Travel: Using ‘personas’ to tailor your marketing for guests

Posted by: Becky Bradbury


As a luxury hotel, email marketing can provide a way to directly communicate with customers, offering the potential to influence both bookings as well as secondary spend.

An integral part of any email marketing strategy is the knowledge of exactly who your customers are, what they are most interested in and when they would like to hear from you.

Unfortunately, continuing along the path of ‘blast and send’, using generic content without careful consideration of whom you are speaking, can cause damage to your online reputation and in turn your brand. So how can you tailor your content for subscribers?

Creating a persona can provide a great way of gaining an insight into the people you are speaking to and how you should be communicating with them.

What is a persona?

A persona created for marketing purposes is a fictional character representing the most important characteristics of your customers both past, present and prospective. By creating this it will help you to define what the main areas are that you should be focusing on within your emails.

So what should you be thinking about when creating a persona?

Why not start by thinking about the demographics – this will include age, gender, educational background, their average income, their geographic location and what their employment status is.

Then move on to points such as what their lifestyle choices are, their main interests, what motivates them to book and why they would be interested in the services, facilities and attractions on offer within your hotel or close by. Most importantly, consider what you already know. Dealing with your customers on a day to day basis provides you with the opportunity to get to know them on a more personal basis and that in turn can provide some of the best insight into what they would like from your emails.

This is not to say that each hotel requires only one persona – customers differ in many ways and so the likelihood is that you will need to create different campaigns to cater for your varying personas.

For example…

A luxury hotel, situated in the city, with facilities including a spa, restaurant, conference centre and gym already know that the majority of their customers are:

  • Business people looking for somewhere to stay whilst on a business trip or attending a conference at the hotel itself.
  • Couples looking for a romantic getaway.
  • Locals who like to use the hotel facilities.

From this we can see that there are 3 personas that will need to be created to cater for the main sections of the audience. As an example we will just focus on one of these:

Couples looking for a romantic getaway

Persona:

  • Female
  • Aged 30
  • Loves to explore the nearby attractions and make the most of what the city has to offer.
  • Earns a good salary, not afraid to spend more in order to enjoy herself.
  • Enjoys relaxing in the spa and often books in for treatments.
  • Usually eats in the hotel restaurant for at least one night but also enjoys trying other external menus.
  • Usually books to stay for special occasions such as anniversaries, Valentine’s and birthdays.
  • Attracted to the hotel because of all it has to offer both internally and close by.

What this means for your emails

With this persona in mind your emails could include:

  • The latest hotel offers
  • Details about the hotel’s facilities – encouraging early booking, before their stay
  • Information on the spa, what treatments it includes and products it uses
  • Ideas for what local attractions they could visit during their stay
  • Advice on which restaurants to try in the local area
  • Links to view the hotel restaurant menu and information on where the local produce is sourced from
  • Upcoming dates for your diary (Valentine’s day, etc.)

Moving on from this, there is also the opportunity to begin sending emails triggered by information attached to your subscribers, such as anniversary dates and their favourite time of year to visit.

But why do you need to do this?

Completing a persona will allow your team to keep content consistent and your marketing messages targeted and clear. By taking the time to carefully consider your target audience you will find your campaigns become more engaging, relevant and ultimately more successful in the future.

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