Basic data analysis to understand your hotel guests

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Using data to improve marketing efficiency is nothing new but still a widely uncommon practice in hospitality marketing.

These days most hotels regularly run paid advertising campaigns targeted to roughly defined audiences, but with limited understanding of typical customer personas, the only way to increase production is to reduce the price or increase campaign budget.

Grouping customers by characteristics and creating custom campaigns for typical customer personas is far more efficient compared to targeting by age, location or other demographics.

Good news: it is really easy to get started with.

Data collection & developing personas

Start with data collection. Surveying can be done on the website, via emails or on social media. A basic but functional setup only requires a well-designed form, Excel or Google Sheets.

Surveying before a purchase can help to understand why potential clients find your product attractive while surveying after the sale will help to understand typical motivations behind purchase decisions. It is a really good practice to survey after stay which not only provides valuable feedback but also shows guests that their opinion is taken seriously. 

Some good questions to ask:

  • Purpose of travel
  • Expectations about their travel experience
  • Top criteria for choosing a hotel
  • Frequency of travel to the given destination
  • Interest in services/experiences available in the hotel
  • Lifestyle preferences


Some responses will be more frequent than others. Grouping these responses will develop basic personas and provide a more accurate understanding of groups of typical customers.

These personas help to understand common groups of customers (and prospective customers) better. This makes it easier to tailor content, messaging, product development, and services to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups. 

These insights will help to target more accurately, create more relevant campaigns and ultimately to achieve significantly better ROI from the same campaign budget.
More in-depth analysis can reveal even more accurately defined market segments and open opportunities to improve marketing further.

Negative personas

There are groups of people who will not become good customers. Without prejudice, it is in the best interest of companies to avoid such groups of individuals.

Typical characteristics of sub-optimal customer personas:

  • Expensive to acquire
  • High cancellation / refund request rate
  • Expectations differ from product or service characteristics
  • Not compatible with the majority of positive personas
Daniel Diosi