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Unveiling Hotel Guest Personas- A Strategic Approach To Understanding Your Guests

Unveiling Hotel Guest Personas- A Strategic Approach To Understanding Your Guests

Debiprasad Sarangi
Debiprasad Sarangi

Hotels welcome a multitude of guests every season. Not every guest is the same. That's why segmenting guests into various categories is an instrumental approach to understanding them better. Such categorization helps in defining guest personas that further assist hotels in better marketing.

Understanding Hotel Guest Personas

A guest persona is created using insights from data related to guests. It makes it easier for the hotel management to figure out who they should target. Guests are identified based on specific attributes, such as their journey analysis from start to end, including booking, spending pattern, behavior, stay experience, post-stay review, etc. 

Contemporary hotels rely on Property Management Systems that streamline operations for them. These cloud-based systems store comprehensive data about guests. Hoteliers use this data to craft guest personas to develop more focused marketing campaigns, improve guest experiences, and maximize revenue.

Important Factors for Developing Guest Persona

Guest personas are profiled on the basis of a few parameters. Below are some of the basic factors that assist in segmentation. You can keep adding to the parameter list as you identify more patterns.

  1. Purpose of stay - Guests stay at hotels for various reasons, such as business, family vacations, weddings, and so on. Each guest has specific requirements and expectations.
  2. Demographics - This factor considers demographics such as age, gender, number of people accompanying, location, and stay duration to create personas.
  3. Qualitative attributes- This refers to the data collected by information received from hotel staff, management, group planners, etc. 

The Role Of Guest Persona in Enhancing Customer Experience and Marketing Strategies

Guest persona holds immense value for hoteliers for devising an effective marketing strategy and amplifying guest experience as well. Let us learn in detail how a guest persona makes this possible!

  1. Focused marketing plan- Without a guest persona a hotelier would fail to understand the audience he is attempting to attract. With a guest persona in hand, hoteliers can create a focused and robust marketing plan that has depth. It is then possible to know about the basis on which guests select hotels, various things that matter to them during their stay, and how to increase bookings.
  2. Creating a customized guest experience- As customers are segmented into various categories, it becomes easier to understand the preferences and interests of each guest. With this, it becomes easier to cater to each guest in a way that appeals to them. A business traveler is not given the same additional recommendations as a couple; similarly, a family group staying for a wedding is given a separate set of messages and emails. 
  3. Enhances hotel brand value - If you can reach the right audience at the right time with the right message, then it is likely that they create a good and lasting impression of your brand. If a businessman is recommended commutation services to his meeting destination, a family with kids is offered happy hours in the play area, and a couple is offered room meal services, then it is obvious that each of these guests would feel understood and valued. This in return gives a boost to your hotel’s brand value. 

Tools And Methods To Create Hotel Guest Personas

The process of creating unique guest personas revolves around a couple of steps. Firstly, we take into consideration data collected from several sources that are discussed below. Then we will add a story to each guest’s name based on the qualitative data derived from guest reviews, staff members, group planners, etc. Then we will compile all the information into a layout that hoteliers, marketers, stakeholders, etc can analyze and utilize.

  1. Use Google Analytics- You can study your website to assimilate a wealth of data about your guests, such as:
  • What interests them in your property?
  • How did they find your website?
  • Which links lead to more bookings?
  • Which demographic books the most?

You can also identify vital demographic insights like age, gender, location, device used for booking, etc., through your website. 

  1. Use Social Media Analytics - The audience visiting your social media accounts can also give you a lot of demographic data that you might want to use in your guest personas. Comparing this data with data collected from Google Analytics can help you filter your guest attributes more clearly. 
  2. Derive data from group CRM - You can pool out a ton of information from your sales, marketing, and catering group CRM database. This data can help you understand multiple trends that can add more detail to all the insights collected from Google Analytics and social media handles. 
  3. Analyze guest reviews - A good amount of qualitative data can be comprehended through guest reviews. You can learn a lot about what your guests like and dislike about your property and services. Negative reviews help you improve your services and come up with better ideas to enhance them. Positive reviews serve as motivators to continue doing your best. Customer behavior can be analyzed through guest reviews that add more fuel to the guest persona setup. 
  4. Discuss with your staff - Discussing with your staff can be of great help in accumulating more data for developing hotel guest personas more precisely. As they are a direct source of contact with guests, they can give a good overview of complaints, compliments, behaviors, frustrations, and motivations of each guest. 
  5. Talk to group organizers - For understanding the behavior of group travelers, your best sources of information are group organizers and event planners. While conducting your group sales activity, you can ask them for details about customers as to what brought them to your property, what they liked and disliked about your services, etc. 

Important Criteria for Developing Guest Persona

Once you have assimilated all the data about your guests, you need to compile it in an understandable format so that it can be readily used by your sales and marketing staff, stakeholders, operators, etc. The standard format for creating a guest persona is generating a single-page profile that generally includes a fictitious name, a fake picture, a short bio, and the list of information that you have collected. 

Here are a few additional tips that you must consider while crafting your guest personas:

  • Start with a small list by identifying around 5 to 6 personas. You can go on adding sub-personas as you keep getting more data.
  • It is not required to represent every guest. Simply identify typical traits that are found in a general group instead of covering every single guest.
  • Remember personas are never static, instead they are dynamic. So make it a point to regularly visit the personas you have created with new insights and make the necessary changes to keep them relevant.

Type of Hotel Guest Personas

Here we spotlight the most common types of guest personas that are likely to visit your hotel. However, do remember that you should use data collected concerning your property to come up with your hotel-specific guest personas. These personas are highly helpful in devising marketing campaigns and growth strategies for your hotel. Take into consideration the strongest guest persona of your property to shape a more focused approach toward a successful marketing strategy.

  1. The Green Traveler - These are travelers who are conscious about the environment. They are bent towards sustainability and reducing carbon footprint. They prefer eco-friendly stays and commit to brands that prioritize sustainability. 
  2. The Remote Worker - Also known as “Digital Nomads”, these people work remotely from any location with an internet connection. Some remote workers are entrepreneurs, some work for corporates, while others are freelancers. They prefer staying in properties with smooth and speedy Wi-Fi connections and where they can meet more like-minded growth-oriented people.
  3. The Gen Z Traveler - This refers to the youth travelers who are college students or fresh graduates who prefer budget properties. They expect modern accommodations with attractive facilities and spaces.
  4. The Vacationer - This is a casual traveler who travels frequently either alone or with friends and family. They prefer boutique properties with decent luxuries. They are fond of local sightseeing and love it if hotels arrange guided tours, and sightseeing assistance, along with relaxing stay options with added facilities like spa and healing therapies.
  5. The Boomer - These are retired senior citizens who love traveling as a key activity at this stage of life. They usually have a good budget and travel either with their partners or in similar age groups. They prefer proper amenities at the hotel and guided tours to make their trip comfortable and enjoyable. 

Guest personas are inevitable in the hospitality industry. They provide the right insight for developing effective marketing, advertising, service delivery, and profit management strategies for your hotel. The process helps you acquire an understanding of various aspects, such as booking habits, likes, dislikes, and income profiles of your varied guests. This understanding helps you tailor your hotel marketing techniques for revenue generation and brand loyalty. 

With the advent of cloud-based Hotel PMS System, the whole process of data collection, organizing, and analyzing guest personas has become more comprehensive and simplified. These tools help in creating the most accurate and realistic guest personas. With this, hotels are now crafting the best packages to cater to each persona and bring in as many guests as possible.