Engaging your customer by using the perfect persona – a hand guide for hotels. 

 

The ultimate goal of customer engagement management is building a relationship with your custome. This has proven to engage them with your company. In order to build a relationship with your customer, you need to know them. Therefore, why companies should track their customer’s data, and why they should keep records of conversations for example. (Peelen and Beltman, 2013)  Since no customer is the same, companies usually put their different customers in different segments. This process is called market segmentation. In an ideal world, market segmentation would put each and every customer in his or her own segment. Realistically this is unfortunately not yet possible, since it would simply be very unprofitable to start with.

Within market segmentation there are usually four strategies that companies can decide to focus on. These four different strategies are based on: behavioural factors, demographic factors, psychographic factors, and geographical factors (Business Dictionary, n.d.). This means that companies could choose to put customers with, for example, the same age in the same segment so that they can target them better.

Hotels tend to segment their customers in four different groups. These groups are: backpackers and solo travellers, couples, families, and business travellers (Capozzi, n.d.). Of course there are almost to no hotels that decide to focus on all four segments, and just use different marketing approaches, since the segments are so different that they would never be interested in the same products. No matter how good the marketing is, someone who travels for business would never be interested in the same ‘holiday’ as parents traveling with their kids. Once a hotel has decided which segment or segments to focus on, the next step is for them to create a persona. But what is a persona, and how can hotels create the perfect persona?

Ardath Albee (2012) described a persona in the following way: ‘’A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.’’ (Content Marketing Institute, 2012). Companies are advised to make 3 to 5 personas in order to cover all customers (Lee, 2015).

Kevan Lee (2015) came up with a guide to create personas, which he wrote a blog about for Buffer. HubSpot (2015) even has templates available for which companies would only have to fill in some data. Hotels should go through their customer data, for example through google analytics (Buffer, 2015), in order to come up with demographical factors. These demographics should include: Age, Gender, Salary / household income, Location: urban / suburban / rural, Education, and Family.

The next step for hotels is to interview their different customers. In this interview they should get to know them better. The different categories questions should be based on are: role of the customer (job), company the customer works for (industry, size), goals of the customer (responsibilities, what does it mean to be successful regarding these responsibilities), challenges, water holes (social networks, what blogs do they read), personal background (education, career background), and shopping preferences. Don’t forget to also ask why they give this answer to a question (HubSpot, 2015).

Next up is using your data to create a persona. You start off by filling in your customer’s basic demographic information. After this you share what you’ve learned about the customer’s motivation. You obtain this information by asking why with every answer they give. Make sure to include some real quotes from the interview in the persona. This makes it easier for the sales team to reach your customer. Also tell people how to communicate with your persona about your product. This is necessary in order to let everyone within your company talk in the same way. Lastly, don’t forget to give your persona a name, and include an image.

personaSource: Kevan Lee, Buffer (2015)

References

Capozzi, C. (n.d.). Consumer Segments in the Hotel Industry | Chron.com. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/consumer-segments-hotel-industry-13764.html

Lee, K. (2015, February 27). The Beginner’s Guide to Creating Marketing Personas | Buffer. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from https://blog.bufferapp.com/marketing-personas-beginners-guide

Peelen, E. (2013). segmentation and selection. In Customer Relationship Mangement (R. Beltman, Trans.) (2nd ed., pp. 147 – 159). United Kingdom: Pearson Education.

Peelen, E. (2013). customer data management. In Customer Relationship Management (R. Beltman, Trans.) (2nd ed., pp. 117 – 134). United Kingdom: Pearson Education.

Vaughan, P. (2015, May 28). How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business Retrieved October 2, 2016, from http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33491/Everything-Marketers-Need-to-Research-Create-Detailed-Buyer-Personas-Template.aspx#sm.001a4sycd1636d21vt514d37dnkl1

What is market segmentation? Definition and meaning – BusinessDictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2, 2016, from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/market-segmentation.html

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Published by

Lara Habold

Fourth year International Tourism and Travel Industry student at the NHTV Breda.

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