5 Ways to Attract Health and Community Minded Guests

By Rani Bhattacharyya Community Economics Extension Educator , University of Minnesota Extension- Center for Community Vitality | July 07, 2013

In a way, the economic recession that many of us still are struggling to rebound from has also provided the US and other travel markets ample opportunity to discover and celebrate all the hidden hospitable gems and recreational treasures that have been operating in our own backyards. At the same time, the current travel market has also experienced a significant increase in the over-50 guest population. This trend in turn, has started to influence the types of hospitality services and consumer products that are being offered at both lodging and food service facilities.

The question of competitiveness now facing facility managers is not only how to re-connect with travelers planning to recreate again closer to home; but also requires us to carefully consider how a facility wants to re-position itself in both the over-50 and under-50 market segments.

To explore this question a bit further, I will start off by reviewing the need-based assumptions that hospitality professionals should to keep mind while targeting and servicing the increasingly divergent age groups of the US consumer market. Once these differences are clarified, I will then go on to outline a few reasons why a Corporate Social Responsibility plan, and facility management improvement plans can help hospitality professionals meet these challenging and demanding needs of their guests. Third, I will also try to highlight the importance of marketing and capitalizing on your sustainability efforts within prospective markets by citing a few online and paper examples of successful promotional tools that have developed over the last decade.

Keep in mind that the resources I will review developed in response to the specific informational needs that travelers have started to assert concerning their personal health, community and environmental interests.

In closing, I will also review a few management strategies that facility managers have been using to increase their ROI while entering these niche markets in a sustainable and incremental way. By reviewing these five aspects of hospitality service management, I hope this article can provide a few sparks of inspiration and innovation on the part of both your management team and frontline staff while they continue to serve each of these unique traveler niche markets as they develop.

Listen Well to Your Current Market Segments' Needs

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.