What is Your Ideal Customer Really Looking For?
By Tema Frank CEO, Frank Reactions | October 11, 2015
When I backpacked through Europe as a student, using ripped out pages from Let's Go Europe as my guide (it was too heavy to carry the whole thing and this was before the Internet), I looked for three things in a hotel. In order of priority, they were: Cheap. Easy to walk to from the train station. No bedbugs.
Now my priority list is very different. I want charm, comfort, quiet, and an easy walk to interesting restaurants and cultural spots. My budget is considerably higher.
There is no way one hotel can cater to both those types of people. Even "budget" hotels (which were beyond my budget as a student) or mid-priced hotels (which are too generic for me now, if I have a choice), need to pick a target customer. Trying to be all things to all people pleases none of them. It's like "one-size fits all" pantyhose; too tight for some, too long in the leg for others…. Just not a good idea.
Have you thought through who your ideal customer really is? By "ideal" I mean, realistic ideal. Ideally I'm sure we'd all love to have customers who would pay top dollar and tip our staff with $100 bills. But, honestly, what sort of person is your property best suited to? What are the benefits you can offer that make you special? Then think about what sort of person would appreciate those benefits.
Consider an example. Is yours a non-descript hotel in the heart of the business district? Maybe your ideal customer is a no-nonsense business person on a bit of a budget. You can flesh out your understanding of this prospect and help keep your decisions on track by developing what is called a "user persona". For each of your key customer types, put together a sheet on which you have a "sample customer" fleshed out to seem like a real person. The more real you can make them, the easier it will be for you and your staff to tailor your service and systems to meet the needs of that type of person. Even include a photo and give them a name.
Your persona might look like this, for example: