Many travel businesses start out thinking that the ideal client for their travel brand is anyone and everyone.
After all, when you consider that almost 90% of the world’s population takes part in travel, why wouldn’t you want to appeal to as many people as possible?
The answer is very simple.
When you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.
Not all customers are OUR customers.
To find your customers and to grow your travel business, it’s important to find the ideal client for your travel brand.
As travel market is constantly evolving, we have to intentional about identifying and attracting the right travelers to purchase our travel products and services.
To help you do so, we’re outlining five steps to finding the ideal client for your travel brand. We’ll discuss different techniques in capturing the right travelers, the importance of traveler demographics and psychographics, how to segment the travel market, and how to create customer profiles to reach the best possible traveler for you.
You Can’t Market To Everyone: Why Finding the Right Traveler Matters
While you may think your offer and destination could be enjoyed by just about any traveler, your business won’t succeed unless you learn to market to the right traveler.
However, when you learn to target the right traveler, your business will be able to market more effectively, spend less money doing so, and grow more quickly.
Finding the right traveler for your business is an essential element of travel marketing as it helps the business to develop the following opportunities for business enhancements:
- Develop more targeted marketing – Knowing the ideal travelers allow the travel agency to develop a strong and appealing marketing message intended for their prospects.
- Better use of resources – Targeting the right travel clients optimizes the use of tour product allocation as it lessens the turnaround time in developing and offering tour programs since the products initially developed are highly targeted.
- Improves client relationships – As a travel marketer, we don’t just sell travel experience on a single purchase basis but rather we want to build loyal client base that will continuously avail our services over time.
But still the big question remains, “How do we find the right traveler for our business?”.
Let’s find out.
1. Know The Importance Of Traveler Demographics and Psychographics
You may have a general idea of what travelers from a certain country like, or want, or expect when it comes to services.
In order to be able to market to them, though, you need to dive deeper.
That starts with conducting a basic market study. To do so, it’s necessary to understand travel market demographic and psychographic data. Once we do, we’ll be able to better build marketing campaigns that capture their attention.
We’ll start with an example. Put on the shoes of a travel agent who is eager to sell a Caribbean cruise package for Asian honeymooners.
As travel marketers we have to consider first the demographic and psychographic aspects of our target clients.
Demographic data pertains to the independent and personal data of a target client which includes their:
- educational attainment,
- employment level, and
- source of income.
Psychographic data, on the other hand, refers to the client’s preferential aspects and perceptive association such as:
- social status, and
With this understanding, we’ll now identify the geographic origins of our prospective client. The Asian market is quite a diverse segment (only a few billion people!), so let’s focus on a specific country who are most likely be availing a honeymoon cruise.
Let’s take the South Koreans as a jumping-off point.
2. Apply Traveler Demographics To Real Life Travelers
Next, we have to know the different demographic characteristics of this market.
After all, it’s possible to market a honeymoon cruise to people in their 20s, 30s, and even 40s. You could even market romantic cruises with vow renewals to people in their 50s and 60s.
We’ll start with a simpler idea: a South Korean couple in their late 20s.
At this point, we get to understand the common buying patterns of the target clients. We can now say that they usually book their travel requirements in advance since honeymoon is a component of their wedding preparations. Say, at least 6 months before the actual travel date.
After that, we now think about their spending capacity. Since this is a special activity for newlyweds, we imagine they are willing to spend some money in order to make it a memorable trip.
Lastly, we think about where they might shop for a cruise package.
Most Generation Z and Millennials are well-versed in the use of the internet and social media.
Hence, it is essential that our business develops an e-commerce friendly website and a strong social media presence through campaigns and paid ads.
Through this, the chances of getting our prospects know our product offering in these platforms.
Getting acquainted with the client’s demographic and psychographic data helps the travel marketers to easily segment the large market into smaller subsegments for precise market targeting.
3. Segment The Travel Market
Now that we have a general idea of who are our ideal traveler is, it’s time to get into market segmentation.
Market segmentation is a process in marketing wherein the marketer has to divide a large market and group the clients based on common reference points.
In Market segmentation for travel and tourism business, most marketers group clients into four segment components:
- Geographic segment
- Demographic segment
- Psychographic Segment
- Behavioral Segment.
Since we’re getting into the details, now, let’s talk about a specific product offering: 14-Day Caribbean Honeymoon Cruise Package
Mostly with the age range of 20-30 years old
Couple’s decision is strongly enforced. Balanced decision making
Have multiple income streams
Both have mid to high spending capacity
Clients prefer to do things together as a couple
Prefers intimate and private moments while on board
Cruise package is a status symbol for the couple and will improve other people’s perception for them
Books packages along with their wedding plans
Requires 6 months to 1 year sales lead time
Above is an example of a market segmentation matrix for you to consider.
Looking at the data inside each box, we can say that the chosen market segment has enough market size for a profitable product offering simply by understanding the market characteristics.
This cruise market seems to be within the younger generation market with multiple income streams meaning, they have the ample capacity to spend for the holiday getaway.
The challenge that we can see here is that the purchase decision relies heavily on both parties, hence, there is a need to convince two people in order to purchase the package being offered.
Apart from that, the sales lead time seems to be longer compared to other markets. It’s not people making an impulse trip for the weekend.
Through market segmentation, travel marketers will have a plethora of data to analyze in order to come up with the right strategy to tap a certain tourist market.
Now that we know how to gather relevant market data and conduct a market segmentation activity, it’s time that we build the buyer’s persona.
4. Utilize Customer Personas for Targeted Travel Marketing
Travel marketers ease out their dilemma in reaching to their target market by simply creating a visual representation of the client.
This is what we call a buyer’s persona.
A buyer’s persona is a detailed representation of your target audience. This is what keeps us from trying to advertise to everyone in the world, and instead helps us focus on speaking to one person to make sure our message is heard.
The persona shall be derived from the market segmentation matrix that we have created.
Let’s use that as our example and come up with a buyer’s persona for one of the couple whom we wish to sell the 14-day Caribbean Cruise Holiday.
A buyer’s persona, as mentioned, is a representation of the market that you wish to target. Here, we visualize the male client as Mr. Park who is an entrepreneur and exemplifies Asian masculine businessman features.
He is highly analytical and problem solver however, he is quite shy to deal. Hence, we can already interpret that our prospective client would likely ask his fiancé to do that initial negotiation however, the final decision is for both of them to make.
Also, with the brand choices that he exemplifies, we can say that Mr. Park has a capability to purchase our cruise holiday with an ease.
The customer’s persona is very vital marketing tool especially in the travel and tourism industry as it provides us a clear picture on how we can strategize in order to reach our clients with the right marketing message to ensure closed deals.
Now that our target audience is identified and personified, it’s time to leverage our marketing strategies using data analytics.