By Adam Mogelonsky, Larry Mogelonsky

The landscape of a hotel’s future is undergoing a substantial shift, transcending the traditional divisions of leisure, corporate and group guests. This recognition is well established among hoteliers, yet the prevailing challenge stems from the abundance of information. Legacy systems, entrenched and costly to integrate, coexist with fragmented guest profiles trapped within data silos. Nonetheless, the imperative for system unification and cohesive guest profiles, particularly within the realm of enterprise-level operations, is making big wins and will continue to do so well into 2024.

Newly emerging segments like bleisure offer a new way to boost revenue per guest as well as LOS. For reference, this segment characterizes those guests whose initial purpose is business-related but who extend their stay to explore the locale or indulge in a property’s offerings. Similarly, workcations have surfaced in the wake of the pandemic, describing knowledge workers opting for a change of setting—swapping their home office for a nearby hotel to complete remote projects. Then, there are the unencumbered digital nomads, embracing an itinerant lifestyle void of traditional office confines.

These emerging trends are converging precisely when the hospitality industry yearns for an influx of guests and diversification of guest profiles to buffer any coming storm. There’s likely to be some sort of reactionary tightening of discretionary spending—especially in the realm of vacations—in the near future after the summer of full-blown revenge travel, so best to find ways to attenuate anything unpredictability like this.

Nonetheless, the overarching trajectory for the remainder of this decade underscores an expanded valuation of travel experiences across all demographic spectra. However, guest behaviors and preferences have undergone radical transformations since the pandemic that present challenges for traditional ways of sourcing revenue. There’s a gradual erosion of brand loyalty while the escalating expense of top-of-funnel marketing both necessitate heightened attention towards precise psychographic targeting – an approach that taps into nuanced market niches like bleisure. Furthermore, with operational costs on the rise, hotels must enhance revenue per guest (TRevPAR) by means of strategic bundling, upselling and cross-selling of amenities.

In essence, this form of segmentation represents an endeavor to attain a comprehensive understanding of the customer (KYC), enabling hotels to optimize performance while circumventing undue expenditure. Segmentation empowers brands to identify lucrative sales channels, pinpoint guest categories that contribute to high TRevPAR, foresee service requisitions, and adopt nimble, cost-effective marketing strategies.

Consider these examples of how technology-driven segmentation can amplify revenue optimization:

  • When employing OTAs, is it smart to allocate the advertising budget towards Expedia or Booking? Analyzing internal systems may reveal, for instance, that while Expedia generates more bookings, Booking boasts a bigger LOS and more substantial F&B.
  • Imagine a peak summer weekend at a seasonal property, historically occupied by high-TRevPAR leisure couples. However, this year, a wedding group reservation has been secured by the sales manager, guaranteeing group occupancy but potentially yielding lower per-guest expenditure.
  • Suppose you aim to craft an exclusive wine lover package for past guests with a history of package purchases, welcome amenity acquisitions or restaurant expenditures. Yet, executing this dynamically hinges upon the integration of POS data with guest profiles from PMS, CRS or guest experience management system (GEMS).

Accurate predictions for these complex segment-to-segment scenarios mandate the continual integration of data into a central repository, a task of increasing significance executed efficiently with minimal labor demands.

The challenge for bleisure segmentation is even more intricate, demanding a shift from the conventional behavior of business travelers who swiftly complete their agenda and depart. Overcoming this hurdle necessitates contextual data—insights into how and when conversions occur along the customer journey. For instance, a business guest may reserve a room months in advance but only engage with an upgrade offer seven days before arrival. Alternatively, automated prearrival email-based upselling might prove ineffective, whereas SMS offers dispatched three days prior exhibit higher conversion rates.

Procuring and differentiating contextual data of this nature requires a well-coordinated technological framework to avoid overburdening reservations or revenue teams. Nonetheless, the enduring advantages are substantial. Establishing a foothold in the bleisure segment, deciphering guest motivations for purchasing, enables the extrapolation of these methods and systems to other segments.

Foremost, we emphasize that the future of hotel operations will be progressively shaped by the pursuit of augmented TRevPAR and more nuanced KYC, facilitating the micro-targeting of specific audiences. Bleisure serves as a compelling entry point for this overarching endeavor, primed to invigorate midweek and off-peak revenues—a welcome boost for most establishments.