By identifying guests who are most likely to advocate for their brand and understanding their mindsets on a range of topics -- from dining to shopping, from family values to self-image -- hotel marketers can gain insights to spread buzz and build better strategies, partnerships, guest services and promotions.
Hotel brands measured by GfK MRI's "Survey of the American Consumer" can be grouped into the six categories routinely used by hospitality marketers to segment their industry:
When influencers are compared side by side, marketers can see how their advocates differ -- or not -- from those of their competitors. For example, Premium Tier influencers are the only group to over-index (compared to the other Tiers) for saying they like to "shower loved ones with gifts." They also are the only group to over-index for agreeing with the statements, "I often find myself in a leadership position"; "I often take the opportunity to discuss my knowledge of vacation options with others"; and "I buy brands that reflect my style."
Influencers in Tier Two (extremely upscale hotel brands) are the only group to over-index for agreeing with the following:
In Tier Three (upscale hotel brands), these are the statements for which the influencers over-index in the affirmative:
Tier Four (mid-range hotel brands) influencers are the only group of influencers who over-index for agreeing with the statement, "Too many products do not perform as well as the ads claim." Tier Five (mid-range hotel brands) influencers are the only group to over-index for agreeing that, "Prayer is a part of my daily life."
Tier Six (economy-oriented hotels) influencers are the only group that "strive to achieve a high social status," would rather take "a few weekend vacations" rather than one long vacation, and prefer to visit places they've never been to. They also over-index for agreeing that, "My children have a significant impact on the brands I choose," and "I feel I am more environmentally conscious than most."
How best to reach these various travel influencers? A look at their use of and attitudes toward various media provides some clues. Influencers in the Premium Tier are more likely (compared to influencers in the other Tiers) to look to the Internet and newspapers to keep informed and up-to-date.
Tier Six traveler influencers, who probably spend more time in vehicles getting to and from their vacation destinations, express an interest in outdoor advertising, and they describe both the Internet and magazines as "a good escape." However, they also harbor distrust in advertising, agreeing that it is "more manipulative than it is informative," and they over-index for agreeing with the statement "Much of advertising is way too annoying."
Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. If you're serious about marketing to vacation travel influencers, it helps to get serious about understanding their mindsets.