In the hotel industry or in any other business one of the most important steps is to understand who your customer is. Customer profiles are different “customer types,” which are generated to represent the typical users of a product or service, and are used to help make customer-focused decisions without confusing the scope of the project with personal opinion. (Buxton, n.d.)
3 steps of customer profiling :
1. Understand your products, services, and the way they’re actually being used.
The first step before you are able to know who your customers are, you have to understand who you are as a company and what is your product and your service about. For example do you want to be a wellness or a business hotel? Just with having this knowledge you can identify your potential customers and their special needs, because the way of how your company acts in the market has a deep impact on the people you get in contact with. With this process of self-reflection the company is able to see how their product develops with the time and how this has an impact on the change of their customers.
2. Get feedback from your customers.
The easiest way of collecting information about your customers is to get it out of first hand, directly from the visitors themselves. This can be done by customer surveys were the they are able to give their feedback on one special offer, like a breakfast buffet. By doing this you get information on how you are able to develop your product in a way so that it fits the most to the customer’s needs, but at the same time the participants tell you their own view on your company and how they expect the company to behave.
3. Identify the customer based on demographics, psycho-graphics, behavioral and environmental factors, and more.
The last step is about to get a deeper knowledge of the hotels guests, because the more you understand their needs the closer you are able to reach these needs. In case of a hotel the most important information are age of guests, their jobs and their free time activities. From this you know for example whether your guests are families or retired people, how much money they are willing to spent and which offers of your hotel they might be interested in.
Creating a persona
To create a persona and not only to do research about the customers means going into depth and making the step from theoretical thinking to creating a concrete persona. A fictional character could be the Client Peter, he represents the typical person coming to the hotel.
Personas are there to see through their eyes and to get into the head of the customers. By asking questions like: “What would Client Peter do now?” or “Would Client Peter like this?“ you get into their feelings, motivations or limitations and this makes it possible to define the product to their special needs and wants. (Campbell, D., 2016)
For many years hospitality firms have believed that the goal of marketing is to create as many new customers as possible. While hoteliers believed it was important to satisfy the guests while they were on the property, the real goal was to continue to find new customers. (Shoemaker, S., & Lewis, R. C., 1999)
If the customers are changing, the hotel needs to change too in order to be able to offer unique products and to read the wishes from theirs lips. Hotels need to get in action and adjust their offers, decoration, events, food and many more. Nowadays sustainability plays a role in the style of living. Guests want to stay in hotels where water is saved, trash is seperated and in general the hotel has an eye on how we are treating our environment. Hotels need to stay up to date and change if the cusomers change.
Buxton. (n.d.). What is Customer Profiling? A 5 Step Beginner’s Guide. Retrieved from: https://www.buxtonco.com/blog/what-is-customer-profiling-a-5-step-beginners-guide
Campbell, D. (April 19, 2016). Three Simple Steps to Creating an Ideal Customer Profile. Retrieved from: https://blog.thewholebraingroup.com/steps-to-creating-an-ideal-customer-profile
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer relationship management. Harlow: Pearson Education
Shoemaker, S., & Lewis, R. C. (1999). Customer loyalty: the future of hospitality marketing. International journal of hospitality management, 18(4), 345-370.
Rowett, P. (October 20, 2016). Ideal Customer Profiling: The Process of Identifying your Most Profitable Prospects. Retrieved from: https://tourismeschool.com/ideal-customer-profile-persona/