Hotel Demographics Are Dead: Now What?
By H. Stuart Foster Vice President, Global Brand Marketing, Hilton | June 04, 2017
Like never before, marketers are competing for attention. Snapchat Spectacles, Instagram Stories, 360-degree videos and Facebook Live are all helping fill consumers' free time. So, as marketers, how do we use all the data now available to figure out how to get the right stories out on social media, smartphones, tablets and other channels? And how do we make our content interesting enough to compete with the fad du jour occupying people's minds? I challenge myself and my team to think about three key means to earn attention in today's marketplace.
1. Know Your Audience
The time has come to officially retire the term "demographics" from every marketer's vocabulary. Demographics are dead, because the way marketers think about their audiences today is completely different than it was 15 or even 5 years ago. Instead of simply relying on age, race or income, marketers now have access to big data and analytics. This gives us more power to understand consumers' hospitality-related needs, so we can pinpoint with greater accuracy which guests would welcome little touches such as fresh cookies upon arrival or spa-like amenities in bathrooms.
Today we have the ability to segment audiences beyond demographic labels by thinking about mindsets – the complex mix of expectation, individuality and needs that personify a customer of any generational cohort, any ethnicity, any income level. For global companies, this is especially important – we need to connect with travelers wherever they are, in whatever frame of mind they're in at a given time.
Marketers now have more information about their audiences than ever before, which helps them better understand the brands these customers favor and how they intersect with their daily lives. And, with more than 205 billion emails, more than 4 million Facebook "likes" and more than 347,200 tweets issued per minute, it's safe to say those audiences are inundated and selective about the content they focus on most.
That means marketers need to be personal and customized in every communication. In fact, according to a 2016 survey by Accenture, 75 percent of people are more likely to purchase from a company that recognizes their unique needs, which may evolve based on a trip occasion or other life circumstance. This proves that a one-size-fits-all approach (even one based on demographic data) just won't cut it anymore.
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