How can you attract more guests? Better yet, how can you attract and cater to the right guests? If your hotel is located in an attractive tourist destination, you’ll naturally want to cater to tourist groups. But, as you start those efforts, should you be working to attract young adults on solo trips, big groups, families, or all of the above?
Understanding your audience and their priorities for their stays will help you in determining where to spend your budget on upgrades to your hotel, marketing campaigns, and other efforts to cater to your target guests. Let’s explore a few of the types of guests you might want to attract and what they’re looking for when they stay with you.
The Traditional Tourist
If your hotel is in a prime location for tourism, you probably get a significant number of bookings from traditional tourists. These vacationers tend to opt for beaches, mountains, big cities with lots to see and do, and other key destinations. They aren’t usually traveling alone, but they aren’t necessarily traveling with family either. While some traditional tourists overlap with family travelers (which we’ll discuss later), many take trips with their significant other, close friends, or extended family. Thus, there are some key differences in how you can cater to tourists versus family travelers.
If you’re catering to traditional tourists, remember that your hotel isn’t their actual destination. They’re staying with you because your hotel is convenient to the places they want to see and the things they want to do. With that in mind, you can cater to these tourists by focusing on those destinations.
Be a font of local knowledge. Be sure to offer accessible info about local destinations and tours, as well as places to eat and other must-see attractions. You can provide these on your website, in pre-stay communications, and in printed materials available at the front desk or near the lobby entrance. You may also want to reach out to local theaters, amusement parks, and other big destinations in your area. Find out if you can collaborate with them to offer your guests discounts or special offers. By focusing on where your guests want to be, you can get a lot of ideas to make your hotel their top choice for their next vacation.
Millennials and Gen Z Travelers
While some people still refer to young teens and college kids as “millennials,” the truth is, millennials are now reaching their late 30s and early 40s. And generation Z is coming up right behind them. These younger travelers have a slightly different outlook on life and vacations than previous generations, but they’re making up a larger and larger segment of the traveling population. So, how can you cater to the next generation of guests?
First, embrace high-tech amenities. While elder millennials still remember the days of dial-up, younger millennials and gen Z travelers are technology natives. They’ve grown up with the internet in their pockets, online check-ins for flights, and streaming digital services. To make these young travelers feel at home, you’ll want to ensure that you’re up to date on all the latest digital offerings, including updates like digital keys, touch-free check-ins, and smart TVs with access to Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services in every room. And you may also want to consider an SMS option for reaching the front desk. Anyone under 40 will tell you that they always prefer texting over calling.
Of course, including these amenities in your hotel is great, but how do you let younger travelers know that your hotel is the place to stay? They aren’t likely to pay much attention to billboards or TV ads, but you can often catch them on social media. We recommend investing in your presence on Instagram, as it’s one of the most popular platforms for guests in this age range. As you develop ads, stories, and posts, be sure to highlight your hotel’s best features – including those high-tech updates and helpful info about the surrounding area and attractions.
People traveling for work generally won’t care much about amusement parks, hiking day trips, and other local attractions. If they’re working nearby or attending a business conference, most of their time will be taken up with meetings and networking events. If your hotel hosts conferences or you’re located in a district that’s a destination for business travelers, you can attract more guests by catering to the things they care about most, including:
- In-room amenities
- Convenient restaurants
- Office accommodations
Along with adding the details that attract business travelers, you can also reach out to businesses near your hotel. If they often have employees flying in to work in your area, you may want to consider offering a corporate discount in exchange for referring their employees to your hotel for their stays.
Business guests are generally experienced travelers who prefer to skip the front desk and go straight to their rooms. Including mobile check-ins and digital key services can go a long way to making your hotel a top choice for these seasoned travelers.
As we mentioned earlier, there is some overlap between a few of these types of travelers – and that’s definitely the case for families. While some family travelers will be seeking the same amenities and destinations as traditional tourists, others will have somewhat different priorities, especially younger families.
For example, you may be more likely to see millennial parents traveling with their young children than baby boomers traveling with their adult children. So, if you’re looking to attract more families to your hotel, you’ll want to ensure that you have all the amenities that younger travelers enjoy, plus a family-friendly focus. A few key value-adds could include:
- In-room babysitting services (or referrals to reputable local childcare)
- Kid-friendly entertainment options (books, toys, TV channels, etc.)
- A kids’ section in your hotel pool
- Lots of info on nearby family-friendly destinations
Remote jobs are on the rise, and many people are taking advantage of flexible work hours and spaces to travel. Instead of working from home, they work from the road or wherever they happen to be. So, how can you attract this kind of nomadic worker?
Offer an attractive place to work and play. Key features that this type of travel look for include reliable Wi-Fi with plenty of bandwidth and welcoming communal lounge and dining areas. But, while you want to let these travelers know that you have these amenities, don’t spend too much time or effort on advertising your hotel itself. Instead, focus on what attracts travelers to your area.
Is your hotel adjacent to gorgeous beaches? Are you walking distance from Times Square or the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco? Keep these attractions front and center in your hotel’s marketing and communications, and be sure to provide plenty of insightful info on nearby sights that a traveling worker would love to see when they clock out for the day.
One more type of traveler that you might want to attract is the luxury seeker. This traveler may be on their own, or they may be traveling with a significant other or a small group of friends. They’re less likely to be traveling with family, but some families do fall in this category, as well.
The luxury seeker wants an exclusive experience with all of the perks. They want executive suites, five-star room service, spa treatments, and top-notch service at their fingertips. In short, they want you to anticipate their every want and need.
This type of traveler is naturally your top target audience if your hotel is a luxury brand. Keep advertisements sleek and stylish, but be sure to include information on all of your exclusive amenities and services. Always highlight your world-class services, and ensure that you have trained staff on site at all times to take care of your guests’ every wish.
In Conclusion: Always Know Your Audience
Whichever types of guests you want to attract, always consider their priorities and preferences. Whether you’re launching a new marketing campaign or you’re considering tech upgrades like digital keys and in-room smart TVS, you can use this guide to build guest personas for your target audiences. And remember, always consider what matters most to your guests and how you can best fulfill their wishes. That’s the real key to catering to all types of guests for any hotel.
Want to learn more about how Digital Keys can help you better serve your guests? OpenKey is the leading provider of digital key services. Schedule a demo today to see how you can do more for your guests with Digital Keys