By Gladys Kong
Human movement data can help hotel and hospitality brands understand their visitors better and provide customized experiences tailored to their needs and wants.
In the past few months, there has been a lot of focus on changing consumer behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it has brought with it. Most audience segments have had to adapt to a changed world and modify their lifestyle. But as vaccination rates increase and restrictions are being lifted in the US and abroad, attention is now on how this next step in the pandemic recovery process might influence consumer behavior. This is especially so for the tourism industry which took a major hit due to closed borders and restrictions on intra and interstate travel.
Data from data intelligence company Near shows that two new audience segments have emerged for the post-pandemic world:
- Covid-Fatigue Audience – Those who are willing to take risks and are more open to travel
- Shielding Audience – The risk averse and who are choosing to travel only for essentials
This means hotels, resorts and destinations will have to modify their business strategy to suit the needs and wants of a new audience. Some destinations in the US have already modified marketing to appeal to a wary traveller segment that is looking for fun but safety at the same time. For example, hotels chains and resorts now require their employees to wear a badge showing their vaccination status and are even offering vaccinations for visitors. While these are short term strategies, the need of the hour for the hotel and tourism industry is data insights on their consumers and what they would want if they had to be encouraged to travel again.
The best source for these kinds of audience insights is the behavior of consumers in the real world and an understanding of where they shop, eat or even enjoy a cup of coffee. And this is where human movement data comes in.
What can Human movement data reveal to hotel and hospitality brands?
- Audience Insights: Human Movement Data can help hotels answer critical questions such as what is the origin of their visitors, what their profile and interests are. With access to this information, the hotel can craft a completely personalised experience for their guests with recommendations on local attractions, restaurants and cafes. If the data reveals that the guests have not travelled much in the past few months and belong to the shielding audience group, a customized itinerary with places to visit that are not crowded or information on times when local attractions are least crowded can be provided. On the other hand, if they belong to the covid-fatigue audience and are willing to explore and visit local attractions, the same can be ensured. Apart from customized experiences when it comes to travel and accommodation, human movement insights can also reveal their brand affinities and food preferences which can help hotels not only offer a delightful stay but also market their offerings better.
- Brand Loyalty: Serving guests better with personalised experiences can help improve and retain brand loyalty. Near’s data reveals that consumers are more open to experimentation than ever, and in this situation, retaining brand loyalty could be crucial for businesses. Americans are increasingly looking to discover destinations within the country or even their own state. With Human movement data, brands can understand what travellers today are attracted to most and offer similar experiences at their destinations. Competitive insights can help hotels ensure they continue to rival or offer the experiences that are trending right now.
- Travel Insights: Human movement Data also helps brands understand how much time guests are looking to spend at local attractions or what kind of local attraction they might prefer based on age and gender. For example, Near’s tourism report reveals that tourists between the ages of 36-45 were more inclined towards visiting National Parks while tourists of the age 18-25 preferred amusement parks and other attractions. Another trend that the data revealed is that guests are looking at travelling during the weekdays more than weekends and prefer longer holidays to short weekend stays. With work from home still expected to continue, hotels could also provide meeting rooms or a shared workspace that could attract working professionals.
- Identify and Target Audiences: Another key insight that the data shows is that the duration of stay for tourists that visit the tourist attractions that are located in the same state in which they live is considerably less. Travellers were willing to spend more money and time in destinations that were not located close to their place of residence. For example, travellers to Oahu from California visited for longer durations than those from Hawaii in 2021. This can help hotels and destinations market to the right audience, create custom offerings for different audience segments and improve marketing RoI while driving sales.
Human movement Insights will be critically important in the near future especially for the tourism industry as brands and destinations look to recover from effects of the pandemic and drive growth. Brands must look to partnering with a trusted data intelligence provider that can provide these insights while ensuring privacy compliance.