When hotel managements decides to build a hotel these days, they don’t simply just build something generic. They very carefully examine the demand-drivers, occupancy and rates of the marketplace, then build something that is meant to specifically take advantage of a discovered opportunity. The hotel may then be a suburban hotel that services local business parks or it may be a large meetings hotel with lots of meeting space or even a boutique lifestyle hotel, full of interesting design and a cool bar and restaurant. Every hotel business today is built to capture and serve a certain segment of the traveller marketplace.
But every hotel also relies on a mix of business. Almost every modern hotel services the unmanaged business traveller, the leisure transient traveller, the groups, etc. You may run a convention hotel, but chances are you still need leisure transient business to fill in the needs times and slow sales month. Plus, every hotel services a different mix of traveller demographic – young/older, loyalty customer/infrequent traveller, high spending/thrifty etc.
And you will need to provide all those travellers an experience that ensures good reviews and return business. So while you have tailored your hotel concept to capture a certain type of business, you still have to service multiple types of travellers. That’s where guest personas come in. A guest persona identifies segments of your business by common attributes. By identifying groups of travellers by attributes, you can then examine the standard Guest Journey (the life of the hotel stay from booking to stay to post-stay review) and optimize it for each segment in order to improve guest experience, maximize revenue per guest, cultivate great reviews and get repeat business.
For example let’s say you have identified that your two main segments are loyal road warriors and infrequent family travellers. Clearly these guests have much different perspectives on their stay at your hotel. The road warrior is all about time efficiency, regimen, and small perks that take the edge off of constant travel. The family is focused on understanding the area, enjoying hotel amenities like pools, ordering special items to accommodate kids like cribs, easy dinner options, etc. Each traveller may actually be of equal value to your hotel in terms of total spend. But they have very different needs.
Smart hoteliers design customer journeys that act like swim lanes for each traveller. And these swim lanes are activated by hotel technology. For example, the road warrior knows your hotel. After yet another flight, they are exhausted and want to get some rest before the big meeting in the morning. Their journey begins with a notice that they can check into their room remotely using their phone. They love this as they can pick up their keys from the lobby kiosk and go straight to their room. Once there, they can order room service or any other type of add-on right from their phone. Efficiency delivered.
The family traveller is quite different. They are staying for a few more days and need to understand what your hotel has to offer. They walk in, children and luggage in tow, and are greeted by a staff member holding a tablet. They learn all about the hotel while perusing room upgrades and add-ons right on the tablet. The next day, at the pool, the same tablet-toting staff member stops by their chairs to ask how their stay is going and then is able to take care of any special requests right on the tablet in their hands.
In other words, the family wants guidance and assistance. The road warrior wants efficiency and convenience. Two different Guest Personas and two different Guest Journeys in the same hotel. It can be easily done. What is required is persona identification and a single, flexible hotel technology platform facilitates both experiences.