Have you ever wondered how some hotels manage to get raving reviews from happy customers over and over again?
If yes, today’s article is for you.
You’ll learn all about creating customer profiles that help you target the right customers. This, in turn, creates customer loyalty, higher returns on your marketing and sales investments and helps you stand out from your competition.
Interested in learning more? Read on to find out how you can create a hotel customer profile that helps you attract your ideal customers.
Why do you need a customer profile?
Did you know that on average, 98% of website visitors abandon hotel website booking funnels? So if you have 100 people entering your booking funnel, 98 will abandon it. While you’ll always have a certain abandonment rate, a lot can be done to improve it.
How? By effectively communicating the value you bring to your customers. And to figure out what you should communicate (and what your customer value), you need a customer profile.
Plus, you’ll be able to create better marketing. Today, there are plenty of powerful tools you can use to personalize your marketing and communicate your message to the right customers, like Facebook ads and sophisticated email marketing funnels. With a customer profile, you can use these tools in a cost-effective way.
So, now you know why you need a customer profile. Next, we’ll look at what a customer profile is, how you create one and how you can use it.
What is a customer profile?
In short, a customer profile is a portrait of your customer that explains a customer segment. A customer profile includes a name, a photo, and a description. It’s an overview of who your customer is.
However, a customer profile is not based on assumptions. You see, it’s easy to assume you know your customers. But to make informed decisions, you need to base your customer profiling on real data that you get through research.
How do you create a hotel customer profile?
So, what data do you need to create a customer profile?
You want to include as much relevant data as possible. And with ‘relevant’, we mean data that helps you create an offer to your target customer in a way that speaks to his/her expectations.
This might include demographics, your customer’s mindset, obstacles, objections and other behavioral drivers. By pinpointing your customer, you can then create the right marketing material.
For example, you might find out that your target customer is a 60+ year old from California who wants a comfortable stay and is willing to pay extra for service. Perfect- this is invaluable information when you decide how to direct your marketing message to your customers and what you should include in it. However, notice that you’ll want to be more specific than this in your research. So, find out as much relevant data as possible.
But how do you find relevant data for your customer profile?
There are several ways you can collect data:
- Conversations with your customers
- Phone calls
- Online research, such as reviews of hotels that are similar to yours
- Your hotel booking data
- Your website data
If you lack this data, you can start with an assumption. In this case, you use data you have access to (such as online research) and build your profile based on what you find. But, it’s important to start collecting more data as soon as possible and use that to adjust the profile.
Here’s what a customer profile might look like:
Comment: Use an example name or if you can’t think of anything, John or Jane Doe.
Comment: Use an age that represents your customers, such as “60 years old”.
Comment: Is your customer male or female? If you have a 50/50 gender ratio, choose one of them.
Comment: Where is your typical customer located? For example: “New York City”.
What goals do customers have in terms of the solution they’re looking for (finding the right hotel for their stay)?
What do your customers value in the solution they pick?
What words would your customers use to talk about their problem?
What challenges do they have when selecting a solution?
How do you use your hotel customer profile?
When you’ve created your customer profile, it’s time to put it into action.
So how do you best use your customer profile? The short answer is: Use it in all your marketing material to attract the right customers.
In your ads, your TripAdvisor profile and on your website, you communicate what your hotel offers and highlight the things you know your customers appreciate. And to get site visitors to go through with their booking, you address their objections to make the process easier for them.
For example, if your hotel is perfect for families, you might highlight your garden and swimming pool if your research shows that those are things your customers value. Or, you might highlight restaurants and museums nearby if you know your customers value them.
But, you can also use this information to improve your hotel’s services and amenities. For example, your research might show that your customers are willing to pay more if you include a breakfast in the room price. So that might be an amenity you include to help customers make their decision whether they should book your hotel or not.
Want some examples? These hotel profiles on Booking.com are doing a great job in terms of speaking to their customers:
This hotel lists amenities guests might be interested in. Notice how it mentions a shared kitchen and a nearby restaurant? For their ideal guests, some of their objections are removed. If they’re interested in meeting other travelers and/or having an authentic experience in a French restaurant, this might be just the hotel they were looking for.
This hotel does a good job at appealing to people who are on a business trip or enjoy convenience, like a great location and WiFi. The description paints a picture of a historical Venetian property – just what tourists interested in history might appreciate.
On a ski trip? Have a mental image of how you cozy up next to a fireplace or take a relaxing bath in a hot tub? You just found your hotel.
Conclusion: A customer profile helps you get ahead
That’s it- now you know how to create a hotel customer profile.
It all comes down to figuring out who your customer is and why they buy from you. Remember that your customer profile can change over time because consumer preferences change. So, to ensure your hotel serves its customers, keep gathering data on a continuous basis.
You’re always one step ahead.
Camilla Hallstrom is a freelance writer based in Berlin, Germany. Camilla is a contributor to publications such as The Huffington Post and Elite Daily. Say hi on Twitter: @c_hallstrom.