also appreciate hotel rooms that include fast WiFi, multiple charging stations, and extra cables so that working from the comfort of their own room is both possible and convenient. Having laundry facilities on site will also be a huge bonus for these travelers who may lack time to get their clothes cleaned and pressed between meetings. Be sure to point to these kind of amenities in any promotional materials you put in front of potential guests.
With the rise of technology comes the rise of digital workers — those who can telecommute to work from any location as long as they have a computer and internet access. Because they aren't forced to be in a particular space to do their work, they're able to travel more frequently. They could be entrepreneurs or work for a corporation, but either way, they rarely travel in large groups.
Because of the nature of their employment, internet access is a critical priority. WiFi that is unreliable or sluggish could definitely mean losing digital nomads as guests in your hotel. They also want a versatile environment that they can use for both work and leisure.
The sense of community is incredibly important to digital nomads. They want to be around other like-minded individuals in a welcoming setting rather than spend all their time holed up in a hotel room. This sort of visitor is the driving force behind the fusion of hostels and hotels, which provide a communal feel, flexible public spaces, and pleasant individual rooms. To attract digital workers, make sure your hotel offers these kinds of spaces.
If you can't offer that type of community within your hotel, make sure to provide a list of recommendations for local coffee shops or other places where business people tend to hang out.
The backpacker is one who travels with minimal luggage and tends to require less of their accommodations. They are typically more price conscious and willing to sacrifice certain comforts in order to keep the bill on the lower side, often taking multiple trips a year to many different destinations.
These visitors want to view their location through the eyes of a native. They want to try real cuisine, stay in local communities, and go out at night. Backpackers may keep themselves occupied while traveling in order to take in as much local culture as possible or can be very social and look for like-minded others with whom they can connect.
Offering cheaper accommodation options could make all the difference for this type of hotel guest as they are looking to spend a minimal amount of money. Providing a lot of guides and maps that describe local sites and trails is also important to backpackers and you should be sure to make it known to guests that these are available at the hotel. While these visitors will have a broad idea of what they want to accomplish, they most likely will not have meticulously planned their vacation and will appreciate any insider knowledge you can provide.
These types of travelers expect high-quality service and are willing to spend more money in order to get it. For luxury travelers, the most important thing is comfort, and they often do ample research in advance before selecting a property at which to stay. This type of hotel guest tends to be older, with 44 percent being between the ages of 49-67, and many are married.
Luxury travelers expect everything to be top-of-the-line — impeccable service, high-end facilities, and meticulous attention to detail are all important for this type of guest. Amenities such as a hotel restaurant, spa treatments, a hotel bar, and more are all expected. Off property, luxury travelers want unique access to special events as well as exclusive excursions to renowned tourist spots.
Exceptional service from your hotel staff and a willingness to go above and beyond are required, as is a sharp awareness of what guests want before they even ask. Learn about your guests' likes, dislikes, dining preferences, and activities before they ever step onto the property and then personalize their experiences accordingly. Tours and other experiences should also be personalized and, preferably, private.
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