It seems like trite advice, especially if you’re the kind of person that reads about online marketing on a regular basis.
But it’s nevertheless true. If you want to do business in any capacity, in any industry or niche, you need to know who your ideal customer is.
Knowing your hotel’s target market gives you invaluable insights into who you’re trying to attract, and how to attract them. Your marketing will be immeasurably more effective when you speak the language of your customers and describe their problem better than they can. After all, hotels solve a problem, and that’s why people do business with you.
But what can you do to learn more about your guests? How do you know if you’re attracting the right people with your messaging? How do you know if your communication and marketing is as effective as it could be?
You’ve been in business for a while, so you likely have some good hunches about each of these things. But if you’re looking to delve deeper, here are some tips on how to gather information and define your target market, an essential step in developing an effective hotel strategy.
Analyze Your Online Reviews
Unless your hotel is brand new, there’s a good chance you’ve received your fair share of online reviews. As far as understanding your customers go, reviews offer a treasure trove of valuable data. This is because they often mention what they liked, what they didn’t like, and how their experience could have been better.
Collate all your reviews from Google, TripAdvisor and other OTAs and study them carefully. You will discover important insights into how you can attract the kind of people you want staying at your hotel.
Survey Your Guests
There’s no one more qualified to give you the data you need than your past guests – assuming you like your previous guests, and they’re the kind of people you want to attract more of.
On the one hand, business is business, and you might be inclined to see any paying customer as a good customer. There’s nothing wrong with that, but some can be more trouble than they’re worth. That’s why you should take a moment to think about the kind of people that you love serving.
Surveys can be conducted in several ways. You could ask guests directly upon checkout. You could leave a card for them to fill out in their room. You could send them an online survey via email using a tool like SurveyMonkey. A combination of these methods may need to be employed to get the kind of data you need.
Finally, remember to ask questions that lead to meaningful answers. You might be tempted to ask for many data points, but it’s better to focus on a few so that it’s easier for your guests to fill out the survey. It also makes it easier for you to analyze the data you collect.
Check Your Website Stats
If you don’t have the Google Analytics tracking code installed on your site already, implement it immediately. You can learn a lot about your audience, where they live, what language they speak, demographics, interests, and so on, by studying your stats in Google Analytics under “Audience”.
You can leverage this information in different ways. For instance, maybe you have high volumes of traffic coming to your website from Japan. It could be that, by not developing a Japanese-friendly site, you’re missing out on potential revenue.
Or, if your hotel is located somewhere warm, and Canadian audiences are looking to book a stay to get away from the cold for a while, you could attract them to your website with a well-placed ad campaign.
The insights you derive from your stats will depend on how observant you are, and how deep you choose to go, but they can lead to important breakthroughs.
Other Valuable Sources Of Information
There are many other sites and tools you can use to find out more about your audience. For example, if you have any data on hotels that are similar to yours, you could leverage it to attract the same kind of customers they’re attracting.
Nevertheless, we’ll highlight several more tools and resources you can use to find out more about your audience:
- Facebook. You’ve worked hard to grow your Facebook page. Why not leverage Facebook Insights – which are extremely detailed – to learn more about the people that are engaging and connecting with you?
- Twitter. With the emergence of Twitter Analytics, it has become increasingly easier for you to study your followers and their interests, even on Twitter.
- BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo offers insights into the most shared content in your industry. You can easily find posts that have gone viral on social media, whether it’s a specific keyword, or a competitor website. This can shed some light on the kind of content – blog posts, email campaigns, etc. – your website visitors and customers want.