Mapping out consumer behaviour and personas is the only way for hotels to gain some semblance of control over the volume of customers booking stays at their property.
Demographics and personalities both play a major part in a traveller’s buying decision.
Customer-focused thinking and research will allow a hotel to curate the personalised experiences that all modern customers want.
There is a huge range of defining characteristics that may influence a guest’s persona and hotels need to think about these specifically to create a strong direct booking strategy.
TripAdvisor recently published its TripBarometer report and discovered four booking behaviours and six buyer personas that hotels can analyse to craft strategies and narrow down their target market.
These four types of travel bookers give hotels more chance of securing those valuable direct bookings:
1. Flight bookers
48% of respondents fell into the category of people who book their flight and destination before anything else. They are destination-oriented and enjoy taking longer vacations that focus on exploring new cultures. As a result, their flights are often more expensive which means they want to book them first and further in advance.
2. Hotel bookers
This category made up 29% of responses. They begin by researching and booking accommodation. They are more concerned by price and usually look for more family friendly holidays that are shorter in duration.
These travellers make up 13% of the data and tend to spend little time on research, making quick decisions to book. It’s quite common for them to be business travellers or people who visit similar destinations regularly.
4. Balanced bookers
Finally, 10% of travellers are people who invest a good amount of time in research so they can balance their desires. They want to experience new cultures but they also want the best travel deals possible.
Within these four broad booking behaviours TripAdvisor posits that these six buyer personas exist, based on attitude, booking preference, age, and income:
1. Value Seekers
Want to get the best out of their trip. Often travelling with young children, they have a medium income and largely fall between the ages of 25-34. They rely heavily on reviews to help them find what they need, preferably a trip near the beach, and usually research on a smartphone.
2. Luxury Travellers
Are focused on enjoyment and willing to spend more to obtain it. They often travel in a couple aged 25-49. They seek cities that are hot and coastal and tend to look closely at online reviews.
3. Social Travellers
Focus on sharing and engaging with others, usually travelling in friend or family groups. Their groups often include children so they appreciate babysitting and child services. While they have high to medium income they put a lot of faith in word of mouth and recommendations from other travellers. They tend to fall in the 25-49 age group.
4. Independent Travellers
Like to have a lot of control over their trip and thus love to travel solo looking for adventure and cultural experience over any particular climate. They’re usually low or high earners who are relatively young and quite likely to share reviews and engage with social media.
Maintain a very particular approach to booking their trips. They want to make sure their experience is as good as it possibly could be. They not only thoroughly research their destination and accommodation but also restaurants and activities. Given this, a lot of it is done on laptop devices. They’re commonly higher earners travelling as a couple aged 25-49. Each stage of the journey is usually backed up listening to the voice of other consumers through sites like TripAdvisor.
6. Habitual Travellers
Look for simplicity and convenience by travelling to the same destinations repeatedly. They place more stock in relaxation than activities and are commonly in the 35-64 age bracket. Mostly male, they tend to be lower income travellers.
With this information, hotels can begin to craft their own guest personas and do more research into who they can and should be targeting to book at their property.
Every hotel will have different priorities and focuses and they should note it’s impossible to please everyone; there is no blanket strategy.
Every decision should be shaped by the characteristics of your hotel and it’s management plan.