“By using so-called marketing personas, hoteliers can be more strategic in catering to each specific audience, internalize the guest that they are trying to attract, and relate to them as human beings.” – The Crux Team 

No matter what type of accommodation you provide or even where your accommodation is, chances are you’ve met a wide variety of travelers with an even wider range of wants and needs that can be a challenge to effectively manage.  

Catering to the needs of different customers doesn’t have to be complicated — as long as you base your decisions on consumer behavior trends and statistical data. 

Below we define the 12 guest types and give you top tips about how you can provide them with the best possible experience based on simple market analyses and accessible industry data. 

In other words: How to identify your guest’s key personas, create tailor-made offerings based on their different and distinct needs, and as a result, have happier guests who see a larger perceived value to your offering, and in turn, don’t mind spending that little bit more for it. 

1. Family Travelers

Large groups of intergenerational travelers often like to spend time in child-friendly locations (such as vacation rentals or independent hotels) and typically come prepared with a strict schedule and budget for logistical purposes. 

Make their stay a smooth one by ensuring they have access to large amounts of information specifically regarding; kid-friendly attractions, restaurants, and even babysitting services, to ensure that every member of the family can have an enjoyable and relaxing vacation.

Top Tips:

  • Have multiple kid-friendly activity suggestions with all necessary information on hand
  • Offer activities that provide maximum value for money (families travel on tight budgets)
  • Highlight how child-safe your property is as often as possible

According to the last Consumer Family Travel Survey done by Access Development, 77% of families said the most important factor in deciding on their holiday is getting the best value for their budget.

2. Affluent Travelers

Affluent travelers value high-quality service, comfort, and unforgettable experiences. 44% of these guests are between 49-67 years of age, 82% are married and all of them are looking for top-class, exceptional stays in luxurious venues. 

If you’re able to provide affluent travelers with five-star service and connect them with unforgettable experiences, they’ll gladly pay top dollar.

Top Tips:

  • Personalization. Make sure you go above and beyond to find out what these guests expect, what they like, and what their favorite drinks and food are. Then provide them with it
  • Tours and experiences need to be customized to their specific needs and, preferably, private
  • Wow, factor! Give them a true, one-of-a-kind experience, that they can share with family and friends 

According to Conell University and the IpsosConnect Affluent Traveler Segmentation White Paper, luxury consumers are moving away from spending on things and are moving more and more towards spending on experiential, with the travel industry benefiting greatly from this trend. 

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3. Voluntourism

Voluntours make giving back to the community an essential part of their travel, allowing them to experience local cultures while also making a difference. 

A voluntourism trip is about community service so, most of these guests are less focused on amenities and luxury and more focused on immersing themselves in the local culture. 

Top Tips:

  • Promote community projects to guests and encourage them to get out into the local community and support them 
  • Some hotels offer cut-price rooms in the off-season for volunteers who are working on local projects
  • Create sustainable projects that truly offer benefit to both the guests undertaking the experience and the environment

“Vacations, where tourists are able to learn a new skill or participate in meaningful projects, constitute one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors in the world,” says Ashleigh Dunn, Hospitality Manager for Thanda Safari.

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4. Wellness Seekers

Wellness seekers often travel alone en route to activities such as yoga retreats or fitness classes. Because these travelers are focused on improving their mental and physical well-being, they prioritize amenities such as healthy food and the ability to exercise. 

Providing access to a workout center is just as important as offering guests a quiet place to reflect or giving guidance about the best ways they can achieve their wellness goals during their stay. 

Top Tips: 

  • Offer wellness seekers activities such as yoga, spa treatments, fitness classes, outdoor hikes, and therapy sessions
  • Health-conscious menu options and/or suggestions are vital to wellness travelers. Healthy menu choices include options such as vegetarian and vegan dishes as well as fruit platters and smoothies  
  • Have recommendations for local farmers markets, health shops, and yoga centers readily available

According to the Global Wellness Institute, “wellness” is a USD$3.72 trillion global industry encompassing preventative and personalized medicine, beauty, anti-aging, healthy eating, nutrition, weight loss, spas, fitness, mind and body, workplace wellness, and much more.

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5.Boomer Travelers

Retired Boomers often travel without children but with a large budget, and they typically prefer accessible spaces and tours that provide them with exposure to popular tourist spots. 

Because Boomers value comfort and accessibility, you can get results by putting in a little extra work to impress them by printing out maps and information and providing recommendations for comfortable local tours. With Boomers increasingly turning to travel as they retire, knowing what Boomers value and how to deliver it, is the key to capturing this market.

Top Tips: 

  • Provide printed materials, maps, brochures, guides, etc. 
  • Maximize the accessibility of your property and tours
  • Make recommendations that are not strenuous. i.e. walking tours, bus tours, cooking and craft activities

According to a Boomer Travel Trends report by AARP Boomers continue to be avid travelers, planning to take a total of 4-5 leisure trips, on which they will spend over USD$6,600 on average.

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6. LGBT Travelers

The LGBT travel market’s annual spend now exceeds USD$218 billion and, with the gradual removal of anti-gay laws in more and more countries, this market is expected to keep growing year on year.  

As an accommodation provider, demonstrating that you are gay-friendly and have a good reputation in the international lesbian, gay and bisexual community is key to attracting more LGBT guests. 

Top Tips:

  • Align your business with other LGBT friendly businesses nearby to improve your products, services, and reputation 
  • Encourage LGBT guests to write reviews or stories about your property. LGBT tourists prioritize reviews and recommendations by other members of the LGBT community
  • Have a marketing presence throughout the year, not only in high season
  • Go visit an LGBT event or festival near you to get to know potential guests and promote your business

All destinations surveyed by the World Tourism Organization emphasized that the tourism sector as a whole benefits when a destination is regarded as being open, tolerant, and welcoming to all visitors.

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7. Business Travelers

Business travelers may have tight schedules and value efficiency above all else — but they also have strong brand loyalty and want to enjoy the area in which they’re staying. 

Win over busy business travelers by offering plenty of amenities, such as fast Wi-Fi, spare cables, charges, and laundry options, as well as by providing recommendations of good restaurants and nightlife. If you can provide a business traveler with a top-notch experience, they are likely to ensure that they, and their colleagues return.

Top Tips:

  • Focus on efficiency, the more services you can offer them via an app, like Voyager, the better
  • Make restaurant suggestions that offer great food and have friendly staff. A professional atmosphere during the day and a more vibey atmosphere at night is also preferable  
  • Offer private meeting rooms for confidential or private meetings. 

According to the Global Business Travel Association, annual business travel costs are expected to amount to USD$1.7 trillion by 2022, and almost 10% of all business trips can be categorized as “bleisure” trips.

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8. Vacationers

Vacationers typically save quite a bit of money throughout the year and only travel once or twice per year depending on how much leave they have. They also do a lot of research and have a very clear plan about what they want to do and see. 

It is very rare for vacationers to travel solo and most often they travel with friends and family. Ideally, vacationers want a balance between site-seeing and downtime. Helping them to achieve this balance is the sweet spot hoteliers need to hit. 

Top Tips:

  • Provide expert insider tips (meals, sights, tours, crafts, etc.) that aren’t easily found on the internet
  • Talk to them and make suggestions about how to save money, reduce travel time and optimize their sightseeing and leisure time
  • Their focus is on experiences. Suggest tour guides that you know as a fact provide top quality experiences for guests 

In a report drawn up by BuildUp Bookings, they found that 68% of vacationers turn to the internet for their travel information. An up-to-date website, with a modern Online Booking Engine, should be the top priority for accommodation providers.

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9. Backpackers 

Known for their adventurous attitudes and price-conscious sensibilities, backpackers like to travel to multiple different locations within a given year, where they try to experience local life. 

Give backpackers the stability they need (i.e. a safe place to store their bags) coupled with the adventure they crave. Provide recommendations for adventurous activities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences and they’ll happily sing your praises to their fellow backpackers. 

Top Tips:

  • Backpackers usually travel solo so suggest tours and activities that will allow them to meet up with like-minded and similarly aged travelers
  • Create a party atmosphere and earn a reputation of being young and hip
  • Recommend authentic, local activities that will create unique experiences that backpackers can “brag” about to their friends

According to Cox & Kings, Solo travel is the second-most popular category for post-lockdown trips and is likely to be among the first segments to come back as the touring sector starts to recover.

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10. Gen Z Travelers

Whether they’re recent graduates, students on holiday, or young people enjoying a gap year, Gen Z travelers are a rapidly growing generation of travelers who value certain amenities. E.g. Fast, reliable Wi-Fi, charging stations and, areas where they can socialize. They are also very budget-conscious but will pay extra for local and sustainable produce.  

Because Gen Z travelers value social connectivity, they’ll appreciate it if your accommodation has a strong social media presence — and, because they’re newer to traveling, they’ll also appreciate any tips or tricks you can offer them about traveling in the area. 

Top Tips:

  • Provide locally produced food and drinks
  • Have cultural activities available to them
  • Provide information or activities whereby they can learn about traditions, culture, and heritage 

In a study published by the European Travel Commission (ETC), they found that trying locally produced food and drinks is Gen Z’s top priority (75%) followed by discovering the local urban culture (67%) and then doing cultural activities, such as visiting museums and concerts (62%).

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11. Digital Nomads

Highly mobile digital nomads don’t work in a physical office space. Instead, they telecommute and work remotely from all over the world so they can experience life in a variety of locations.  

Impressing a digital nomad requires investing in high-speed Wi-Fi and making sure they feel connected to other travelers and locals: anything you can do to make them feel at home and connected is likely to impress them. 

Top Tips:

  • Create a space at your hotel that is a mixture of business and leisure, a place where travelers can hang out, have a drink or a snack and also get some work done, busy but not overly noisy
  • Wi-Fi and multiple charging ports are a must-have
  • Keep an easy-to-access list of places where travelers and local business people like to hang out  

The remote workforce has increased by 140% since 2005, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

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12. Green Travelers 

With the rise of climate change, eco-friendly travelers are becoming increasingly common. Sustainable, environmentally friendly practices are a major draw to these travelers, as is a serious commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. 

Travel Agent Central reported that 87% of travelers want to give back! 45% volunteer for activities and 25% are interested in activities that san for one or two days and directly involve giving back to the local communities.

To attract and impress green travelers, environmental policies must be meaningful and not simply self-serving — but if you do the work to make your accommodation truly environmentally friendly, you’ll be able to really please not just green travelers but almost all of your guests. 

Top Tips:

  • Eco-friendly accommodation (i.e. Minimum impact on the natural environment, conscious decision to reduce energy usage, and the use of green energy)
  • Do not “greenwash” (pretending to be green/eco-friendly)
  • It is best to use locally sourced, natural, and sustainable products throughout the hotel  

66% of consumers around the world say they prefer to buy products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society, reports Dr. Kelly S. Bricker, from the International Ecotourism Society 

Hoteliers that know what their guests want and what they expect need to work to customize guest experiences to create loyalty and repeat business. Listen to your guest’s feedback and provide sound recommendations, even if you sometimes have to direct your guest to other trusted sources, such as tourist information, tour guides, or local experts. By understanding who your guests are you can better tailor your offerings to their needs and begin to provide truly exceptional experiences. 

If you haven’t already here are some useful links to begin creating guest personas:

  • If you use Google analytics there is a very informative article here 
  • If you are less technical and prefer a more traditional approach Net Affinity has 3 simple steps for you to get started here

Finally, if you need hotel software that works for you by effortlessly managing the daily operations – so that you can have time to draft guest personas and tend to your healthy business strategy – have a look at protel’s hotel software here.

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