In the past, hoteliers relied on basic demographics, such as age, gender, race, geography, income, and the like, to appeal to guests. Recently, though, marketing research has refocused on psychographics, which crafts a guest experience based on personality characteristics and attitudes shaping a person’s lifestyle and purchasing behavior. Now, hoteliers work to create a highly personalized guest profile that hones an individual guest’s preferences down to the letter. This is uncannily similar to how a sketch artist’s pencil etches its subject’s physical features—right down to the contours of the face and the wrinkles in the skin, as well as other distinguishing personal characteristics.

So, the next hotel industry marketing measurement—coined by Doug Shifflet, CEO and founder of D.K. Shifflet & Associates Ltd., a prominent research firm in the industry—is “personal-ographics.”

“This gets down to a smaller group, such as business or leisure travelers, until you get to the individual,” he says. “It enables you to understand a specific set of needs for a specific hotel guest, reach out to the guest and provide the constellation of services they desire, and save money on services they do not desire.”

The idea, Shifflet says, is to seamlessly give a particular guest all the amenities for which they’re looking without them having to ask. Therefore, Shifflet—a former corporate vice president for Marriott—says hotel marketing has evolved from marketing to a type of guest to marketing to a specific guest. The end goal for hoteliers is finding out as much as possible about an individual guest, he says.

And, the more frequently a guest stays with a certain hotel or hotel chain, the easier it becomes to glean information. “A well-run hotel pays a lot of attention to its guests,” Shifflet explains. “Employees within a single hotel or across a hotel chain should communicate with each other about a guest’s personal preferences, which can then be entered into a database that is pulled up every time a guest returns.”

Get the full story at Lodging Magazine