Domestic tourism is being predicted to see the fastest comeback after any tourism crisis. Once people are physically able to travel we would expect to see domestic travellers making the journeys first due to a lingering worry or logistical issues with international travellers. Legislation and logistics is one thing but customer confidence is a different kettle of fish entirely.
With that in mind, this is the second article in our mini-series on how we can make sure that we get the most out of the bounce we are expecting to see in domestic tourism. This article will focus on developing buyer personas for domestic travel so they can act as a lens through which you can evaluate your new market positioning.
Below we will talk through 4 key questions to keep in mind when building these personas.
1. What is your product?
Whilst the domestic bounce will allow hotels to breathe they will still need to ensure that what they offer appeals to a domestic market. If you are interested in this in more detail have a look at our recent article by Harry Fielder and Steve Lowy on how to optimise your hotel product to capitalise on this.
However, generally, we are looking for packages that will differentiate your offering from other properties in your area or experiences that a customer will be tempted by, as an alternative to a trip abroad.
By clearly defining the product, we will be able to tap into various elements and map them to travel triggers in our target audiences. Persona development and product development are often a little chicken-or-egg, however it’s important to keep revisiting each in a feedback loop to constantly ensure our product matches what our personas want and vice versa.
Once you have made this clear (the first time around) you will be able to progress to the next phase of developing your persona.
What are the key pain points that your demographic is going to have post-lockdown?
- Cabin fever
- Homeschooling for too long
- Ongoing concern for elderly relatives and not wanting to go far
- Risk of another lockdown
- Financial concerns over redundancy?
2. Why do people come to your hotel?
A good hotel may have a number of reasons people visit it. A few examples of this are below.
This could be as a standalone destination; if you have a name restaurant, a prestigious brand or a unique offering, this will play to your advantage. Even if you don’t, tailoring your packages or working with local suppliers could create a product people are looking to travel for.
Often people will visit when they are coming to visit relatives, especially after a crisis situation this will be a big driver as people look to reconnect as soon as they can. Offering parking included, or pet-friendly rooms will help to target these users and this will be useful to keep in mind when setting keywords.
Is the location a tourist attraction or hotspot? Sometimes the location sells the hotel and you will have people looking for “hotels near…”. In this case, it is worth thinking about whether this will be the same for domestic tourists as international?
This question will influence the sort of content and the method of marketing you look to attract customers with.
3. Where is your hotel’s key market located?
How far away do guests normally come from? If we look at two Manchester-based hotels, one might tend to draw in customers from the local area having a weekend in the city, the other might be a location people will visit from much further afield but locals will tend to just visit for a drink or dinner.
Will people be using their annual leave to go on breaks to your location from across the country instead of an international break, or will it tend to be 2 night stays over the weekend?
This question will influence what message you show to users in different areas. Do you show a dinner message to locals and a stay message further afield?
4. What else are your hotel’s guests interested in?
You might see a lot of your guests coming for culinary reasons, or for a sporting ground near the hotel, or because there is a theatre. If you know your guests you will be able to get a good idea of what sort of interests to target to expand your reach and widen the potential bookers list.
Once you have an idea of interests this will influence the interest groups you target as well as your ad placements.
If these guidelines are followed, you should see clear personas developing and this will massively help you allocate your ad spend as well as plan your marketing strategy.