It’s long been said that a successful brand understands its audience. This has been true of hotels, as the major internationally-branded hotel operating companies have developed and continue to develop various brands to service and cater to a wide array of guests and their specific preferences and assumed preferences. These hotels often have a variety of brands, and each brand is intended to target a particular type of customer (for example, a business traveler, the millennial traveler, the independent vacation traveler) at a particular price point. More recently, and with the entry of many non-traditional hotel competitors into the market, it has become increasingly important for hotel brands to target customers more precisely and directly.
Many brands have developed specific themes to set themselves apart and attract specific customer segments. One major demographic that virtually all hotel brands seek are millennials. Some brands design properties to encourage social interaction between guests outside of the guest room through live music and communal pool tables, while keyless entry and free Wi-Fi appeal to the technologically-inclined and connected young traveler. Then there are the health conscious or “wellness” hotels. A stay in these hotels might include organized morning runs, complimentary yoga mats in each room, 24-hour gym access, healthy food options, and aerobics channels presented every time you turn on your television.
This trend toward increased theme specificity is global in scope and appeal. Recently, Australian Patrick Landman of GreenShoes Hospitality wrote an article titled, “How to Develop a Successful Hotel Concept.” In his article, Landman writes that the “legacy form of segmentation was simple: business or pleasure. But, it’s not enough in this day and age. To be effective, it must go much further. Holistic, deep segmentation will go a long way towards informing your hotel concept.” Landman further discusses a hotel’s need to understand what makes it distinctive and combining a hotel’s best attributes to provide a unique experience and concept.
Developing a strong and focused theme will remain crucial to owners and hotels alike, to find ways to distinguish themselves from the increasing list of competitors in the industry. This trend appears to be only getting stronger as technology develops and globalization continues.