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07/23/2015

How Hotels Can Better Target the Bleisure Traveler

Have you discerned the many faces of your bleisure customers? Hotels want to intelligently target deals to the right traveler, however, people travel in different contexts, and so a single traveler profile is actually made up of multiple ‘personas’ defined by the context of their trip. A woman travelling to a business conference, for example, will want options such as express check-in; the same woman who extends her stay to enjoy some relaxation time will be thinking about the hotel spa facilities. 
   
What can hoteliers do to get the right deal to the right persona – and what’s holding them back from succeeding? Newmarket, an Amadeus company, looks at some of the common problems and solutions below.

Elastic pricing  
Price elasticity and flexible payment options are attractive for bleisure travellers, as this reflects the fact that business guests will (usually) be paying for leisure activities out of their own pocket. 
Behind flexible payment options, however, comes an even more important step: understanding which customers come from which distribution channels – and targeting packages accordingly. Failing to appreciate the nuances between personas can lead to mistakes: expecting business travellers to pay for the privilege of using hotel wifi when they are stuck in an all-day conference, for example, will result in a room full of very annoyed people. Packages devised by brand or revenue managers for bleisure guests can be hard to promote equally across all channels.
 
Granular pricing
The problem described above – travellers unable to take advantage of the promotions designed specifically for them – has a solution. The answer is to manage hotel inventory and pricing at a much more granular level. This means allowing each and every valuable component – whether that’s a specific type of bed, a late checkout or a ‘grab and go’ breakfast – to be priced and offered in different combinations via different channels. This will give guests even more personalization opportunities and will allow hoteliers to optimize pricing and revenues based on what guests really value. And most importantly, travellers and bookers will be able to clearly see the differences between each package and understand the pricing breakdown.  

Personalized pricing
An individual hotel needs the technical ability to recognize customers who have already stayed at another property in the chain. Sharing data between properties will provide insights into a guest’s preferences, and this will help gauge the context in which they are travelling: a hotel can compare and contrast the parameters of their previous visit with their latest booking – what’s changed, and what’s the same? For completely new customers, hotels can still look at booking data before they arrive to glean some valuable insights.  
However, this is an ideal – and often less-than-realistic – scenario. The truth of the matter is that many hotel chains simply aren’t able to share data across properties. The solution is to centrally store and manage this information instead of keeping it in silos. On the other hand, there is a problem with some booking channels, in that they do not collect the breadth of information hoteliers need to deliver a personalized experience, or do not have the processes or systems in place to share this information effectively with the hotel property. The result is a disconnect between the amount of personal information the customer feels they have provided (to the distributor); and what the hotel actually receives and can use. This raises expectations in the customer that the hotel can’t always meet.