Demographic information from convention and visitors bureaus, third-parties, or even your own central reservation system is easily accessible, but doesn’t give you a good picture of the nuances of your complex target market. Demographics won’t tell you the “whys for buys,” or why a consumer would be motivated to choose one brand over another.
Psychographics, or lifestyle information, and behavioral information, however, give you a much closer look at purchasing behaviors and also usage occasions (when consumers choose to purchase a product). Lifestyle is our pattern of living and it’s usually measured in marketing studies by AIO variables, or Activities, Interests, and Opinions. If enough members of your target market have similar activities, interests, and opinions, you can create a lifestyle profile that will give you a much more complete understanding of who that customer is, and more importantly, the things that would attract them to the property over a competitor’s.
Behavioral segmentation also helps. That would be the “why” someone chooses your property for usage occasions. Is it for weddings, conferences, romantic weekend getaways? In addition to telling us more about the customer, it also gives us information about the kinds of products, services, and design features they expect. It also helps us figure out better ways in which we can communicate with them so that it will resonate with them and hopefully drive their demand.
Now how can you get this kind of information? Well, one way to do it is hire a market research firm to do a lifestyle profile or a psychographic study, but of course this costs money, and it takes time. There happens to be, though, very rich information that’s readily available today for free, and that’s through social media.
Customers who are traveling to a destination often will have very detailed online conversations about what they seek and the kinds of activities they enjoy before they even make a decision on where to stay. If you’re able to pull down this information, aggregate it, and analyze it, you can come up with a psychographic profile of the potential target market. The challenge is figuring out what from that social media conversation is most relevant.