How Hoteliers Can Earn the Loyalty of U.S. Hispanic Travelers
Emotional Connection is Key
By Lisa Ross President & Partner, rbb Communications | October 15, 2017
The U.S. Hispanic market is growing in both size and purchasing power, and it is an audience that should be top of mind for major hotel brands. As the largest ethnic minority in the country, this group of 57.5 million represents 17.8 percent of the total population, and is projected to increase to a whopping 28.3 percent by 2060. And with annual hotel openings tripling over the past five years, it makes sense to look at new guest segments to fill all those new rooms.
Taking more vacations across every income level and spending more, nearly $300 per trip, U.S. Hispanics are a smart consumer segment to pursue. Coupled with their buying power, which is projected to top 1.7 trillion dollars in 2017, the call-to-action for hoteliers is clear: Find a way to create genuine connections with this group.
Key Motivations Behind U.S. Hispanic Travel
No matter the business, understanding your customer is vital to earning their interest and loyalty. However, unlike other industries currently experiencing disruption from technological advances, e.g. Amazon vs. brick-and-mortar retailers or Uber vs. taxis, travel planning is based on emotional drivers as much as convenience. Reaching the travel decision makers and influencing their thought process prior to booking is key. So, what should hotels do to court the growing and influential U.S. Hispanic guest? The first step is to understand what makes this group unique.
Here are some facts: U.S. Hispanics have a greater curiosity to see the world compared to their fellow Americans. Research conducted by Wakefield Research and Hampton by Hilton, revealed a key travel motivator for the segment: A thirst for experiences and discovery. In fact, 90 percent of U.S. Hispanics would travel for a year without pay if money were not a concern. The study showed that 65 percent of U.S. Hispanics valued experiences over material things when it comes to their bucket lists. In the hospitality industry, especially, creating memorable customer experiences that get talked about is key to standing out amongst competitors and building long-term customer loyalty, which fuels word of mouth marketing.
Additionally, children in U.S. Hispanic families have a 16 percent greater influence on vacation decisions compared to non-Hispanic families. And, for the most part, while millennials have shown to be less brand loyal, that is not the case with this audience. Bicultural Hispanics in the U.S. (first- or second-generation Americans who identify with U.S. culture as well as their Hispanic heritage) have proven to be more brand loyal than less acculturated Hispanics, a reverse in traditional thinking regarding consumer segments.