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7 Types of Hotel Guests and How to Appeal to Them

Updated: Apr 18, 2021

Knowing your guest personas is key to devising a marketing strategy that resonates with the right customer and results in more bookings. A guest persona, put simply, is a biography of the typical guest your property attracts. In this blog post, we cover a handful of different types of hotel guests you might encounter and explore how to effectively target them in your marketing efforts.

Discover 7 types of hotel guests and how to appeal to them:

1. Business (or bleisure) traveler

Business travellers are guests on a mission and they’re in town for one purpose: work. They’re not there to see the sights, but they will be interested in local restaurants and coffee shops they can use for business and personal purposes. Typically, their days are long and full of meetings. More than likely, they’ll want to come back to their rooms to relax and have a quiet meal before doing it all over again the next day.

Bleisure travelers, while also in town for work, make time in their schedules for more leisure and tourist activities. They might extend their work trip into a long weekend and have a mini-vacation before heading back home. These types of guests will require the same services as business travellers, and also amenities they can enjoy during their off-hours.

How to appeal to them:

Highlight local co-working spaces or restaurants where business travellers can work or have meetings. Post photos and information about how you’ve adapted the in-room office to accommodate those who want to work from the safety of their rooms.

Extend the negotiated discounted room rate through the weekend, or add a few days pre-conference to encourage guests to stay longer or arrive early, and even bring additional guests with them. Create a “bleisure” package that includes things like discounted spa treatments, special custom room service, and a tasting menu from the hotel restaurant. Work with local attractions and businesses to offer things like discounts at local restaurants and shops or tickets to a museum or a show.

2. Event attendees

Event attendees can be a mixture of business and bleisure travellers. Some might want to attend the conference and relax alone in their rooms, and others might be looking to explore the city more in their off hours. Most of the time, event attendees are looking to network with others and will seek entertainment after the conclusion of the day’s events. This is where you as a hotel can set yourself apart from the competition and provide unique experiences for attendees that they can only get by staying at your property.

How to appeal to them:

Organise receptions and other social activities for event attendees and include it as an add-on to their reservation. These can include things like a poolside happy hour, a mixer at a local restaurant or bar, a dinner cruise, or other group activities at a local attraction. Provide special deals and incentives for event attendees who also choose to stay at your hotel, like discounts on additional nights or an exclusive dining experience at the chef’s table of your hotel restaurant.

3. Boomers

The Boomer generation is of, or nearing, retirement age, and they often have a higher travel budget than other types of guests. According to an AARP survey, Boomers in 2019 planned to take 4-5 leisure trips on which they’d spend over $6,600. Boomers also tend to make their travel arrangements through hotel loyalty programs, with 65% saying they always or mostly use the program when booking a trip.

According to the survey, the most popular trip types for 2019 were summer vacations, weekend getaways, and multi-generational travel. During their trip, they want to connect with locals and have an authentic experience, especially over meals and on sightseeing tours. Differing from other younger generations, Boomers are more likely to unplug during their trips and won’t spend time working. Because of this, they’re also less likely to be a part of the bleisure travel trend that mixes work and vacation.

How to appeal to them:

Arrange sightseeing tours led by locals and partner with restaurants to offer exclusive dining experiences native to your city. Emphasize your on-property amenities geared toward rest and relaxation, like the pool or spa. Add extra perks and rewards into your loyalty program to encourage travel, like earning additional nights or triple the number of points during a certain timeframe.

4. Millennials

According to a 2020 travel trend report from Preferred Hotels, Millennials are more likely to take “micro-cations” — shorter vacations — because they can better fit into their work-focused lifestyles. Generation Z is probably not far behind in this trend as well; a Priceline survey found that Gen Z has the worst work-life balance. Micro-cations also allow for seeing more destinations because Millennials can take multiple micro-cations in a year instead of a single long trip.

As an experience-focused age group, Millennials are looking for unique trips that allow them to meld with the local culture and try new things. One study found that 75% of Millennials want travel experiences where they can learn something new. Another survey found that 55% of Millennials would partake in the “bleisure” travel trend of extending a business trip into a vacation.

How to appeal to them:

Don’t just market your hotel. Market your destination. Focus on authentic cultural and local experiences that can only be found in your city. Pull together a list of activities and excursions that encompass all of the local highlights and attractions and can fit into a shorter weekend trip or an extension of a business trip.

Post unique pictures of your hotel and your destination on social media, and promote any interesting events or festivals taking place. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly – millennials tend to research and book hotels from their smartphones. If your website isn’t fast-loading and easy to navigate, you could lose them to another hotel’s site that offers a better user experience.

5. Gen Z

Generation Z is anyone born after 1995, and it encompasses approximately 32% of the global population. Like Millennials, they crave immersive and experiential travel. However, they stray away from the typical Instagram-famous landmarks and are in search of something new and more authentic. Gen Z is budget-conscious, but will spend more if it means they can experience life like a local.

“Flashpacking,” a Gen Z travel trend, is like backpacking, but more upscale. This type of traveler is a digital nomad with many devices, who prefers things like a private room, air conditioning, and restaurant meals. Gen Z travellers are also foodies — 35% prioritize food experiences and 94% research where to eat before they leave on their trip, according to McCrindle research. Volunteering and being environmentally conscious are also drivers for Gen Z travel decisions, and they gravitate toward sustainable brands that demonstrate similar values.

Instagram is the No. 1 platform for travel inspiration among Gen Z, with 50% saying it’s the platform they look to for inspiration. Online influencers also play a role in this digital generation’s travel decisions. “The influencers who truly make an impact are the ones who have carved out their niche, know their audience, and tell compelling stories, aligning themselves with relevant brands,” said Katrina Barry, Contiki Australia’s managing director, in an article for CMO by Adobe.

How to appeal to them:

The most effective way to attract Gen Z travellers is by taking a more targeted and personalized approach.

As a hotel, market your hotel and city as destinations that can give the “foodie flashpackers” the authentic local flair they’re looking for. Offer options for volunteering or getting involved in the community so Gen Zers can have the chance to mingle with locals and give back.

Bulk up your social media presence with photos that demonstrate the unique experiences Gen Zers can have at your property. To get a foothold with this generation, conduct some social media research and seek out influencers who can be brand ambassadors for you. Create retargeting ads segmented specifically to entice Gen Zers. Direct them to a specific page on your website that shows your organized off-site excursions, boutique-style rooms, award-winning restaurant, or volunteering opportunities.

6. Families

Many Millennials are now parents, and as experienced travellers, they want to share the same adventures with their kids. The same AARP study referenced above found that there is also a rise among multi-generational travel, as it was one of the top three trip types planned by both Millennials and Boomers for 2019. According to the same survey, slightly more Millennials than Boomers planned family-oriented trips.

How to appeal to them:

With families and multi-generational trips, there will likely be differing styles of travel and preferences within the group. The key is to have something for everyone. Offer babysitting services or a list of family care services in the area. Be prepared with kid- and family-friendly attractions and activities, like discounted vouchers for the zoo, aquarium, or museums.

Think like a parent and provide in-room amenities that can keep the youngsters occupied, like kits with games, books, and fun snacks. Highlight your on-property amenities like the pool or your proximity to the beach or parks.

Families that travel together want to have shared experiences. An article from Trivago suggests hosting a kids club, a family game night, or investing in family-friendly amenities like a kids library, mini-golf course, or complimentary pool toys.

7. Health and wellness travellers

Aside from travellers in general being more aware of cleaning and sanitisation due to COVID-19, wellness travellers are those who are taking a trip to promote their own health and wellbeing. This type of traveler will most likely be interested in relaxation, detoxing, and practicing healthy habits during their trip. Some will be more concerned with physical wellbeing, so things like fitness and outdoor excursions will be important to them. Others will be focused on mental wellbeing, so meditation rooms and complimentary access to apps like Headspace could be appealing.

Because of the pandemic, more people will be looking for staycation-type trips focused on self-care. According to a recent survey by Morning Consult for AHLA, 44% of Americans are planning leisure travel or an overnight stay in the near future. Of those, 72% are planning an overnight vacation within driving distance of their home over the next five months. As such, hotels should focus their marketing efforts on guests within driving distance.

How to appeal to them:

Become certified for your cleaning protocol and post the certification in a visible place in your lobby, and publish your health and safety precautions on your website. Guests will be researching the hotel they’re staying at ahead of time, and it’s in your best interest to show that your cleanliness is top-of-the-line.

Offer amenities for wellness-minded travellers, like yoga classes, fitness centers, workout sessions, spa treatments, guided meditations, hikes, and healthy dining options. Create holistic wellness packages with amenities like superfoods and healthy meal options, access to local outdoor attractions and parks, walking or hiking tours, detoxing spa treatments, and other mindfulness practices.

DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago, for example, has guest rooms with 11 different types of gym equipment so guests can exercise from the comfort and safety of their own rooms. As another example, Hyatt is collaborating with Headspace to offer guests access to the app’s mindfulness exercises, guided meditations, and sleep content within Hyatt’s app or on in-room TVs. Hyatt also is offering on- and off-property events and excursions like rooftop yoga classes, private beekeeping lessons, and guided maps for outdoor walking paths.

Put this list of types of hotel guests to good use!

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