What is the meaning / definition of Target Market in the hospitality industry?
Adopting a laser-focused approach to selling hotel rooms can be pivotal in achieving excellent occupancy levels, and therefore outstanding profits year-on- year. Marketing towards a specific audience, rather trying to sell to everyone (and being, as we say in the Hospitality Industry, 'all over the map'!) can help enormously when it comes to maximising revenue.
Generally the market can be divided into four different groups, and they are geographic (targeting specific consumer groups according to their geographic locations), demographic (include gender, life-cycle stage, age, income, social class, and lifestyle), psychographic ( examines how a person thinks, feels and behaves, using personality, lifestyle and values as segmenting variables) and benefit oriented (benefits customers aim to obtain using products and/or services offered by the hotel). Let us now take a concrete example, the world famous Hilton's hotels.
Hilton’s geographic segmentation strategy mainly focuses on the local preferences and the location. For instance, Hilton open hotels in London for attracting mainly business people and the services mainly focus on business travellers.
Hilton target customer segment represent middle and senior aged professionals with high level of income belonging to upper social class.
On the other hand, Hilton Hotels & Resorts mainly target individuals that pursue luxury lifestyle, and accordingly, the company charges premium prices for its products and services perceived to be of a relevant quality.
The nature of psychographic segmentation used by Hilton involves targeting ambitious individuals who would like to express their perceived high status and achievement by staying in five star rooms offered by the hotel at premium prices.
Perceived or real benefits offered by Hilton to potential and existing customers include sense of achievement, a high status in society, and luxury.
Hotels that know their Target Market can orchestrate both offline and online marketing campaigns tailored specifically towards that audience, after carrying out in-depth research and then acting upon the findings.
Deciding which specific demographic and sociographic target market to aim at within the variety of consumer groups is best achieved through research and consensus of opinion. And it can even be a good idea for hotels, perhaps lacking expertise, to sometimes pay a fee to an independent consultancy that can boast expertise in Target Marketing towards various consumer groups. This could prove to be money very well spent!