Business or pleasure?

Is your establishment’s target market mainly guests who visit on business or pleasure?

As a hospitality and tourism industry expert, you probably don’t need me to explain to you why it is necessary to know your target market. The problem is, we get so used to our target markets, that we sometimes forget that they are also people, and people change.

As our environment, whether it be our technological or our physical environment, undergoes certain evolvements, we tend to change with it eventually. Therefore, as an accommodation establishment, restaurant or venue, it is important to keep up with trends in the industry.

Here are three trends TMG noticed feature in certain sections of the hospitality and tourism industry that you as a professional in the industry probably need to consider:

Environmental Responsibility:

This is not only a trend, but also a necessity. It has come to TMG’s attention that many travellers prefer accommodation at establishments that prove to be environmentally responsible. Guests are even willing to give up certain levels of comfort for this.

Kids entertainment:

Guests travelling for pleasure normally include families. Families often require some entertainment for children, which includes jungle gyms, swimming pools, and possible movie nights for when parents want to enjoy a romantic dinner. It is also important to remember that parents are well educated on this subject and therefore your establishment is automatically expected to provide them with service that will exceed their customer expectations. Think educational and try to include outside activities for kids. Take them on treasure hunts or short kids’ hiking trails. Use your environment and be creative.

Wi-Fi:

Businessmen are often on the road and with the fortunate evolvement of cell phones, computers and emails, many people unfortunately do the work of three or more by themselves these days. Wi-Fi has always been a luxury and not too long ago only top hotels and restaurants provided the service. Today, however, more and more hospitality and tourism establishments are adding this to their list of services and these establishments are the ones who become popular amongst business travellers especially very quickly. If business guests form part of your establishment’s target market and you do not provide your guests with Wi-Fi, you will need to revise your list of services.

For more tips and ideas on how to exceed your customers’ expectations, perhaps you should contact TMG and attend one of our workshops? Contact Renate on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za for more information.

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Workshops for April

In addition to TMG’s current customer service workshops and the four social media sessions to attend, we also offer the next couple of workshops in April:

Create your own hotel wheel

We get creative in April and create our own hotel wheels. This is the process that keeps a hotel going – from security checks at the gate, reception, porters, room and restaurant service, through to guest feedback and departure. This process becomes quite intricate when you spend some time thinking about it – it might even end up looking more like the inside of a watch with all the different departments interlinking with each other. This is a great exercise to do with staff that needs to understand the inside of your business.

Create your guesthouse / hotel / restaurant’s own customized customer journey map

While the hotel wheel mainly focuses on the different departments of your business and how they interlink with each other, the customer journey map focuses on the customer’s journey through these different departments. The customer journey map teaches you more about your customers, including different target markets and their expectations, as well as your establishment’s shortcomings and what you should focus on to exceed customer expectations.

(Don’t forget that Travelling Mystery Guest specializes in customized customer journey evaluations. Contact Renate for a quote on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 082 336 1562).

Identify problem areas within the hospitality and tourism industry in South Africa

No industry is without problem areas – the same with the hospitality and tourism industries of South Africa. We look at some problem areas that TMG has encountered and identified and brainstorm about it. This session is mainly to see where the industry is lacking and what keeps it from exceeding its customers’ expectations. Come with an open mind, a pen and paper and let’s get to it.

Identify solutions to the problem areas in our hospitality and tourism industry

This is a follow up session to the one above. During this session we will brainstorm and discuss different solutions to the problems we’ve identified. From small things within your own organization to bigger things within the industry – we cover it all.

Book your workshop with Travelling Mystery Guest today – we come to you! Contact Renate on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za. You can also follow her on Twitter (@TravellingMG and @RenateTravel) and Facebook: Travelling Mystery Guest. Also find TMG on LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.

For more workshops, have a look at our list of workshops here: TMG Slideshare

Things we tend to forget

Visiting guesthouses and hotels on a regular basis makes you realise how many things we tend to forget when preparing a room for a guest.

Things we tend to forget

Things we tend to forget (Photo taken at The Wardrobe Guesthouse, Pretoria) – http://thewardrobeguesthouse.co.za/

Owning an accommodation establishment does not necessarily make you an expert on what to put in the rooms; in fact, we tend to overlook a few things due to being so used to the establishment’s offerings. As we know by now – no customer is the same and no target market either. A business traveller might need a two point plug next to his bed as well as at his desk in the room. A family room might be more comfortable for leisure travellers when there is bubble bath for the kids or a pack of cards to play with in the room when the weather is not so pleasant. It is about going that extra mile that everyone speaks about.

Here are a few things TMG noticed many establishments tend to forget to add to their guest rooms. Take note and maybe consider adding this to your rooms for the next guests to increase customer satisfaction and to give them a better experience of your establishment. It might be small things, but isn’t it true that it’s the small things that count?

  • Two point plugs in the rooms for a hairdryer (if there is none provided in the room), cell phone chargers, laptops, etc.
  • Information files in the rooms, providing information on local attractions, restaurants, coffee shops and shopping facilities.
  • It is always great to have a minibar in the room – just remember to stock it before the guests arrive and be sure to explain the payment procedures to them. This service is a preferred service by TMG for business travellers, as they are the ones who might work late in the evenings.
  • Have a look at the lighting in the rooms. This is a big issue, especially for business travellers, at many South African establishments. Be sure that there is ample lighting at the desk area and next to the bed for working and reading purposes, as well as at the mirror areas where ladies might want to do their make-up.
  • Make sure about the correct height for the desk and chair where your guests visiting for business might want to work during the evening. You don’t want to tire them – in fact, you’d like them to feel comfortable and at home, right?
  • Also have a look at the position of all electric sockets in the rooms. The places guests would like to have electric sockets are mainly beside the bed and at the desk area, as well as close to a mirror.
  • Speaking of mirrors – remember that women (and many men too) need a mirror at a comfortable height for blow drying their hair, checking their outfits and doing their makeup. Should there only be mirrors in the bathroom, be sure that the area is secure for an electric socket for things like hairdryers and shavers. This is not the ideal, though. Rather add another mirror in the room itself.

Any more things you’ve noticed guesthouses or hotels tend to forget? Share your views and tips with Travelling Mystery Guest by leaving a comment.

Who is your target market on Facebook? (Part two)

How can you identify and get to know your fans (target market) on Facebook? In our previous post we had a look at why we need to know our Facebook fans and the process of defining them. Today we look at the questions to ask and growing your Facebook fan base:

Target your customers

Target your customers (Image from http://www.webscoutmarketing.com

Ask the right questions:

  • How many people are in my target market?
  • Where does my target market hang out?
  • What does my target market enjoy the most?
  • What does my target market worry about the most?
  • How much is my target market willing to spend?
  • Does my target market consist of different segments?
  • What makes the people in my target market feel welcome?

Now…what do you do with all this information? You use it to help you…

  • write better content and web copy that will relate to the right target markets and encourage them to engage with your brand,
  • understand where to spend more time when it comes to networking, and
  • see why people rather buy from you than from your competitors.

How can you grow your fan base on Facebook?

  • Update your profile and/or company page on a regular basis to keep information up to date. This includes your contact details, maps and directions to your hotel, guesthouse or restaurant, images of the destination, etc.
  • Follow leaders in your industry.
  • Comment on other pages’ status updates and pictures – just remember to keep it relevant.
  • Ask fans to share your posts. (Obviously the amount of sharing will increase if you offer them discount…)

For more tips and discussions on this topic, book your workshop with Travelling Mystery Guest by contacting Renate on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 082 336 1562.

Happy targeting! 🙂

Who is your target market on Facebook? (Part One)

You might know who your target market is for your hotel or guesthouse, but do you know which part of that market is on Facebook? Kids under the age of twelve will most probably not be there, nor will most of your pensioner customers. So who is your target market on Facebook?

Facebook fans

Facebook fans (Image from http://www.niposoftware.com)

You can get to know a large section of your target market via Facebook, as every person on Facebook shares a certain amount of information about themselves with the world on this platform.

What can you learn?

Psychographics (what your customer likes, what makes them tick, what are their biggest problems and their biggest desires, etc.) are just as important as the demographics (age, sex, location, etc.) You’re going to want to know which television programs they watch, which sports teams they support, etc. Why? Because this gives you an insight into what motivates your customers, which will help you to understand what will make them want to buy your service.

The process of getting to know your target market:

  1. Take time to explore the individual profiles of your Facebook fans. Look at their demographics, their likes, status updates, links to other social media profiles and websites.
  2. Look at your fan page’s insights. Here you will find group demographics of your fans, as well as the posts on your page that they find most interesting and which encourage the most engagement.
  3. Use the Facebook search tool to find entire groups of people who fit your target market, follow their conversations and when you see an opportunity, take part in their discussions.
  4. Use the Facebook Polls option to ask your friends and fans about what they prefer when it comes to your kind of service.
  5. Create a highly targeted ad that invites the right people to take a survey elsewhere online. (A good, free option to use is Survey Monkey or Pop Survey).
  6. Keep an eye on your mini news-feed (on the right hand side of your Facebook page) to see what other actions your Facebook fans are taking.

We’ll be looking at asking the right questions and growing your fan base on Facebook in the next post.

Need some assistance with Facebook marketing? Contact Renate on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za and book your workshop today.

Things we tend to forget

Source: Uploaded by user via Travelling Mystery Guest on Pinterest

Visiting guesthouses and hotels on a regular basis makes you realise how many things we tend to forget when preparing a room for a guest.

Owning an accommodation establishment does not necessarily make you an expert on what to put in the rooms; in fact, we tend to overlook a few things due to being so used to the establishment’s offerings. As we know by now – no customer is the same and no target market either. A business traveller might need a two point plug next to his bed as well as at his desk in the room. A family room might be more comfortable for leisure travellers when there is bubble bath for the kids or a pack of cards to play with in the room when the weather is not so pleasant. It is about going that extra mile that everyone speaks about.

Here are a few things TMG noticed many establishments tend to forget to add to their guest rooms. Take note and maybe consider adding this to your rooms for the next guests to increase customer satisfaction and to give them a better experience of your establishment. It might be small things, but isn’t it true that it’s the small things that count?

  • Two point plugs in the rooms for a hairdryer (if there is none provided in the room), cell phone chargers, laptops, etc.
  • Information files in the rooms, providing information on local attractions, restaurants, coffee shops and shopping facilities.
  • It is always great to have a minibar in the room – just remember to stock it before the guests arrive and be sure to explain the payment procedures to your them. This service is a preferred service by TMG for business travellers, as they are the ones who might work late in the evenings.
  • Have a look at the lighting in the rooms. This is a big issue, especially for business travellers, at many South African establishments. Be sure that there is ample lighting at the desk area and next to the bed for working and reading purposes, as well as at the mirror areas where ladies might want to do their make-up.
  • Make sure about the correct height for the desk and chair where your guests visiting for business might want to work during the evening. You don’t want to tire them – in fact, you’d like them to feel comfortable and at home, right?
  • Also have a look at the position of all electric sockets in the rooms. The places guests would like to have electric sockets are mainly beside the bed and at the desk area, as well as close to a mirror.
  • Speaking of mirrors – remember that women (and many men too) need a mirror at a comfortable height for blow drying their hair, checking their outfits and doing their makeup. Should there only be mirrors in the bathroom, be sure that the area is secure for an electric socket for things like hairdryers and shavers. This is not the ideal, though. Rather add another mirror in the room itself.

Any more things you’ve noticed guesthouses or hotels tend to forget? Share your views and tips with Travelling Mystery Guest by leaving a comment.

How much to spend on tourism marketing

Source: thesewingdirectory.co.uk via Travelling Mystery Guest on Pinterest

Is how much to spend on tourism marketing not a question to which all of us would like a clear answer? This company says 20%. Other businesses state that they use a mere 2.5% to 3.5% of their revenue for marketing and sales. So what is the right way to go for marketing your tourism or hospitality establishment?

Well, this all depends on WHO YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE. Have you done the demographics? If not – you’d better take a step back.

Are your customers young people who enjoy the outdoors? Or are they focused and business orientated? Do they have children or are they the typical students who randomly decide to take a road trip to the South?

It’s not about how much to spend on marketing, but rather what you spend your marketing budget on. There’s no use in spending thousands on a billboard next to the N1 in Jo’burg if your target market are students who save money by driving seven people in a five seater and packing only one set of clothes for a week. Nor would there be any use in spending any money on new travel accessories for children (because, it’s so cute!) if your customers are young, single business men.

Your demographics, which include your customers’ ages, genders, income, geographical area, and so forth, will directly have an influence on your marketing budget and aims.

In today’s market, where we try to save as much as possible, the Web comes in handy quite often. Unfortunately, many companies see that as the easy way out and only market their product or service via e-mail. Remember: Not all your customers (depending on your target market) browse the internet all day. Even in one demographical segment there would be differences between people. No person is the same as the next. Being able to build a customer service relationship with each of your customers, you need to define each person’s personal customer needs and expectations and market your product or service accordingly.

Is your biggest target market young people? Find out what music they like, what radio stations they listen to, what books they read, what are their favorite hanging out places and what are their hobbies? Find a way into that market and pay that little extra to convince another customer to buy your service.

There’s no use in paying for marketing that doesn’t pay.

Have Travelling Mystery Guest visit your tourism or hospitality establishment and help you figure out who your target market is and what you can do to increase their customer satisfaction. Contact TMG on 079 1105674 or travellingmysteryguest@gmail.com.