For years, marketing gurus and experts have taught a hotel to focus on driving bookings from their loyal customers.
These are the guests who book a few times during the year.
Admittedly, this seems like one of the smartest and most sound hotel marketing strategies around to boost direct bookings – market to the people who already know and love you. The plethora of guest data you now have at your fingertips makes marketing to this current base of customers even easier and seemingly foolproof.
However, new research may prove otherwise….
In his book, How Brands Grow, Professor Byron Sharp of The University of South Australia, applied statistical analysis to sales data to find what truly drives a company’s success. His conclusion sent shockwaves through the marketing world:
”Your customers are customers of other brands who occasionally buy you.”
Companies can’t grow sales numbers significantly by focusing on loyal customers, but instead they must focus on “light buyers” who buy products (i.e. book a room at your property) relatively infrequently.
In other words, loyal guests are not your ideal target audience. Single booking guests are.
To move the needle on your hotel’s growth, you must attract NEW guests, instead of relying on loyal customers to keep coming back.
Single Bookings Spur Hotel Growth
Sharp cites Coca-Cola as an example of a successful global company that grew, not from Coca-Cola lovers who purchased and consumed the soda everyday, but from the millions of people who only drank it just a couple times a year.
Several other brands have come to rely on steady and strong sales from the masses that only purchase their products occasionally, with long breaks in between where these same customers purchase from competitors.
And let’s face it, OTAs, the culture of flash sales and last minute deals has made the travel industry one of the least loyal markets.