Much like every other industry, customers are now in control of hospitality. Hotels must cater to consumers or they risk poor reviews online. Customers know that without them, businesses are nothing, and this mindset must steer corporations to be customer focused.
The good news about consumers being in the driver’s seat is that identifying trends in their likes and dislikes is easy. With interests in technology, travel and authentic experiences, hotels are in a unique position to meet every demand of their customers, but without a marketing and customer service strategy clearly spelled out, organizations in the hospitality industry could miss some critical opportunities to please their patrons.
Let’s take a look at some current consumer trends and identify how your hotel can use them as leverage for marketing and customer services, as well as point out the role that print plays in these initiatives.
As millennials start to grow up and fill real jobs, they have money to spend and will definitely create budgets that include travel expenses. However, Skift’s report titled “Evolution of Local in Hospitality in 2015” indicated that local travel now defines trips for all demographics. The source noted that delivering a local experience is expected by consumers, so many hotels are partnering with their communities to implement creative disruption and innovation in regard to marketing.
“Local travel now defines trips for all demographics.”
When you think about local advertising, there are only a few methods that truly stick out as reliable ways to attract consumers: posters, flyers and mailings. Millennials will respond better to posters placed around their local hangouts, which is great for smaller hotels to convince a younger generation to take some time off.
Alternatively, hoteliers can mail flyers and other advertising materials to Baby Boomers’ homes, and with some nicely printed shots of hotel rooms and amenities, that generation may be inspired to look locally when choosing vacation destinations.
Skift’s report also highlighted a demand for an “authentic travel experience,” and this consumer trend has seeped into every aspect of hospitality and tourism. As such, many large companies are developing new branded efforts and launching different marketing initiatives that align with this desire, which will hopefully set them apart from competitors.
The source specifically used the term “boutique” to define modern designs that attract vacation-goers. In that regard, hospitality and tourism brands can print brochures, catalogs and other materials that reflect authenticity. Don’t use marketing jargon, but rather engage consumers on a personal level by sympathizing with their wants and desires. Simply put, an easy-to-read flyer without bells and whistles might prove more valuable than a flashy one.
While we’re talking about appealing on a personal level, it would be foolish to leave out the importance of personalization, especially in a service industry such as hospitality. AdWeek reported that this trend is the biggest for hoteliers, as they continue to collect large amounts of data via the Internet and internal systems. The bottom line is that customers want their behaviors catered to whether they know it or not.
The source suggested creating personas in order to specify which visitors require which services. In that regard, training your staff members to quickly identify both personas and certain individuals will go a long way. However, don’t forget to teach them that each customer will want different things – i.e. millennials tend to want Wi-Fi access, while Baby Boomers might want more friendly staff members. A few training materials will do far more in the long run than a simple oral presentation.
At the end of the day, hoteliers need to be creative and up to date with promoting local, authentic and personal traveling experiences. The best place to start is in print, but you already know that, right?
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