Hoteliers need to adopt smart targeting strategies to boost hotel revenue
A viewpoint by Mr. Rakesh Lamba, CEO, Omega Hospitality Consultants (INDIA)
Driven by lifestyle changes, technology enabled quick decision making and better spending power, travel as a concept is today breaking away from the traditional role it has played. Earlier people travelled on business or on a family vacation that was predominantly an annual affair. Today, however, easy access to information, availability of hotel rooms and packages, quick accessibility to destination and a clearly emerging need to destress at frequent intervals has given travel a whole new meaning. From a hotelier’s perspective, it is important to recognise the growing segment of unconventional travellers and to create appropriate offers and marketing strategies to tap into this customer base.
Let’s take a look at the emerging segment of travellers who are redefining travel patterns across the globe.
The adventure seeker: Moving away from mainstream sightseeing, an adventure seeker is looking for opportunities to climb up a rock surface, bungee jump into a breath-taking gorge, raft on rapids and more.
The naturalist: ‘Move away from the crowd and lose yourself in Nature’s bliss’ – that’s the motto of this travel group. They do not frequent the famous sightseeing spots but look to trek on unexplored paths through the jungle or mountains and discover the beauty of Nature.
The culture lover: This group is more engrossed with ‘living like a local’. They love to mingle with the people of the town, hear their stories, taste their food, participate in their rituals and festivals.
The hobbyist: Guided by their passion for a specific interest – be it art, music, history, sports – their travel plan is based on event calendars. They travel around music festivals, art exhibitions, sports tournaments, etc.
The wellness seeker: Wellness is also an emerging travel segment. Spa therapies, Ayurveda massages, yoga sessions are becoming basic
The business traveller: This segment continues to grow at a fast pace. People not only travel to attend business meetings and events, corporate getaways are also on the rise. Bleisure is a potential segment as well. Apart from the normal corporate travellers, there is increased travel among entrepreneurs. As a community this group needs more focus as their travel needs and accommodations requirements are unique.
With such diversification of consumer preferences and breaking up of traditional travel groups into micro-segments, hoteliers need to re-think on their market segmentation and targeting strategies. The age-old classification of peak/non-peak season or family/group traveller may not be as high-yielding as it once used to be. What customers are looking for today is ‘experiential travel’. Hence, travellers need to be re-segmented under preference groups and offers should be created around the kind of experience they seek.
This means targeting strategies need to be more dynamic and smart. Offers should be personalised, especially during non-peak seasons. But before doing so hotels need to diversify themselves. They need to identify activities that would resonate with the preferences of these travel groups. A food festival for the food connoisseur, a walking city tour for the explorer, a free event ticket for the hobbyist, a natural trek, yoga sessions and spa therapies – can all help hoteliers attract the right kind of people to their hotel.
It is also important to break the stereotype of destinations and re-introduce them to the travellers in a new light. For example, Haridwar is not only a spiritual centre but a promising adventure hub; Goa is for party mongers as well as for rejuvenation seekers, Rajasthan is just not about royal history and monuments but also about the RIFF music festival, rich culture and sumptuous food.
When room nights are not yielding much, earning ancillary revenues through experiential stay can help balance the revenues. In fact, according to recent reports, hotel packages seem to be one of the core revenue generators in the hospitality industry. As much as 70% of business is expected to come through packages. But to capitalise on this opportunity, hoteliers need to ensure their packages address the need and preferences of the traveller.
To achieve this, hotels need access to smart analytics on consumer trends. What are the emerging travel patterns? Which packages are most in-demand? Hotels also need to interact more with their guests to understand their requirements and customise offerings. Maintaining a database of customers sorted by preferences also help in re-targeting efforts, especially during low-peak seasons. Most importantly, opportunities need to be grasped immediately. Hence, a dynamic segmentation strategy also needs to be backed with a speed-driven distribution platform to help create and disseminate customised packages across online channels in real time.
About the author
Rakesh Lamba is the CEO at Omega Hospitality Consultants (India) – a leading tourism and hotel consultancy firm. Their services include offering tourism & hospitality solutions, sales & marketing, brand management, investment planning, acquisition & mergers, feasibility, lease, revenue management, equity management, business development, networking, FAM tours, OTA management for hotels.