Is Airbnb Beating Resorts for Millennial Travel Bookings?

Most Airbnb business comes from millennial travel, so resort marketing needs to offer the travel experiences millennials still crave.

Like a lot of services offered by the new sharing economy, Airbnb’s business model appeals to many millennial travelers. And since millennials now make up not only the largest generation — but the biggest one in history — any travel audience development agency needs to see courting them as key to finding more customers and sustaining growth. Learn why Airbnb appeals to millennials and how hotel and resort marketing might transform to court this large and well-traveled generation.

The popularity of Airbnb for millennial travel business

In order to understand why Airbnb has offered such fierce competition for traditional hotels and resorts, it’s important for an audience development agency to learn more about how millennials view travel. According to Slice Intelligence data, sourced directly from digital consumer receipts, Airbnb enjoyed an almost 90-percent revenue growth during the same period when the large hotel booking sites only increased earnings by about 19 percent.

Slice Intelligence also found:

  • Just about half of the Airbnb customers fell between the ages of 18 and 34. At the same time, that age group accounted for less than 30 percent of Marriott guests.
  • Airbnb customers paid average nightly rates about 25-percent cheaper than hotel guests did. At the same time, they tended to stay longer.
  • While average Airbnb prices matched most closely with budget motels, guests stayed an average of 3.5 nights, which tends to reflect typical stays of more luxurious hotels and resorts.
  • Slice also found that almost 40 percent of their guests booked at least a month in advance, compared to an average of 23 percent on other large hotel booking websites.

Since the Airbnb guests tended to stay longer, it’s fair to assume that many of Airbnb’s customers didn’t necessarily plan to save money on their overall trip. Judging by the fact that they were also more likely to book rooms well in advance, it looks like many of these travelers made careful plans to maximize value.

Choosing Airbnb isn’t all about price for millennial travelers

According to Airbnb’s own survey of its millennial customers, choosing the home-sharing service isn’t all about prices and value. They found this group considers travel an important aspect of their life and many prioritize it over reducing debt, saving for a home, and other long-term goals. Over 80 percent of the millennials surveyed said they wanted travel to offer them a unique and personal experience with a chance to experience local culture. A majority expressed an interest in staying in interesting neighborhoods, dining in locally run restaurants, meeting new people, and enjoying a more adventurous trip.

These travelers probably don’t mind getting a good deal on their room, but they’re also motivated by the chance to set their own itineraries and experience a destination outside of what they may consider the facade of an all-inclusive resort or planned tour. Any travel audience targeting agency needs to focus on the importance of experience for younger adults and not just on prices. Younger adults also felt like Airbnb had a more sustainable and eco-friendly business model since at least originally, it focused upon simply sharing a room in a family home.

How can hotel and resort marketing better compete with Airbnb?

While the millennial generation makes up a large portion of Airbnb’s customers, Resonance Consultancy surveyed members of this group who had booked overnight stays within the past year. A majority still picked hotels and resorts as their first choice. By taking a look at some of the things that these travelers considered important, an audience targeting agency can demonstrate how their resorts and hotels deliver.

Safety and privacy

While respondents typically said that they considered price important, they also cared about safety and privacy. They felt traditional lodgings did a better job of delivering these two important considerations.

Wellness, comfort, and luxury amenities

Millennials may value their travel experience; however, not all prioritized the experience of staying in a local neighborhood over everything else people tend to associate with a hotel or resort stay. For instance, most Airbnb lodging lack the sort of spas and swimming pools found at luxury hotels and resorts.

Business amenities

Some businesses have even turned to Airbnb for employee travel. At the same time, hotels generally offer such services as business centers, meeting rooms, and high-speed WiFi to court business travelers.

Price comparisons

People tend to associate Airbnb with moderate prices, but according to Hotels Online, that comparison doesn’t always hold up. Particularly in some markets, average prices for Airbnb rooms sometimes meet or even exceed the average daily rates in hotels.

Promotions and packages

Hotels can run loyalty programs that improve the chance of repeat businesses. They also generally have the resources to put together experiential packages that might include dining, tours, and other experiences to provide a good experience and a good value.

Local culture

If some guests hope for more immersion in local culture, resorts and hotels are in a good position to come up with such creative ideas as a locally owned restaurant, bar hop, or street market tour. Also, traditional lodging businesses tend to employ lots of local people who can provide friendly, face-to-face service and interaction with guests 24/7. That’s not a resource that Airbnb guests can typically count on.


While sharing a home with local residents appears more sustainable than maintaining a hotel or resort, these traditional travel businesses can do their part and make certain guests know about it. Also, Airbnb has generated quite a bit of controversy lately since some property owners have invested in homes just to use as rentals, which has caused housing problems in some cities and driven up rental rates.

Finding more customers by courting millennial travel

Naturally, successful hotels focus upon knowing their customers. These days, they also need to court more customers by getting to know travelers who may have made decisions to book with Airbnb or other alternative kinds of lodging in the past. If these guests want particular amenities or experiences, traditional travel businesses just need to let their market know that they can provide them and much more.

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Smart Hotel Marketing: How Hotels Can Fill Reservations Now

Smart hotel marketing involves focusing on existing demand, offering value, and targeting demand during and after Coronavirus.

If you work for a hotel or hotel marketing company, nobody needs to tell you that the COVID-19 outbreak has seriously impacted your business. During the best of times, hotel marketers operate in an extremely competitive environment. For many locations, customers will simply cross the street to save a few dollars or enjoy an extra perk with their loyalty program. At the same time, some hotels have managed to find some unique opportunities to maximize their bookings with savvy, budget-friendly coronavirus marketing.

Seven Tips for marketing my hotel during and after the coronavirus crisis

It might help to review some of the challenges hotels face right now before considering suggestions for coronavirus marketing. For example, USA Today reported that occupancy rates across the country have dropped to about 20 percent. Compared to the same period last year, the hotel industry has suffered over a 70-percent decline.

On the other hand, some kinds of hotel properties have held on better than others. For instance, budget and suburban hotels have typically not suffered the same drop in bookings. People still need to travel for essential work or urgent personal reasons. In some cases, healthcare professionals have decided to self-quarantine in a hotel to protect their families.

With the current drop in travellers in mind, consider these hotel marketing tips that can help you weather and emerge from the current situation.

1. Pick your marketing battles

Most marketing analysts caution struggling hotels to keep marketing, even if they have to trim budgets. You may even find that it’s easier to compete on paid search and other platforms because other venues have also had to redirect some marketing dollars. Instead of casting a wide net, try to hedge your bets.

As an example, Hospitality Net encouraged hotel marketers to direct ads mostly to domestic and not international audiences. Because of travel bans and discouragement, you may do better by appealing to a domestic and even fairly local audience than you could if you tried to advertise your New York City hotel in Spain.

2. Consider local marketing efforts

As an obvious example, some hotels have restaurants. Even if the dining rooms have closed, curbside pickup and delivery still attract customers. Some upscale restaurants have enjoyed success by packaging up multi-course or family meals for anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays. More modest restaurants have attracted local residents who are tired of their own cooking or businesses that may need lunches picked up for essential workers.

As for coronavirus marketing, some healthcare workers or impacted people may need a room to isolate themselves. This may be the best time to attract these customers by offering generous deals for long-term stays. You might also offer your meeting rooms for people or organizations who need in-person places to gather during the crisis.

3. Beware of too much price competition

Certain, the section above suggested considering offering lower rates for certain kinds of guests. Before that, current statistics appear to suggest that budget hotels have faired the best during this crisis. Still,you can’t lower your rates below a certain point and still expect to profit, so engaging in too much price competition just to fill rooms can lead to an even worse disaster.

Typical industry advice is to offer deals that you would normally offer during a promotion but not better. You may decide to offer long-term rates for certain situations because you can enjoy certain economies by having the same guest stay for several days to several months.

You might also consider some packaging bundles and services that add value but don’t reduce your revenues so much. Some of these ideas make particular sense during the outbreak. For instance:

  • Instead of the typical breakfast buffet, consider offering a free breakfast delivered to the room.
  • Rather than having a late-afternoon happy hour in the lobby, switch it to a room-service cocktail.
  • Offer free coupons or discounts for various closed services that begin on the date when they open again.

4. Consider promoting more flexible cancellation policies

Right now, most of the large hotel chains have updated their cancellation policies to better accomodate guests during the coronavirus crisis. Until June 30, Marriot will let guests make changes or cancellations without charges so long as they do it with 24-hours notice.Hyatt, Hilton, and other large chains have similar new policies in place.

After all, with hotel occupancy rates down, most hotels don’t have concerns about turning away guests because of overbooking, so they probably don’t have so much to lose. These more flexible cancellation policies can help reduce the concerns of customers who may worry about having travel plans disrupted. It can also help encourage people to stay home if they suddenly find themselves sick with the coronavirus, so you can also consider it a safety measure. Even if you plan to resume your typical cancellation policy later, you can also earn some good will by remaining more flexible now.

5. Promote your health and safety measures

These days, it’s common to find travelers searching with terms like “coronavirus safety tips for travelers” or even “coronavirus-safe hotels” on major search engines and social networks. As the outbreak progresses, you have probably already striven to protect your employees and guests through such measures as:

  • Asking guests about possible exposure to COVID-19
  • Providing protective equipment, disenfectant, and additional guidance to cleaning staff, food handlers, desk clerks, and even valet drivers
  • Offer touch-free checkins and checkouts
  • If you allow them, keeping any quarantined guests and even their laundry and belongings away from others

Right now, you might have somewhat more limited ways to broadcast your coronavirus-safety messaging. Google only appears to display organic, authoritative sources for most searches related to coronavirus. Still, you can reassure potential guests by including messages about your safety efforts with your website, emails, social site postings, press releases, and advertisements on all sorts of digital media.

Because of the global pandemic, everybody has become a lot more aware of the way that germs spread. Even after the initial crisis has passed, your guests will probably take a lot more care with their own hygiene and expect, of course, the hospitality industry to do the same thing. The work that you do today to ensure health will help you maintain your reputation during this current situation and for years into the future.

6. Consider creative coronavirus marketing strategies

Sometimes tough times call for bold, decisive moves. As an example, the Washington Post featured one Swiss hotel that’s offering a luxury self-quarantine package to guests. Their package even includes such options as coronavirus testing, doctor visits, and a 24/7 nurse. They also provide delivered meals and optionally, a personal chef. This high-end hotel already catered to wealthier clients, and they charge quite a bit for these additional services. After they promote their offer on Facebook, this bold move has resulted in an increase — not a decrease — in revenues.

7. Keep marketing your hotel

Cornell research during the Great Recession found that hospitality companies that maintained a marketing budget faired almost 20 percent better than those that did not. Examples from all sorts of economic downturns, including the Great Depression, have found strong correlations between marketing spend and performance. At the same time, you may need to cut costs and should carefully consider how you will spend your marketing dollars.

Chetan Patel serves as the vice president of digital marketing and customer retention marketing for the ONYX Hospitality Group. He suggests on inveting in retargeting because it’s usually a more productive way to drive revenue than the top of the funnel. Instead of working so hard on improving demand or brand awareness, target people who already know about your brand and are likely to have a demand.

As part of this, Patel also suggests concentrating on metasearch. Aggregators like Expedia, Orbitz, and already attract high-intent consumers who want to book rooms. These aggregators also participate with such metasearch platforms as Google, Kayak, and TripAdvisor. Hotels can also bid for better advertising placement and in some cases, target this sites for different types of advertisements. If you work with a hotel marketing company or other marketing agency, ensure they can get your hotel displayed on metasearch and fully exploit the opportunity to get seen by customers who are ready to book.

How smart hotel marketing will help you emerge stronger after the coronavirus outbreak

Nobody doubts that hotels and all hospitality companies have to overcome unprecidented challenges during the coronavirus outbreak. Some analysts have warned that as many as half of U.S. hotels may need to close, at least for now. On the other hand, some hotel brands have managed to offer prices, packages, and services that have helped them maintained enough hotel occupancy to hold on and a few have even increased revenues.

As for takeaways, don’t stop marketing, even if you need to tighten the pursestrings somewhat. Focus on targeting potential guests who are likely to need your services by providing value and reassurance and in some cases, creative offerings. After the worst of the crisis has passed, people will resume traveling for business and pleasure. Some may even want to make up for lost opportunities, so you could find your hotel quite busy.

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Using Place Branding to Restart Marketing in Travel and Tourism

Place branding ideas that will strategically enhance your hotel marketing efforts and assist in post-coronavirus recovery.

Place branding refers to creating an identity for a location, such as a city, town, or state. The idea started to gain traction a few years ago as a way to attract visitors, businesses, investors, and residents to various destinations. As has happened after some other disasters, place branding might provide an effective way to help enhance marketing in travel and tourism. Consider some hotel marketing ideas to use to help restart tourism by using place marketing concepts after the outbreak of coronavirus.

Enhancing marketing in travel and tourism with place branding after coronavirus

Right now, news of the COVID-19 outbreak has consumed attention all over the world. Governments have imposed various travel bans, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing directives. Naturally, tourism marketing companies have found themselves in the tight spot of attempting to produce revenues while still acting responsibly.

City Nation Place provides an entire publication dedicated to place branding. According to that publication, even more than the current lost revenues and profits, the damage to the reputation of some states and cities could take a long time to repair. At the same time, they have observed some localities responding to disasters better than others. Anybody who is involved with marketing in travel and tourism can benefit from examining some case studies about the way certain destinations have responded to disasters in a way that could enhance or detract from their brand.

California wildfires and the California Wine Country

During 2019, wildfires made the news all too frequently. Locations hit by these fires include California, the Amazon, and Australia. In a reference to earlier fires that affected California’s Wine Country, the CEO of Visit California said that the destruction impacted less than one percent of the entire state. At the same time, that’s not the picture that people from elsewhere got from media coverage. Instead, it appeared as if the entire state was burning.

Obviously, news stories about blazing infernos can attract attention. Factual stories that mention that the fires only affected five wineries and less than two percent of California grapes rarely get much notice by the public. Still, Visit California responded by organizing a feast to help raise funds for assistance and promote the resilience of the residents. They held the celebration, called The Grateful Table, in a field that bridged both Napa and Sonoma Counties. The successful event raised about $150,000 and perhaps best of all, attracted very positive media attention to California Wine Country.

Puerto Rico and Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Most people have probably seen images of devastated landscapes and cityscapes after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. Images of desperate pleas for water, food, and supplies also made the top of the news cycle. While this narrative did help ignite relief efforts, it also had some negative long-term ramifications.

Even a year later, people sympathized with the island territory, but they no longer wanted to make travel plans to visit. According to the CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, Brad Dean, news on the anniversary of the disasters did more to remind people of unfinished repair work than to inform them of all of the projects that had been successfully completed. They worked hard to change the news narrative to one that highlighted the progress they had made and how welcoming and pleasant a destination visitors would find Puerto Rico. Though they faced a tough battle, they succeeded by ensuring that the majority of news stories about the disaster’s anniversary contained a positive message.

How can I incorporate place branding into marketing for my hotel or other destination?

The case studies above illustrated good efforts to rehabilitate the image of an area impacted by such natural disasters as fires and floods. In many ways, people should compare a pandemic more to a natural disaster than any other kind. Except for a few conspiracy theorists, nobody thinks that anybody intentionally spread the virus or certainly, meant to get themselves or their own family infected.

As with other disasters, people mostly can’t judge a location for experiencing the calamity. On the other hand, they might judge the destination’s reaction to that disaster. For instance, neither California nor Puerto Rico wasted any energy trying to present a false narrative that minimized the destruction they experienced. Most of all, they simply wanted to show the world the true narrative of the ways that their people reacted, that they welcomed visitors, and that guests could still have a great experience when they came.

Why you should brand your location when you brand your hotel

As noted in Creative Supply, few people visit Paris because they want to stay in a particular hotel. Instead, tourists stay in a Parisian hotel because they want to visit Paris. Just as in other kinds of real estate, location matters a lot. You should consider this if you’re looking for hotel marketing ideas for a big city, tropical beach, or even a convenient suburban location beside a major freeway, airport, or business district.

Naturally, you want to sell the value and attractiveness of your hotel; however, you will miss opportunities if you don’t also promote the attractiveness of your address. In order to develop this asset, you should think about ways to invest in it. Your investment might consist simply of helping to promote it as you promote your own property. During this time of a worrisome disease outbreak, you can also consider investing by figuring out ways that your hotel can help your community.

For instance, if you the chefs and staff of your closed dining room don’t have enough to do, perhaps you could see if local hospital employees could use your catering services or even a wing of your underutilized rooms to house traveling nurses. You don’t even necessarily have to give all this away for free, but you might try to offer the kinds of promotions and flexibility that will make your offer attractive. By engaging in this kind of enlightened self-interest, you will also have a chance to develop plenty of feel-good stories for your social media and advertising platforms. You can highlight the good work your local people do to combat COVID-19, and in turn, highlight the good job you’ve done supporting them.

Follow the principals behind place branding 

At any time, you should follow established principals behind place branding to help make your efforts more effective. As documented by Place Brand Observer, good principals of place branding should include:

  • Distinctiveness: Consider the aspects of your location that set it apart from other places.
  • Authenticity: Of course, you will want to focus on the positives, but you should remain honest and highlight things that will matter to travelers.
  • Memorability: Figure out what visitors probably remember about your location and even what might entice them to return or even want to live there.

The publication also mentioned co-creation and place making. Your hotel cannot control all of these aspects because they require partnerships with other institutions, organizations, businesses, and even the government. The section above mentioned the example of reaching out to a nearby hospital to see if they could find uses for your services.

To really drive place branding, you should consider reaching out to all sorts of other businesses, government organizations, and institutions to develop cooperative efforts. As you work to improve your location for everybody, these other entities can also add to the effort and even help promote your hotel.

How place branding will improve tourism marketing for the post-coronavirus recovery

Some hotels may have such unique features that people travel to stay there. Still, people even usually stay in Disney hotels because they intend to visit the amusement parks. You will have a much easier time marketing the value of your own property if you also make sure that travelers understand you provide easy access to a welcoming location that offers them the things they want to experience.

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Transmedia Storytelling as an Effective Theme Park Marketing Strategy

In a lot of ways, developing an effective theme park marketing strategy evokes quite the “roller coaster” of experiences. There are highs and lows and oftentimes, it even throws you for a loop!

But- it doesn’t have to always be that way, particularly when you have a good sense of what your target audience is looking for in its theme park experience. At our marketing agency in Orlando, we understand that people visit theme parks to be entertained, excited and thrilled, but also to relax and escape everyday life. One of the best ways to get people to choose your park over your competitors’ is to tap into their emotions through emotive storytelling.

This isn’t a story with an introduction, a middle and a conclusion like you might’ve been told in your third grade English class. We’re talking about transmedia storytelling, which describes the art of being able to tap into what people are thinking about, and being able to give them great content and visuals to help inspire them. And, by inspiring potential customers through images of what a great vacation could do for them, you’ll hopefully also be able to inspire them to buy plane tickets to Florida to spend a week at a local resort hotel.

In telling an emotional story, your imagery and words should reflect your commitment to this appeal. A photo of kids laughing on a double decker carousel in LEGOLAND’S Fun Town is going to grab a child’s attention and make them want to escape in the same way. A bullet-point list of facts about your park? Maybe, but think about how much more the photo might resonate with a parent who has a LEGO- obsessed child.

Disney is a master at this, and Universal has appeal through its rides inspired by famous favorite films. A perfect example of incorporating media and other immersive storytelling techniques into a marketing strategy is the soon to be newest Universal Water Park- Volcano Bay. Keep your eyes open for this marketing plan, it’s going to be one for the books (get it? Since we’re telling a story? We think we’re funny.)

Unfortunately not every theme park has learned to tap into that universal trigger that keeps people thinking about their experience there through the generations. So if you’re a theme park marketer, one of the most important things you can do is focus on the importance of story in everything that represents your brand. And if you need ideas on how to bring that story to life, contact the expert team at our Orlando ad agency to help you navigate the twists and turns of this exhilarating industry!

The Top Questions About Place Branding

Place branding has become a critical tool for municipalities seeking to draw tourist dollars. Here’s what you need to know about how it works and how to implement it.

Do you live in a city — or a destination?

If the answer is the latter, then there is an excellent change that your environment has been “place branded.” Sometimes also called “destination marketing,” place branding follows many of the same rules seen with product marketing and can help nations, states and cities develop a public identity and connect with travelers (or even prospective residents) seeking fresh experiences.

How Place Branding Works

Travel is a critically important industry for municipalities, who must strive to earn their share of a market that’s worth nearly $8 trillion — or 10% of global GDP. Given the enormity of those numbers, it’s no small wonder that cities are hiring marketing agencies that specialize in place branding to help capture their piece of the market.

The truth facing these places is simple: Just as businesses must compete for consumers, locations must compete for people, businesses and the resources they bring.

The core of place branding is the creation of an identity that articulates the unique characteristics and sense of place connecting to a nation, state or city. This identity encapsulates the way a place looks and feels, its attributes and features and the people who live and work within its borders. These elements are then rendered using the usual marketing and advertising toolbox: Slogans, logos, campaigns etc.

Let’s distill that down to a famous example: “Keep Austin Weird,” a slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance. The slogan, which arose organically based on a comment made on a community radio show, is the perfect distillation of the ethos of Austin — a city known for its love of the off-kilter and original within a state that exhibits more traditional values.

“Keep Austin Weird” became enormously popular because it articulated the essence of the place; somewhere you can find independent film and music festivals, outsider artists and mavericks of every stripe. That place branding has helped Austin become the fastest-growing city in the United States.

Tips for Smart Place Branding

Place branding, when executed well, is a self-reinforcing process that provides sustainable benefits. When a place develops a favorable identity, tourists are drawn to visit, and their economic activity helps boost that city’s bottom line, allowing it to pay for infrastructure improvements, amenities, schools etc. In turn, better living conditions create a draw for not only more new residents, but also new businesses. When cities become larger, healthier and more vibrant, they become even more attractive to tourists, and the cycle of positive results continues. 

Creating a campaign that can kickstart that cycle, however, is no small task. When developing a new place branding campaign, it’s important to consider the following:

  •  Create a tagline and logo that can distill the essence of your location into a few short words and images. In most cases, your tagline should gesture toward a fundamental truth about the location you’re describing. If it doesn’t, then your tagline is going to be superficial and won’t resonate. Once you’ve settled on a tagline, it must be formulated in a pithy and memorable fashion.
  • While taglines and logos are important and perhaps the most high-profile elements of a place branding campaign, you also need to think deeply about the fundamental nature of the place you’re branding. Think about the location’s existing public identity. How does people current view the area? Do they think about it at all? How would you like them to think about the area?
  • Place branding should be more than an inventory of the features and attributes of your location. If you’re surrounding by green space and mountains, think about how this environment makes people feel, rather than dwelling on superficial physical characteristics.
  • Once you’ve settled on some branding ideas, interrogate them rigorously. Are your ideas going to resonate with a large and diverse group of people? Is your branding concept original and compelling enough to truly create a fixed identity within the public’s consciousness?
  • Once you’ve settled on a place branding concept, you’ll need to market and advertise through various channels and create a tailored plan to reach the audiences you’re targeting. Yet it’s imperative to view place branding within a larger strategic context. This shouldn’t be a task solely for marketing people. Place branding should be top of mind for urban planners, city managers, architects, officials — everyone who plays a significant role in the operation and promotion of a jurisdiction.

Finding the Right Place Branding Partner

At Bigeye, we’re domain experts in place branding –– and we have the full stack of advertising and marketing tools you need to reach the largest audience possible. Contact us today for more information about how we can help turn your location into a destination.

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Why persona marketing is the key for your tourist destination

Whether guests visit your destination to stay in rustic, canvas yurts under the stars, or pay premium prices to be wined and dined by celebrity chefs and sommeliers — everyone is looking for something that fits their tastes, needs, and lifestyle. Persona marketing helps tourism and hospitality brands define their target audiences and set themselves apart from the competition by honing in on who really wants to visit their destinations. You don’t need to please everyone … you just have to please a select few.

Persona marketing unlocks destination discovery: 

There isn’t a “one size fits all” vacation model. There isn’t even an average standard for what vacations should look like. According to TripBarometer, only 34% of travelers in the United States fall into what is commonly defined as a “traditional,” or mainstream, travel category. The remaining 66% lean toward specialized travel subsets such as adventure or experiential travelers, solo, luxury, or service-oriented vacationers. As a marketer, you simply can’t make broad assumptions about who your target audience may be. You need to get narrow on who is most likely to visit your tourist destination, how they prefer to plan vacations, who they travel with, how they spend, when they go, and what they like. Personas are a great, actionable way to achieve this.

Persona marketing helps brands break away from dangerous generalizations and gain clarity about the demographics of the people most likely to visit their destination. The first thing people often decide when booking a vacation experience is where they want to travel. For this reason, persona marketing can be an especially effective means to promote your destination during this discovery period. For example, Costa Rica has become famous as a prime spot for eco-travelers and nature enthusiasts thanks to the country’s many treehouse resorts, surfing lodges, yoga retreats, zip-line courses, and sustainable tourism efforts. Tourist destinations in Costa Rica can leverage their position within this ecosystem by appealing to the specific personas who find these elements attractive. Knowing – and speaking directly to – the marketing persona that fits this profile allows brands to tailor their efforts to websites, journals, and blogs where viable prospects are already enjoying content. This reduces friction in the discovery process and reduces the amount of effort and time needed to secure a sale.

Tailored merchandising maximizes vacations and revenue:

Once you’ve attracted the attention of a potential persona and have a steady stream of visitors heading to your tourist destination, you can still use persona marketing to tailor the vacation experience on a deeper level. Consider a cruise ship. Cruisers are, in and of themselves, a certain type of travel persona: often, families with disposable annual income of $150K or more who are educated and want to see the world, but don’t want the hassle of planning the nuances of the trip themselves. Yet, within this persona, there are travelers who will naturally fall into a variety of sub-types: those who want to spend every day at the spa, those who want a steady-stream of kid-friendly activities, romantic couples, adventure seekers, water lovers, foodies, and bar flies. Knowing the personas that are attracted to your tourist destination and the nuances of the sub-types within those personas allows you to tailor your merchandising efforts for effectively so you can send spa discounts, dining recommendations, entertainment promotions, and event reminders to the right people at the right times.

Using persona marketing helps you make everyone’s vacation experience feel highly specialized and personal, which augments the tourist experience … and, of course, increases the chances that guests will spend (more) money at your site. In the United States, the majority of travelers cite “treating themselves” as a top priority when traveling, according to the Trekksoft travel blog. They look to sightseeing (53%), special dining (41%), accommodation (41%), activities (35%), and shopping (24%) respectively as the top areas to splurge. Knowing which of these items your guests are most interested in allows you to meet their needs and your bottom line.

Whether you already have a persona marketing strategy, or still need to define who your ideal target audience is, we are here to help. Contact us to learn more about the types of personas that fit your tourist destination. We can work with you to define the market and customer segmentation research needed to build and understand your personas, create a custom marketing plan around their needs, and track the results of how persona marketing can transform your tourist destination.