Your hotel target market is one of the most effective ways of growing your business. If you’re interested in finding more prospects who will fall in love with your business, you’ll first need to get to know who you’re attracting and why. With this information, you’ll be well on your way to figuring out your ideal target market.
From there the sky’s the limit really! You can use your research to improve marketing, book more rooms, and get an edge on the competition. But first, let’s get on the same page about what a target market really is and why every hotel needs to have one.
Hotel target market definition
Before we can learn how to find better, more qualified hotel prospects, we need to explore what a hotel target market really is. You may have heard this marketing term before but not in the context of how it applies to hotel groups. Here are some industry specific answers to the question.
What is a hotel target market?
A target market is a group of people who share similar wants and needs. They might even share similar demographics like median age, race, or income level. Target markets are often sub groups that businesses try to appeal to in marketing and sales since they are the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
A hotel target market refers to the specific type of people or groups who you already to a lot of business with. Or maybe they’re a type of customer you’d like to attract more of. Either way, every hotel must align their marketing and sales efforts if they want to attract and book more of these ideal guests.
What is hotel target market segmentation?
In a nutshell, hotel market segmentation is a way of dividing potential guests into groups based on a set of shared characteristics. General marketing strategies will point to age, race, income, and general personality traits when creating these groups. For hotel marketing, segmentation is often prioritized by a particular group’s likelihood of booking.
There are some common types of hotel target market segmentation. But industry research and historical sales data are also great ways to discover target audience profiles that are unique to your business.
What are the benefits of market segmentation?
Overall, the main benefit of creating and targeting groups of prospects has to do with specificity. The more specific you can be with your market segmentation, the easier it is to find more high paying customers who will rave about your hotel. Once you know who you’re trying to reach you can focus your marketing and sales efforts on appealing to these groups.
The alternative is to engage the general public in the hopes that they’ll want to stay at your hotel at some point. And while you may get some bites from this approach it’s ultimately not a sustainable long term strategy.
Instead, it’s wiser to find a few groups with potentially high ROI because:
- Marketing and sales efforts with be both more profitable and easier to measure.
- You’ll be able to invest in highly valued features, deals, and upgrades you already know guests will love.
- You’ll attract more guests and increase per customer revenue.
As you can tell, there is a lot to be gained from segmenting your pool of potential guests. If you’re wondering where to get started, you can begin by organizing your list into some tried and true hotel target market segmentation groups.
What are some main types of hotel target market segmentation?
Unlike most other industries, hotels are defined by each of the following segmentation types. These details combine to create a great outline for your ideal target market.
If any of the following areas seem out of place compared to the others, you can easily spot the weakness and make adjustments where necessary so everything works together as one cohesive guest experience for your target audience.
- Location. Is your hotel in a big city or a rural town? By the beach or land locked? Walking distance from an amusement park or a popular conference center?
- Size. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a boutique bed & breakfast or part of a name brand hotel chain, as long as you understand why someone would prefer staying at a place with your max capacity.
- Preferred Amenities. We all know that person who refuses to book a hotel if they don’t have a hot tub. Even if it’s in the middle of the desert. During a heat wave. Certain groups of people are going to have amenity preferences. Once you define your target market you can work to add whatever is missing.
- Traveler Type. A business professional has different interests than a family of five with young children. Knowing which type of traveler your hotel currently attracts is yet another clue into who your target market is or should be.
Every hotel offers a unique combination of characteristics. So while these categories are a good starting point, you’ll need to do a little more digging to understand exactly who frequents your hotel now and who you’d like to do more business with in the future.
7 ways to identify your target market
It’s time to get your hands dirty with a little active market research. Here are some cost effective ways to uncover and define your hotel’s target market.
1. Survey your customers
Surveys help you get information straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. An easy way to get consumer feedback, surveys offer a glimpse into the psyche of current guests. Having this information will help you define what kinds of people or groups currently stay at your hotel. Once you have that, you can figure out what attracted them to your business in the first place just by asking.
You can automatically survey guests using SMS texting, email, or verbally by integrating it with your check out process. The key is to make it short and sweet. Anything more than five questions is overkill and easily ignored.
Popular target market survey questions include:
- How did you hear about us?
- What did you enjoy most about your stay?
- Which of the following most influenced your decision to book with us?
- Would you recommend our hotel to a friend?
- What was the purpose of your most recent visit?
These and other thought provoking questions should come with a set of multiple choice answer and an “other” section with space to leave a comment. Keep track of this info and use it to further define your hotel’s personal target market or markets.
2. Enable customers to create profiles
This is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book for good reason. Creating a fake profile of a person who is most likely to stay at your hotel is both a creative and effective tool for understanding your target market. It also presents a visual to help sales and marketing get a better idea of who they should be aiming to please. Outline who they are, what they’re like, their occupation, and anything else you deem relevant.
3. Imagine your audience’s point of view
We touched on this a little bit earlier when we mentioned traveler type. But understanding target market demographics is about more than just listing education levels and hobbies. It’s about going one step further and getting into the heads of the people you’d most like to have stay at your hotel.
For example, let’s say your hotel is fairly small and located in a popular area where travelers have many options for lodging all year round. If you’ve come to the conclusion that your target market includes traditional families with only one or two young children you now have some choices to make.
First, what personal touches will you add to your hotel to make it the obvious choice for new parents? Things like relaxing and private breast feeding stations in the lobby could be the tipping point for many potential guests who fit these demographics.
The point is to do more than just define demographics – use them to anticipate your guests’ every little need.
4. See what online reviews say
Not all online reviews are created equally. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still uncover a few hidden gems in your Yelp or TripAdvisor ratings. Guests will often elaborate on why they were staying at your hotel, what they expected to experience, and what they loved the most about your location. It’s all there, you just need to take the time to look for it.
Add these details to your notes and check back for new reviews at regular intervals to get a better understanding of what your guests need and want.
5. Understand website visitors’ demographics and more using Google Analytics
Google Analytics is free to use and offers some incredible information. This tool can show you who visits your site, where each site visitor is located, what they click on, how long they stayed on each page, and so on.
Basically there is a lot of useful data here. It takes a little getting used to but once you get the hang of interpreting the facts and figures you’ll get a better idea of who you’re attracting to your website and whether or not they fit your most ideal target market.
6. Use Sales & CRM software to track your customer interactions
Again, when it comes to finding your hotel target market, data is your best friend. And no one knows your hotel’s history like a great sales and CRM software.
Quality programs like Social Tables offer easy-to-learn systems for capturing and assessing sales data. That data is then turned into customizable visual reports. So a hotel sales & CRM software can help you get a better idea of who your target market is but it will also let you gain visibility into every stage of your sales pipeline. Talk about a win-win!
7. Seek out opinions being shared on social media
Social media helps gather target market information the same way online reviews do. People love sharing their opinions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Plus each website offers its own insights tools and opportunities for honest feedback. Mine your social profiles for market research gold then use your newfound knowledge to make your content even more appealing to your target market.
Main takeaways: targeted guest marketing
At the end of the day, finding your most lucrative prospects is all about having the right information and using it wisely. Here are some things to keep in mind as you discover your unique hotel target market:
- Specificity is power. The more you learn about who your guests are the better you can service the needs of future guests and attract similar clientele.
- You already have everything you need. The tools you already use every day can help you better understand your target audience.
- Defining your hotel target markets make marketing and sales easier. Stop spinning your wheels with broad campaigns and start becoming hyper aware of who each piece of content is really for. You’ll see better results faster with this method.
No matter how you define your target market, make sure you have access to all the data you need. The more detailed, the better. With the right information, you really can’t go wrong! After you know who to target, get started with 25 of the most powerful hotel marketing ideas to book more events.