In the past, we’ve written a number of posts about the importance of identifying and segmenting your guests. When you know who you are trying to reach, it’s easier to create pricing strategies and marketing messages to target the right people. We thought we’d have some fun and come up with different types of customer segments. You can then use them to identify your guests and learn more about what makes them tick.
Who they are: The casual traveler is someone or a group of people who travel one or two times per year based on their company’s vacation policy. These individuals will rarely travel alone and be accompanied by friends, family, or significant others. They have a decent amount of money to spend, but they refrain from throwing down cash on just anything and everything.
Vacations are something casual travelers look forward to. They have likely done a fair amount of research and know what to expect when they arrive at their destination.
What they like to do: Casual travelers like to hit all the destination’s main attractions. They may travel back to a destination more than once, but not frequently. So, when they’re in a location they try to get everything they can out of it. They will likely enjoy guided tours and other group activities.
Where they stay: Casual travelers will seek out the best value, but are attracted to established brands. Independent and boutique hotels will likely be their first choices if they aren’t brand loyal to a hotel giant like Hilton or Marriott.
How to help them: Casual travelers appreciate recommendations and travel tips, although they may not always seek them out. As mentioned above, they’ve done their research, so offering some guiding tips will help solidify their plans or slightly modify them. It would be a great idea to include a guide of the local area at check-in and maybe a map with all the top attractions clearly highlighted.
Who they are: We will refrain from saying all backpackers are millennials. While thrifty backpackers skew young, we know there’s a community of passionate backpackers out there that transcend age. These travelers are price sensitive and only care about the necessities when it comes to accommodations. Free WiFi is essential to backpackers and could be a deal breaker. These guests go on several trips a year and will spend more time traveling, typically to many different locations
What they like to do: These guests are interested in seeing their destination like a local. They want to taste authentic food, stay in local neighborhoods, and experience the nightlife. A backpacker will typically keep themselves quite busy while traveling in order to soak up the experience for everything it is.
Where they stay: Hostels and cheap hotels are the primary target for these guests. Communal bathrooms and shared rooms don’t scare these travelers, and the monetary tradeoff is well worth it in their eyes. We also find that these travelers enjoy staying at Airbnbs and other stay-share properties.
How to help them: As a property owner, you should have many local recommendations and maps at the ready. While these guests will generally know what they want to do, they haven’t planned their trip down to the minute. They love local tips and will follow your recommendations.
Who they are: Depending on how often a business person travels, it will greatly influence their brand loyalty and special quirks. Business travelers are often much less price sensitive than others because they’re not footing the bill. Expect these guests to have tight schedules and to value efficiency.
What they like to do: They’re not there to visit the local sites, but they will be interested in good restaurants both for personal and business purposes.
Where they stay: Branded hotels often attract frequent business travelers with rewards programs and free upgrades. However, independent hotels ranging from mid-tier to luxury will attract business travelers who prefer not to stay at large hotel brands.
How to help them: Restaurant and other business service information (FedEx, Kinkos, etc.) will be helpful to have on hand. Local transportation information is also important if your property isn’t located close to their offices or convention center. Business travelers are likely to need laundry and pressing services.
Who they are: Families with children of any age require special treatment. These guests will have slightly different needs than other types of guests. Families often arrive to a destination with a well laid out plan for their activities. Like casual travelers, these guests will operate on a schedule and look to make the most of their trip. Families generally operate on a fairly strict budget, so getting the most bang for the buck is important.
What they like to do: Organized trips and activities suitable for children are a must. Local attractions like theme parks and touristy activities are usually the highlight of family trips. Alternatively, some family trips consist of pure relaxation on a beach or at the pool.
Where they stay: Families tend to enjoy kid-friendly venues such as independent hotels, inns, and occasionally bed and breakfasts. We expect families to stay at places with larger rooms and decent amenities.
How to help them: Be prepared to provide lists of family-friendly restaurants and attractions in the local area. As we mentioned, most families will come prepared. But, they will appreciate real recommendations and informative maps. Restaurants and other attractions that offer family discounts are much appreciated.
Who they are: Well-to-do travelers are less worried about how much they spend and more focused on getting the most out of their trip. While prices may not be of the highest concern, value still is. Luxury travelers will often research their trip and have a general plan for what they’d like to do. These travelers are typically older, but not always.
These travelers will have higher expectations for their accommodations and the service they receive.
82% of luxury travelers are married according to Luxury Travel Advisor, so expect these travelers to be in pairs or as a part of a group. These travelers also care about their experience because their trading their valuable time for it. They expect excellent service, and they are willing to pay more for memorable experiences.
What they like to do: Private and group tours, popular tourist attractions as well as more rare type of activities off the beaten path. Luxury travelers often take more trips and know the types of activities they like to do.
Where they stay: Luxury independent properties, inns, and bed and breakfast are all options for luxury travelers.
How to help them: Connections to tour groups and knowledge of local restaurants will be helpful to these guests. Exceptional service and a willingness to help whenever they have a question is essential.
Who they are: Individuals over 50 are considered senior travelers. These individuals likely have a bit more money to spend than other types of travelers. They often travel in pairs or in groups, and they usually do not have children with them.
What they like to do: They enjoy local tourist activities and guided tours. Accessibility is important to this travel group, so extreme sports and off-the-beaten-path activities are less common.
Where they stay: Senior travelers look for comfort in their accommodations. They gravitate towards hotels, bed and breakfasts, cruises, and inns, but the most important thing will be amenities and accessibility.
How to help them: Local guides and maps on things to do will be essential. If your property has a special connection to tour guides or local companies, they will be beneficial for senior travelers.
Who they are: These travelers are planners. They’ve done their research and many of them have planned out full day itineraries for their entire trip. These guests are looking to get the maximum benefit out of every location and activity. These travelers will often have a companion or travel in a group.
What they like to do: Plan. Just kidding, on top of planning they like to do a wide range of activities. Everything from tourist staples to the off the beaten path activities. A type A traveler could also fit in any of the other categories already mentioned, but they take it to the extreme.
Where they stay: Type A travelers stay in top-rated hotels that have been well researched. There isn’t one particular property type that a Type A traveler will gravitate towards, but you can be sure that it will be a well researched one.
How to help them: They won’t need much assistance getting around, but being available to answer questions quickly and efficiently will make for a pleasurable stay.
Who they are: Flexible travelers are the opposite of the Type A travelers. These travelers enjoy traveling with no plans or very loose plans. They don’t like to book in advance and embrace changes along their journey. Flexible travelers can be found alone or in small groups.
What they like to do: The flexible traveler is great at grabbing last minute deals and going with the flow. They often travel to maximize the bonuses they get from miles. They like “gaming the system”, so to speak.
Where they stay: Flexible travelers come in all shapes and sizes, so you can expect to find them at a wide-variety of properties. Hostels and independent hotels with last minute available beds and rooms work best for these travelers.
How to help them: Local recommendations are a must. Generally a last minute guest will be more interested in local activities than typical tourist activities. City guides and maps would likely come in handy for flexible guests. If your property has the inside hook up for local activities, that will also come in handy.
There are hundreds of different ways you can categorize guests based on their demographics and behavior. The eight examples we gave above only scratch the surface of potential guest profiles. It’s a fun exercise to go through and create profiles of your ideal or typical customer base.