Beyond Business and Leisure

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Hoteliers who capitalize on these new travel trends in their marketing will attract and inspire new guests.

by AMBER WOJCEK

Trend researchers have historically divided travelers into two buying categories: business and leisure. Hotel brands often market to families taking kid-friendly vacations or professional travelers looking for a space to get work done.

However, the growth of the millennial traveler means that it’s time to switch gears when reaching potential guests. Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) now account for the largest share of the American workforce. They are turning their spending power to travel, and they take trips more often and spend a higher amount on travel than older generations.

Millennial travelers are focused on the experience of traveling. They want to try trendy foods, learn about new cultures and connect with locals. FutureCast refers to the millennial traveler as “one of the savviest groups of travel planners we’ve seen” who check an average of 10 sources before making travel purchases.

Today’s travelers have more options than ever to craft vacations that cater to their distinct interests. By engaging with today’s adventurous traveler, you can become a trusted resource in their travel planning.

We’re sharing the top three new trends in tourism and ideas for information to share online to attract new guests. Hoteliers should target these travelers with helpful blogs and engaging social media posts to inspire them to visit your hotel and explore the city. However, this conversation shouldn’t stop online. Make sure that your front desk staff and concierge are well-versed in answering questions based on our tips below.

BLEISURE TRAVEL

While “bleisure” is not the best portmanteau, it’s a huge sector of travel. Sixty-two percent of millennial travelers extend business trips into personal vacations. Part of the reason may be because people find it hard to take time off from work – 41 percent of people who receive paid vacation don’t take all of it. If someone is already traveling for business, they can balance professional obligations while taking advantage of experiencing a new city.

  Tip: Be the Best of Both Worlds

When making recommendations to bleisure travelers, think of how they are structuring the trip. They are usually working on the weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and extending over a weekend. Help with productivity by sharing nearby lunch spots and coffee shops that have Wi-Fi. Write about time-saving amenities you offer, like mobile check-in and business center access.

When the work day ends, people want to know how to capitalize on their time in a new city. Share happy hours within walking distance and evening events that show off local culture. Most cities have art walks and local music playing at “First Friday” or “Third Thursday” events that would fit the bill. For bleisure travelers who are making the most of a quick trip, have a short list of must-see (or must-eat) destinations within a short walk or rideshare.

FOODIE TRAVEL

Julia Child famously said that “people who love to eat are the best people,” and today that sentiment is widespread. With the rise of cooking competition shows came a new era of chefs known as household names, and people will go out of their way to seek out specific foodie hotspots. Travelers don’t want fast food or chains; they want the best local food a city has to offer. Whether they’re looking for a cuisine they can’t find at home or just want the most Instagrammable meal in the city, you can reach guests by sharing your favorite foodie finds.

  Tip: Know What’s Trending

There are different kinds of foodie travelers, so it’s important to have unique suggestions for each. The classic foodie is the type to search for “best [food]in [place].” They’ll ask for more personalized suggestions: Where is your favorite place to eat? If you had family in town for one night, where would you take them? Asking your staff for their recommendations is a great start for a blog post or social media campaign. Also, know where to send people asking for suggestions based on dietary needs, such as vegan restaurants or places where you can get a gluten-free pizza.

For the trend-seeking foodie, set up a Google Alert so you always know what’s new in town. Try making one with “[city name]+ restaurant,” and you’ll get emailed with any news stories that are relevant. These articles make for a great social media share, especially if you include the distance or best way to get to the restaurant from your property. People love to photograph new treats (such as the recent upswing in doughnut shops and edible cookie dough), so keep an ear out for new takes on desserts.

ADVENTURE TRAVEL

More people are using their vacation time to step out of their comfort zone and try new experiences. According to Skift, the adventure travel market has grown 65 percent each year since 2009, and more than half of travelers plan to participate in an adventure activity on their next trip. The rise in adventure travel isn’t only a millennial trend either. Hipmunk reports that one-quarter of Gen Xers and 16 percent of boomers will go on an outdoorsy trip.

  Tip: Act as Base Camp

Even if they’re looking to get their hands dirty, many adventure travelers still want to feel like they’re taking a vacation. There’s nothing better than the thought of a warm shower and comfortable bed after a long day of hiking. Pitch your everyday amenities, like laundry services, as a way to help adventure guests during their stay so they can spend more time in the great outdoors.

Offering quick, healthy breakfast ideas so guests can get out the door and to their plans is always a welcome suggestion. For those planning their daily itinerary, know of different activity ideas based on difficulty level so you know exactly what to propose to beginner hikers or lifelong climbers. Try to strike up partnerships and special offers with local attractions like zipline courses to share with your hotel guests. These are great perks to post on your website or include in an email newsletter.

LOOKING FORWARD

Hoteliers should capitalize on rising travel trends by marketing to bleisure, foodie and adventure travelers. By focusing on these niche and growing groups ahead of the competition, hotels can capture additional market share. Bleisure travelers, foodies and adventurers have one thing in common: They’re all searching online for their next destination. The fastest way to attract these groups is to post consistent and engaging content on social media profiles, update website listings, post insightful review responses, and add content to hotel websites. Looking forward, additional occupancy may be found in highlighting the amenities and area attractions that draw in these target audiences.                ■

Amber Wojcek is the marketing coordinator for Travel Media Group, which provides innovative digital marketing solutions for hotels. Contact her at amber.wojcek@travelmediagroup.com and follow her on Twitter at @TravelMediaGrp.

Image credit: Pro_Vector/Shutterstock.com

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