How to attract different Nationalities to your Business
No matter where your hotel or hospitality business is located, some, if not all your business depends on foreign travellers firstly finding and then booking your hotel.
So unless you happen to own the only accommodation in the most popular city or area of your country, and people HAVE to choose you, you most likely have gone out of your way in the past and present to attract and cater to foreign travellers so they chose you and not your competitor next door.
But how do you attract foreign travellers? And which nationalities are you looking to attract anyway? Wouldn’t it be helpful to know what travellers from Germany, Spain and Italy are looking for when travelling? And how would you lure an American traveller to book with you – this time and also in the future?
In this article, we are looking at general travel trends to keep in mind, and more specifically at travel and booking habits of Germans, British & Irish, Spaniards, French, Italians, Americans and the Chinese. We will look at what triggers them to make booking decisions and how they could be motivated to book with you instead of your competition.
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Travel trends to look out for
Personalisation in the hospitality industry consists of tailoring your service or product to meet the needs of individuals, or segments of individuals. Hotels have been using personalisation techniques for quite a while now. Customer loyalty programs, VIP services, personalised service on-site and many other hotel services aim to provide a personalised experience for the guest.
But this trend will be increasingly important also in attracting new guests. And this is where it get’s difficult. How do I address a potential guest in a personal way, not knowing what he/she is looking for as he/she has never stayed with you? Personalisation by nationality is your answer!
While looking at likes and dislikes based on where a traveler is from is no universal remedy, according to Travelzoo’s recent Travel Trends Survey, travellers do respond well to certain perks and incentives depending on the country they are from1.
Another trend to look out for is the traveler’s desire to not only stay with you but to have an experience while staying at your hotel or location. “Creating experiences” is well intertwined with “Personalisation” and has again been picked up by hotels a while back already.
According to the 2016 Experiential Traveler Survey conducted by Skift, travelers prioritize their spend on experiences, rather than material goods. Travelers want authenticity and personalized experiences – not commoditized, one-size-fits-all holidays. As a result, the holiday search, planning, and the discovery through culture and events on-site is not the hassle before the experience but actually is the experience2.
The same measurements that are taken to personalize a hotel stay, also contribute to the overall guest experience. But here again, depending on the country a potential guest is from, the experience he/she will be looking for might be different and learning more about the nationality you are looking to provide an experience for will surely help.
So how do I attract my future guests by nationality?
When looking at the characteristics of different nationalities, it does make sense to look at general segmentation techniques as well as recent travel studies to better understand where these nationalities travel habits and desires are originating from.
According to the studies conducted by Richard D. Lewis3, communication specialist and author, active in the field of applied and anthropological linguistics for over 35 years, Germans can be broadly categorised as task-oriented, highly organised planners (linear-active). Applied on their travel habits and preferences, Germans will plan their trips ahead methodically and also stick to their plan. If, as a hotel, you are looking to provide an experience for a German traveller, you should therefore ensure, that whatever you promised (on your hotel website, a booking portal, via telephone & email) is what you end up delivering once they are staying with you. According to trivago’s recent study on travel habits by nationality, Germans are also looking for instant gratification4. Which means you won’t catch them by offering 50% discount on their next stay with you as they are not even going to book with you for their first stay. They are triggered by an instant discount and you are better off offering 15% on their first stay if you are looking to be booked now. The study further revealed, that German travellers filter their hotels by complimentary wifi and breakfast, so you better include these two if you don’t want to risk being filtered out by the Germans.
British & Irish
Similar to the Germans, although not as rigid in terms of trip planning and adhering to it, are the Brits and Irish. Travellers from the UK and Ireland will also plan their trip in advance and expect you to deliver on what you promised. You sure should do so as travellers from the UK were found to be willing to spend the most on their hotel rooms, with an average clicked on price of £150 (€165), in trivago’s recent study. Similar to the Germans the British and Irish expect wifi as a given hotel amenity and are triggered by free room upgrades and complimentary breakfasts.
If you believe Richard D. Lewis’ cultural studies, the French are considered more multi-active than linear active, meaning they are more “people-oriented, loquacious interrelators” as defined by Lewis. It does sound like a cliché, but it is indeed true that it won’t hurt having French speaking employees in your hotel or business if you are looking to attract French travelers. It is considered a motivational factor and will play a role in their decision making process – whether consciously or subconsciously. Even if they are looking to stay in city centre hotels, the French love their spa and wellness areas and will filter their hotel search by wifi availability and whether the hotel or accommodation offers an on-site spa or not. So if your hotel boosts an amazing spa-area, make sure to highlight this feature, in French, on their favorite booking portal Booking.com and on your website.
The Spanish are the most multi-active, hence socially spontaneous, of the European nations we are looking at in this article. Applied to their travel habits, they tend to only plan the grand outline of a trip and are less bound to timetables or strict plans. Hotels should therefore not be afraid to bombard them with last minute, great deal offers, as there are more likely to take advantage of them spontaneously. This might be the best way to lure some money out of Spanish pockets anyway, as for their spending on hotel rooms, the Spanish are the most frugal, spending only an average of £96 (€105) per night according to trivago. Like the French, Spanish guests are interested in spa and wellness offerings and will filter their hotel search by on-site spa and jacuzzi availability. In Spain, everything is about human relationships, so personalisation will go a long way in attracting new and returning guests. Hotels should make use of all available technological innovations to learn as much as possible about the likes and dislikes of their Spanish guests.
When we just look at travel and booking habits, the Italians and Spanish act very alike. It comes as no surprise, that they have also been categorised as multi-active, social butterflies, that can be motivated best through human relationships and inexpensive last-minute discounts and deals. Like the Spanish, their favorite hotel amenity is the on-site spa and hotels not boosting or promoting this feature risk being overlooked during their hotel search online.
Similar to the Germans, Americans are considered linear-active, planning their trips well in advance and tend to stick to the original itinerary they made. American travellers also expect their expectations to be met. So again, keeping your promises is crucial when attracting and keeping American travellers. In contrast to the Germans, guests from the US value longer term rewards, such as discounted rates on future stays. Hotels should use this characteristic to their full potential by registering them for customer loyalty programs and/or newsletters. This way they not only secure customer data for future promotions and recurring revenues, but are also learning more about individual guests through repeated interaction. This newly gained knowledge can then again be used to improve on the hotels personalisation-efforts.
In cultural categorisation, the Chinese are considered a reactive culture, meaning they are generally introverted, respectful listeners and whilst travelling, like to follow already set plans and schedules. Hotels looking to attract travellers from China are therefore advised to offer sightseeing, activities and shopping guides in Chinese language – ready at the hotel, or maybe even sent via email prior to their stay. Chinese staff members that can address any kind of questions and concerns from Chinese guests are also recommended. Hotels shouldn’t be shy in boasting about their Chinese-friendly amenities. In the end, travel from China is expected to grow by about 10% from last year5 and there is a lot of money which can be made here. Like travellers from most other nationalities, the Chinese value a free wifi connection throughout the hotel and can be triggered by all things “included” or “free”. Trivago´s recent study on travel habits by nationality found, that Chinese travelers best react on offers of free transportation and free meals.
Using eWOM (electronic word of mouth) to reach your desired nationality
The 2016 Experiential Traveler Survey conducted by Skift not only reconfirmed travellers desires for genuine experiences, but also that the research and planning of a trip already forms part of that experience and searching for authentic sources of hotel reviews and recommendations. Electronic word of mouth (short eWOM) has therewith transformed to one of the most influential decision making criteria. Online reviews are the most authentic promotion a hotel can have to attract future guests. When looking to attract guests from certain nationalities, hotels and hospitality businesses should therefore aim for as many reviews from guests of that nationality as possible. More reviews in the desired country language will increase the hotels visibility in that country and respectively increase desired bookings.
Review management solutions like the one from Customer Alliance can automate this process. When a hotel for example is looking to generate more reviews from Germany to attract more German travellers, Customer Alliance’ distribution function comes in handy. This feature allows hoteliers to automatically redirect their German guests to HolidayCheck, Germany’s biggest and most influential review portal, to leave a review. This way, German reviews are read by who they are supposed to attract: other German travellers.
To sum things up
When looking at the characteristics of different nationalities and the perks and incentives they respond best to, “creating personalized experiences” for your guests gets a whole different meaning and dimension.
But don’t stress, there is no need now to start trying to cater to all these different nationalities we mentioned, but take the time to reflect on what you are already doing and improve where it is needed. To make things super easy, we’ve prepared a 3-Step-Plan to attract your desired nationality for you:
- Define the nationalities you wish to attract
Take a step back and analyse who you are currently catering to. Which nationalities are naturally drawn to you? Which aren’t, but shows potential through interest in your country and the financial means to stay with you?
- Increase your language capabilities
Hire employees that speak the country’s language and offer your website, product and service information in the country’s language.
- Use the right technology to attract the right nationality
The right technology enables any hotel to create the personal experience which today’s travellers are looking for. There is no better way to find out what travellers are looking for than through their reviews. Review management software, like the one from Customer Alliance automates the review collection process and enables hoteliers to specifically target their desired nationality – for more reviews and more insights today, and more time and better personalisation tomorrow.
1. How to personalise the hospitality experience for different nationalities by Joel Brandon-Bravo, 31-Oct-2016
2. Skift Research: The 2016 Experiential Traveler Survey
3. Richard D. Lewis, “When Cultures Collide”, 3rd edition, 2016
4. Travel habits of different nationalities
5. Asian’s Appetite for Travel Remains Strong and Becomes Sophisticated