Buyer personas in your target group
The tourism industry is very competitive. Doing marketing as tour operator successfully, can be a challenge. There are hundreds of ways to promote a travel business and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all available strategies. Which approach to adopt and where to start?
The first thing you need to know is that personalisation is the key to success in marketing. So, before you can start any marketing activity, you need to know who your customers are. In the end, your marketing efforts have to be directed to the right people.
Tour operators often have difficulty describing their own target group. They have a general idea, but have not yet identified specific characteristics. However, it’s exactly these specific characteristics that are essential to achieve the best return on investment.
When a business has a clear target group, they can describe their ideal customer as a single person. A buyer persona. This is fictional characters that combines the needs, interests and behavioural patterns of your real and potential customers. A buyer persona supports you in understanding your customers better.
“The better you understand your customer, the faster your business will grow”
Benefits of a buyer persona
Personal relations with your customers are important. Instead of addressing all travellers worldwide, you will see more results when you specifically target your buyer persona(s). Basically, your buyer persona is a blueprint of your ideal customer, created for your business. They are an essential tool for tour operators to attract, engage and convert customers.
Buyer persona’s support you to identify the needs, interests and challenges of your target group. By pinpointing these characteristics, you can choose the most relevant and effective promotion channels and networks. Most importantly, when you know what they are interested in reading, it provides you with the opportunity to post content on specific times and topics for maximum engagement.
What does your ideal customer look like?
Your buyer persona profile should be based on your ideal customer. This is the traveller who:
- Loves your business and the experiences you offer
- Writes enthusiastic and positive reviews online
- Accepts your proposals and attached quote, without question or bargain
- Spends the most and who doesn’t complain.
This is your most loyal customer, the one that makes you put effort and passion into your business every day.
In a perfect world, all your customers would be like this. If you attract only this type of traveller, you will never have to worry about dissatisfied customers or complaints. Therefore, put effort into understanding who they are, and you’ll be in the perfect position to attract more of them.
Keep in mind, you can always have more than one ideal customer. Create up to three or four buyer personas and align your marketing strategies accordingly. Don’t worry about other customers, they will still come. The fact they don’t fit your target group for 100% is not a concern.
Identifying your ideal customer
To attract your ideal customer and to understand who your most profitable customers are, you first have to understand your current customers. This is a brainstorm activity and research in one. Do this by having a look at the following information:
- Customer data in your own system
- Google and Facebook analytics
- Online forums and groups
- Reviews and feedback
- Your competition
Now that you know who your current customers are, you can start identifying your ideal customer. It all starts with focussing on one of your favourite current customers. Zoom in on the following characteristics:
- Country of origin
- Type of travel they like
- Their interests
- Kind of experiences they look for
- Travel construction (with partner/alone/family)
- Social media activity
To give you an idea of a buyer persona, we have created Julia as an example.
Julia – 28 years old
- From Sweden (Northern Europe)
- Adventurous, active and loves the outdoors
- Interested in the destination (culture, history and people)
- Seeking off the beaten track destinations
- Travels with her boyfriend
- Flexible in planning
- Active on Instagram and Pinterest
- Medium budget but pays for quality
Once you’ve created your buyer persona(s), you can start to finds ways of reaching them. A great place to start is content marketing. You can use this strategy to rank your website higher in Google, grow your social media following and increase your sales.
Using your buyer persona in marketing for better business results
The process of identifying your ideal customer and creating your buyer persona brings clarity and focus to your product development and marketing strategies. Based on all the information you have collected about your buyer persona, you are able to send clear and customised content to your target group. Also, it enables you to reduce your advertising costs and increase your return on investment.
In the future, whenever you are developing new experiences, writing new content, planning your marketing strategy or communication messages: always consult your buyer persona to remind you who you are targeting. This will result in more and loyal customers.