You need a clear understanding of the demands and needs of your current, potential and target guests.
You can then deliver the right message to them in a way that meets their demands and needs, and at a time when they are receptive to it.
You want every luxury guest to be your guest.
Creating a hotel guest persona strategy is an essential pre-marketing task as it helps you to clarify what to share and the best point in the sales cycle to share it.
Doing this will help to maximise the revenue from each guest.
What is a hotel guest persona?
A guest persona is a fictional person who feeds into one of your target audiences or market segments and who is likely to visit your website and book a stay at your hotel. Creating guest persona is based on raw, real data that you've turned to your advantage.
Why does your hotel need to create guest personas?
Guests need personalised experiences based on their interests and preferences.
It is impossible if you don't have the persona to understand your audience.
For example, you wouldn’t offer the same upsells to a family on holiday as to a business traveler with a stay booked by their company.
You need to understand what experiences make your guest tick, what motivates them and what they are looking for in your recommendations.
How to create hotel guest personas?
You need to check all your data sources to collect information.
It’s a great opportunity to ask for insights from all your customer facing staff, group planner and audit your guest reviews.
Then gather your data together under memorable titles e.g. Staycation Stacy, Rory Retiree, Brenda Business, William Weekend and add it in defined areas common to each persona.
- Who are they?
- How do they book?
- What are they looking for in their stay?
- How much will they spend?
- How are they travelling?
Sharing these across all your team in the hotel will enable them to make differentiated and appropriate upsells and cross sells to each persona.
Data sources include:
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics gives you a wealth of information about your website users' interests, needs and desires to help you better find out who they are.
It helps you to understand:
- how guests find your website or what sources lead them to you.
- which demographics tend to visit your hotel.
- which referrer links result in the most bookings with a given demographic.
Demographic reports help you identify important insights such as age, location, gender, and device used for the users who are engaged with your website.
Interest reports will help you to identify complementary areas of interest by providing users affinity categories and showing common interests of your users based on their browsing activity across the Google display network.
2. Social media analytics
Via your social media analytics you have a good demographic overview which you can compare with the insights you have gathered from your Google Analytics.
Most social platforms let you look at your audience’s age information, gender and location.
This gives you an idea of the types of guests that you might want to add into your personas.
3. CRM data analysis
An analysis of your sales CRM will give you a wide range of information about what type of groups stay at your property.
Try to be specific. For example ‘leisure’ or ‘business’ is too broad. Depending on your hotel’s location that could be nearly all your guests.
Leisure might break down into local staycations (won’t eat in every night) or couples treating themselves (willing to splash out on F&B).
Business could be a traveler passing through who just a wants bed to sleep in (not much opportunity for upsells) or a a conference group staying for several nights (might dine in the hotel if you offer a private room and special menu).
4. Human insights include
- Staff insights. Your staff, particularly on reception, are communicating with guests every day; they are a tremendous source of information to enhance your hotel guest personas.
- Guest reviews. Guest reviews are an excellent source of information on your client’s motivations and frustrations. Look for emotionally loaded phrases especially the negative reviews because they point out specific things that the guest had hoped for, wanted to avoid or wished had happened.
- Group planners. Event planners and other group organizers can answer specific questions about why they choose your property. Include as a part of your group sales process and feedback sessions and they will be able to give great answers.
When you gather the information and define your personas, you are starting to take ownership of your guests.
You begin to understand what they do and don’t want, their booking behaviour and get an idea of their economic demographic.
This enables you to adjust your sales process for each persona so that it is coherent with the customer journey; not only does it make a booking much more likely, it will create goodwill and loyalty.
Furthermore, once they are staying in the hotel you will make more revenue from them as the packages your team create for each persona will resonate with them.