You know that effectiveness is enhanced with target marketing. But how do you know which target to aim for, business or leisure travelers? Here are some key facts to help you decide.
Someone once said about marketing that if you do the right things, then you only need to concern yourself with doing things right. But if you do the wrong things, it doesn’t much matter how well you do them. The question you might then ask yourself is: “What are the right things for me?”
The answer will vary to some degree based upon your specific location, business model, facilities and other factors but regardless of what segment of the hospitality industry that you specialize in, certain statistics about demographic trends in the travel and hospitality industry are likely to shape your future marketing efforts. On a broad scale, these trends are influenced by travel purpose, economic conditions, personal disposable income, fuel costs, consumer confidence, and other factors.
Let’s start with the broad strokes: Exactly who is traveling?
According to the U.S. Travel Association, consumers spent $564 billion in 2011 for domestic and international leisure travel verses $249 billion spent by business travelers, a margin of more than 2:1. For domestic travel within the U.S., the margin is even greater with 77% of the 2011 total conducted for leisure purposes.
According to the Global Business Travel Association, business travel has grown less than 6% on average from 2010 through 2012 as the economy has recovered and as many companies are reporting record profits due to a weak labor market. In spite of this, the frequency of business travel was forecast to actually decline year over year in 2012 and again in 2013. Clearly, corporate profitability is not a significant factor.
So what is?
While there is no substitute for a face-to-face business meeting on certain occasions, many others can be accomplished in a much more cost-effective manner using technology solutions that have proliferated and grown in acceptance over the past several years. Are these advances in broadband and V.O.I.P. technologies doing for business travel what e-mail did for the U.S. Postal Service? The implications cannot be denied.
For those businesses with marketing plans heavily concentrated on the business traveler, the target still exists but the bull’s eye appears to be shrinking. In order to respond, businesses must dial in the accuracy and effectiveness of their marketing efforts, consider expanding their focus more on the leisure market, or both.