Market Your Travel and Tourism Business More EffectivelyKicking off a marketing campaign for your travel and tourism business, without first creating strong, focussed customer personas, is a simple way to waste a lot of money, and simultaneously achieve very little. 

Well thought out customers personas are key to ensuring that your marketing efforts are as targeted and effective as they can possibly be.

It’s no good being a jack of all trades but a master of none. The process of creating customer personas will help you to identify what your business does well, and then build on these strengths in order to attract and wow the right customers.

What is a customer persona?

Simply put, a customer persona is an imaginary individual who represents your ideal customer. The customer persona is effectively a fictional character who has the characteristics, and wants and needs, of your wider market of customers.

By creating an imaginary character, you’ll be able to visualise exactly who it is that you’re targeting, and ensure that everything you do is tightly focussed on meeting their specific needs.

Every time you write a piece of content, type an email, or release an advert, you should be thinking about how your customer persona will respond to what you’re doing, and whether your desired messages will be coming across.

Creating your personas

Don’t feel limited to just one persona. If you are genuinely targeting several different markets, you can legitimately create one for each.

Begin creating your personas by thinking about your current audience. Look at the people who are paid up customers, and try to identify patterns. What makes them take the leap and become customers?

Let’s say you offer a service that helps small hotel owners, for example. Look at your customer data and ask:

  • How old they are?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What are their main business challenges?
  • Why have they chosen your service?
  • What do you give them that others don’t?
  • What makes them happy/sad?
  • What are their ambitions?
  • What drives them?

You can then start to think a little deeper about the customer, and especially what it is that motivates them. People tend to be motivated by:

  • What excites them
  • What scares them
  • What intrigues them

So, you may identify that your typical customer is a hotel owner, who wants to run a single hotel, but is currently struggling to get enough bookings to make it viable. You may find that he is struggling to keep up with technological advances in the industry, and fears that he will be left behind. He wants your service to help him secure more bookings, and he loves working with you because your customer support is always great at explaining things in simple English.

This kind of detailed knowledge about your typical customer is huge, and will form the bedrock of your customer personas.

Using the information 

Once you’ve completed this process, you should have a fairly good insight into your ideal customer, and have a strong idea of who exactly it is that your business appeals to, and why. Now you can compile your findings into customer persona documents.

Your personas don’t have to be anything too formal. You can list the individual’s qualities and personality traits in bullet points, but I’d recommend writing a 300 word biography, as this will help you immerse yourself in the character.

Give them a name, find an appropriate photo, an address, a job title – everything you can to bring the individual to life in your head.

Have a look at a few of the examples here on Hubspot if you’re struggling for inspiration.

At the end of the process, you’ll have a customer persona whose characteristics accurately represent the average characteristics of all the people who are within your target market.

Using your personas

These personas will help you to write content – blogs, social media, web copy – with a specific, and representative, audience member in mind. Taking the time to think in depth about your audience will ensure your words resonate with your target market much more effectively, and that you find it easier to communicate with them in a manner that they understand and respond to.

Be sure to regularly re-visit, and update, these documents to keep them fresh and relevant.

You can also use your personas to add extra focus and drive to your general business goals. By constantly thinking about the challenges that your personas are facing, you’ll be able to offer a better service, and fulfil their needs by solving these problems for them.

The key to getting good results from your marketing efforts is focus. If you’re flailing in the dark, you’ll fail.

If you’re targeting the very people who your travel business is likely to appeal to – and can slip seamlessly into their shoes – then your chances of success are far, far higher.

– image courtesy of  cooldesign / freedigitalphotos.net