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What Makes Hospitality Marketing Different?

Be specific in your marketing efforts to attract ideal customers

Marketing brings your product, service or destination to the attention of potential customers. The purpose of marketing is to make customers aware of what you have to offer and entice them to take the next step.

Marketing for hospitality and tourism is slightly different because it does not sell a tangible product or an identifiable service. It is about marketing an experience — something that occurs over a specific period of time and will hopefully stay in the customer’s mind as a cherished memory.

Who Is the Target Customer?

Since hospitality and tourism stays can range from a few hours for a business meeting to a two-week family vacation, you must decide which aspects of a stay you’ll market. To choose the most effective, you must identify and understand your ideal customer. Marketing to the wrong audience can waste time and resources; for example, if you market your location to parents of young children but your guestrooms do not accommodate the needs of a young family, your messaging can fail.

An online MBA program can introduce you to methods for identifying marketing audiences, including the following:

  • Focus groups that bring potential customers together to discuss their needs and desires.
  • Feedback groups that collect opinions following purchases or stays. What were the high and low points of their experiences? Did they meet expectations, based on marketing promises?

Coursework in an online MBA program can help you develop marketing campaigns for restaurants, hotels, clubs, cruises, tours or resorts. This training environment allows you to test your campaign on mock customers and learn, firsthand, the nuances of marketing for hospitality and tourism. What selling points can you stress to appeal to your ideal customer? If you miss the mark the first time, you can learn to reassess and refocus your efforts.

What Types of Experiences Can a Customer Expect?

When people purchase sneakers, they may arrive at a few selections based on multiple price points and product features. They might then narrow down their choices to one or two pairs that fit their specifications. The final choice depends on personal taste, which can be the result of experience and successful marketing.

There are more variables involved in marketing for hospitality and tourism. When it comes to evaluating a facility, customers may consider more than price points and attributes — ambience may be important as well. Is the resort laid-back, or does it require formalwear at dinner? Is it a place that welcomes children, or is it a quiet getaway? What exactly are you promising?

The more specific your marketing efforts, the more likely you are to attract your ideal customers. Broad messaging that appeals to everyone is less interesting in an increasingly customized media environment. Dedicating the time and energy to the audiences that may actually take your call to action is a marketing strategy that, with perseverance, can pay dividends.

Learn more about the SOSU online MBA with an emphasis in Hospitality Management program.


Fast Company: Experience Is the Next Frontier in Marketing

Forbes: Customer Experience Is the Future of Marketing

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