Customer segmentation tells a hotel owner who her guests are and why they stay at her hotel. Customers can be segmented by geography, demographics, benefits and needs. However, the most common customer segmentation in the hotel industry is purchase occasion -- in other words, the reason behind why the guest is traveling.
Business people travel for a variety of reasons -- to attend sales meetings, give presentations, organize events and meet with other members of the company in different locations. The business traveler is conscious of price, but more concerned with a convenient location, ease of access and business-related amenities. Hotels that rely on business travelers have the highest occupancy during the weekdays.
Groups include both leisure travelers and those traveling for business such as for a conference, convention or company meeting. The sales manager at the hotel targets this segment by putting together a package of lodging, meeting rooms and meals for the group. For example, the group might require three nights of lodging for 50 rooms, a meeting room with continental breakfast for each of the days, dinner on one evening and lunches on two of the days. The package is priced for all the services, with discounts usually given on the room rates. Group leisure travelers include weddings guests, school reunions and family reunions. Tour operators are another group of leisure travelers.
Leisure travelers want a safe and secure hotel. Families with children are attracted to hotels with special programs, such as those wherekids stay free in the same room as the parents, eat free in the hotel's restaurant or receive a special amenity package of toys and treats. Some hotels go as far as providing supervised activities for children while the parents participate in sports, go shopping or lounge at the pool. The price range for these customers goes from budget friendly to upscale. The individual or family may be traveling to visit relatives, attend a family event, go on vacation, visit local attractions or for emergency situations such as an illness.
Broaden the hotel's customer niche by offering packages and specials to those outside the traditional niche or at times the hotel isn't busy. A business-oriented hotel could offer romantic weekend packages, or entice guests to stay over through the weekend with a golf package. Special interest groups may be interested in an educational package such as learning a new activity. If the hotel is located close to entertainment venues, offer a package that combines a night of lodging with tickets to the opera, the local professional sports team or the theater.