Using data insights to differentiate and attract travelers

February 11, 2013 by Experian Marketing Services

The upcoming 2013 Digital Marketer Report takes a look at key segments of the consumer landscape, including travelers. In this excerpt we highlight some of the differences between budget and luxury travelers:

Travel and tourism marketers rely heavily on consumer research to better understand preferences and trends that impact travel-related purchase decisions. Market segmentation is also another widely-used method for targeting, reaching and communicating with likely domestic and international travelers. Segmentation solutions provide travel marketers with highly enriched views of their prospective audiences.

Consider a national hotelier planning to develop marketing campaigns that attract two distinct leisure travel audiences. First are budget conscious travelers. These consumers are motivated by a lower cost vacation and travel experience with efficient and affordable hotel rooms. Second are luxury travelers. These are consumers who prefer to travel in style and can afford upscale accommodations, amenities and services.

Relying exclusively on demographic data, the hotelier might elect to define budget and luxury travelers based on straight-forward estimates of household income. This could be a logical first step but falls well short of what is required to develop a complete, precise and well-targeted campaign. A more effective strategy is to utilize data that more fully differentiates the nuances of the two target audiences. This can be accomplished by introducing lifestyle and attitudinal characteristics into the mix.

For example, when applying information gleaned from the Mosaic® USA lifestyle segmentation system, budget travelers are more likely to be represented within such consumer groups as Families in Motion, Blue Sky Boomers and Autumn Years. Spanning a diverse range of age, household size and affluence measures, the collective demographic profile of budget travelers from these groups is distinctly different compared to luxury travelers.

  1. Families in Motion: younger, working class families earning moderate incomes in smaller communities
  2. Blue Sky Boomers: lower- and middle-class baby boomer-aged households living in small towns
  3. Autumn Years: established, ethnically diverse and mature couples living gratified lifestyles in older homes
Budget travelers’ attitudes toward travel(Index versus overall U.S. households) Families in Motion Blue Sky Boomers Autumn Years
I prefer traveling in the United States as opposed to foreign countries 118 118 139
I love the idea of traveling abroad 58 70 62
I have taken a cruise ship vacation in the last three years 42 64 107
I have visited theme parks 152 60 47
I have visited travel Websites: Destinations and Accommodation 80 109 108

Source: Simmons

In contrast to budget travelers, the luxury travel market largely consists of households from the Power Elite, Flourishing Families and Booming with Confidence consumer groups.

  1. Power Elite: the wealthiest households in the United States, living in the most exclusive neighborhoods and enjoying all that life has to offer
  2. Flourishing Families: affluent, middle-aged couples and families with upscale incomes and living very comfortable, active lifestyles
  3. Booming with Confidence: prosperous, established couples in their peak earning years living in suburban homes
Luxury travelers’ attitudes toward travel (Index versus overall U.S. households) Power Elite Flourishing Families Booming with Confidence
I prefer traveling in the United States as opposed to foreign countries 83 98 107
I love the idea of traveling abroad 139 124 114
I have taken a cruise ship vacation in the last three years 174 135 165
I have visited theme parks 138 159 77
I have visited travel Websites: Destinations and Accommodation 155 119 144

Equipped with knowledge concerning the differences and similarities between the budget and luxury travel groups, marketers can develop communications that are more likely to resonate with each audience. Here are some specific examples when targeting hotel accommodations to consumer groups within the budget travel market.

Families in Motion have a high propensity to be traveling with children in tow and to be visiting friends and distantly located relatives. These households are looking for family-friendly and kid-centered amenities when booking a hotel stay. Mobile and social media marketing tactics also will be effective with this group. Blue Sky Boomers have ample free time to take multiple, short-stay trips at the spur of the moment. They are also more likely to extend their stays into a long weekend. Offers that include one free night for a three- or four-night stay will be attractive to these consumers. Members of Autumn Years households relish their independence but are more likely to be dealing with health-related issues and may require special assistance to make their stay more comfortable. Reservations that include ground floor rooms with easy access to the main lobby and other hotel amenities will be greatly appreciated by these visitors.

For more on the segments described above, and other key consumer groups marketers need to be focusing on, pre-order The 2013 Digital Marketer Report.