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by Donna Lewis

Essentially hotels offer a place to stay in a given location, and everyone needs that right? Which means a hotel’s target audience is almost everyone right? Wrong and wrong. Ok, so maybe you already know that your target audience isn’t everyone per se, but truly how specific is the audience you’re targeting? How detailed is your guest profile? Do you even know what your guest persona is?

Let us help raise your awareness of why your marketing and sales tactics might not be working, or working as well as desired.

One of the biggest reasons is typically a lack of a defined guest persona. So let’s get into the details of the what, where, when, why, and how’s of creating and utilizing a guest persona for hotels.

A Defined Guest Persona Gives Direction to Your Marketing and Sales Efforts

Most likely your hotel is already engaging in some amount of marketing, or targeted sales strategy. That’s great! Unfortunately, though, many strategies aren’t developed around a thoroughly thought-out guest persona, which will render many of said marketing and sales efforts wasted.

What: Guest Persona

Simply put, a guest persona is a theoretical outline of the actual people who utilize, or might utilize, the services and/or products you sell (or ones similar to yours). For example, hotels typically cater to a variety of groups such as independent business travelers, a corporate travel managers, event planners, vacationing families, and couples planning their wedding reception. When you gather commonalities for each group, you can then craft your marketing messages to appeal to them. 

How to Create One

This is your chance to truly discover exactly who is going to stay in your hotel, eat at your restaurants, utilize all the hotels outlets, and experience all the wonderful amenities your hotel has to offer. This part is fairly simple – gather data. Demographics, behavioral data, preferences for finding content, where they consume content (i.e. social media channels), how they engage with said content. You need to live, eat, and breathe this persona in order to understand them, and what it will take to close the deal with them, when the time comes.

When to Create One

Immediately. Right away. At the onset of your next marketing strategy or sales event. Today, tonight, or tomorrow. Creating this guest persona and developing an inbound marketing and inbound sales strategy around the persona, is what will bring you the revenue and results you so desire!  Get started with this worksheet, then build out your guest personas as you continually gather information about your guests. You can gather that information through social media, polls, and purchase history. 

Where to Use the Personas

Everywhere you plan to implement marketing. Meaning, any content you create should be created with the personas in mind (by this point you’ll know what their interests are, and how to reach them), and promoted in the channels they’re known to hang out in.  Special offers, packages and promotions are all created around solving the problems and creating solutions for each of your guest personas. 

To summarize, the more aligned your marketing efforts, i.e. content and the like, are to your customers demographics, the more effective your inbound marketing and inbound sales efforts will be. Customer satisfaction will rise, positive reviews will rise, and your bottom line will be alive and well.

Guest personas are essential to your business. Let the competition waste their marketing and sales efforts on groups and individuals not the least bit interested in their services. Be the example it takes other properties years to fashion themselves after. Make 2016 a decisively efficient and prosperous year.

About Donna Lewis

Ms. Lewis is responsible for the development and implementation of the sales, marketing and revenue enhancement strategies for HMG’s diverse portfolio. Donna brings more than 20 years of experience in developing and leading sales teams with Hilton, Westin, Ritz-Carlton and Omni. Donna earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration from the Cal Poly Pomona and attended Law School at Western State School of Law in Fullerton. She holds several industry designations and is active in the hospitality community. Donna’s extensive hospitality career, complemented by her leadership skills and dedication to impeccable guest service, make her an excellent choice to lead HMG’s progressive sales and marketing efforts for their portfolio.

Contact: for media: Amber Berg / 619.808.7788

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