Today's forward-thinking marketers are carefully curating a personalised experience for travel customers. Yet all too often, hoteliers and marketers are lumping them all together - merging all guests into a single archetype - and missing opportunities to increase customer loyalty and revenue.
All guests simply aren't equal, says travel intelligence site Skift. Marketers need to create better experiences on a more personal level, and the way to do that is through targeted guest marketing - strategically grouping and predicting the needs of travellers.
Making the effort to get acquainted with the innumerable characteristics which make up a customer's persona will afford marketers invaluable insight into how the guest's journey might take place, says the article.
Take the business traveller, for example: a jetsetter, always on the go looking to close the next big deal. It's a hotelier's job to ensure that this customer can continue to do what he, or she, does best - negotiating great deals.
So a personalised offering from a hotel might look like this: a pre-arrival email alerting the guest to the hotel's mobile app, which offers all hotel services at the guest's fingertips; an introduction to the hotel's business centre, with the option of upgraded Wi-Fi; information about the hotel's pickup dry-cleaning service; and a list of the highest-rated restaurants and activities in the area in case the business traveller wants to entertain clients.
Then of course there's the leisure traveller - for this guest the priority is to leave their cares behind them. They want to explore and relax with their friends and/or family. If it's a family of four, marketers might send a pre-arrival email about a local street fair with lots of family activities. Another message might tell them about the hotel's restaurant and all the amazing meals the kids can enjoy there. Or a live band might be right up this traveller's street.
And group travellers - by their very nature, the most difficult segment to personalise. Trying to appeal to more people is certainly more difficult, says Skift, but the right tools and targeting will help hotels create custom experiences that are tailored to the audience.
Like a wedding party: start by sending out an email to guests with details of the time and venue. And a special message of congratulations to the bride and groom will be welcomed. Add a little humour; for the twenty- and thirty-somethings in the party send an email the next morning with a list of local hangover-friendly brunch restaurants.
Even follow it up with an email such as: "Anyone else thinking about getting hitched? We'd love to host your wedding as well!"
Touches like these bring hotels the opportunity to create a long-term relationship with customers.
As customers increasingly expect tailored services, the hotels and travel marketers employing targeted guest marketing will be the ones that stay ahead of the game.