Niche marketing has been increasing in all aspects of the travel industry. According to a report from InsideFlyer.com, even big hotels have started to embrace smaller demographic groups of travelers to help increase average daily rates and revenue per available room. A report from USA Today highlights how one hotel, a Residence Inn in Chicago, increased profits by more than $300,000 and bumped up revpar by nearly 10 percent by noticing an increase in guests from India and starting to offer amenities to the unique needs of that particular niche.
What is niche marketing?
In short, gearing services and programs toward a subset of particular demographic qualifies as niche marketing. As the USA Today article indicates, the Residence Inn recognized an increase in Indian travelers and began running shuttles to Indian grocery stores, offering Bollywood movies, and geared other amenities. By catering to specialized needs, the hotel managed to increase profits.
How is niche marketing changing other aspects of the travel industry?
One industry where niche marketing is playing out in a major way is the cruise industry. Themed cruises offer like-minded individuals and small groups the chance to interact. The Los Angeles Times features an article that would appeal to football fans with a 16-day cruise with NFL legends. Niches can also capitalize on pop culture, such as the “Soul Train” cruise that will sail in 2013, where passengers are encouraged to dress in clothes that were popular when the television show was on the air, according to USA Today.
How do properties find a particular group to chase after?
While themed cruises have a luxury of listing with Cruise Critic or Themed Cruise Finder, hotels are generally left with identifying the trends on their own. A report from iMedia Connection mentions that trying to uncover previously overlooked niches can have a major payoff for hotels. According to the iMedia report, the more targeted a goal gets the more focused a campaign can be.
How is the industry staying in contact with demographic niches?
Fortunately, the expensive and unreliable direct mail campaigns have gone by the wayside. Now business, including hotels, travel agents, and cruise representatives, can stay in contact with a particular traveler or group of travelers with the aid of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Of course, frequent stay programs also help hotels stay aware of guests, but listening to guest comment cards, surveys, and other feedback devices can also be terrific aids.
Jason Gallagher is a former travel professional with a decade of experience in the industry. He remains an avid traveler and hotel fan with exposure to technology and trends in properties across the United States.