June 15, 2020 · Phil Foriska

Timeline For Targeting Specific Markets During Recovery

There seems to be some debate on when hotels should resume their normal marketing efforts. Rather than guessing, we’ve reviewed collective data from our consumer sentiment studies, as well as online reservation data to provide a general timeline on when hotels should get back in the game and what markets they should be targeting.

Nearby Drive Market

If you have bookable dates in the future, you should already be targeting your drive market. We consider a typical drive market to be about a 2-3 hour drive or up to 200 miles around your property.
In our most recent consumer sentiment study published June 4, 2020, we’re seeing that 43% of respondents are willing to stay at hotels in their local area within the next 3 months and 62% are willing to stay locally within the next 6 months.
We also see that 60% of respondents are willing to travel up to 2 hours from their home within the next 3 months and nearly 80% are willing to travel up to 2 hours from their home within the next 6 months.
These people are actively searching for where they will stay during their next trip and hotels can’t afford to miss out on this business. We highly recommend spending the majority of your marketing dollars targeting your drive market and targeting them now.
If you need step by step instructions on how to target your drive market for search, display and social media advertising, check out our guide to targeting drive markets.

Expanded Drive Market

The expanded drive market is more difficult to define, however we typically segment this by an up-to-6-hour and up-to-10-hour drive radius around your property. If you still have additional marketing dollars to spend after targeting your drive market we recommend using the remainder to target an expanded drive market.
Our consumer sentiment analysis shows that 44% of respondents are willing to travel up to 6 hours from their home within the next 3 months and 68% of respondents are willing to travel up to 6 hours from their home within the next 6 months. If you’re not able to target this group immediately, we recommend targeting it within the next 2 months to ensure that your messaging is driving interest in your hotel while potential guests in this market are still in the planning phase.
We also see that 32% of respondents are willing to travel up to 10 hours from their home within the next 3 months and 50% are willing to travel up to 10 hours from their home in the next 6 months. This data tells us hotels should be targeting this market within the next 3-4 months.
Keep a close eye on these markets. If there are fewer restrictions in certain areas within your expanded drive market, you can target areas individually. If you typically receive a significant amount of business from specific areas that are outside of your nearby drive market, you may want to begin by targeting these areas via geo-targeted search, display and social media advertising.

Fly Markets & International

Based on our response data, it does not appear that many people are willing to fly domestically, while even fewer people are willing to fly internationally. These should be the last market segments you should be allocating any marketing dollars towards.
Our consumer sentiment study shows that only 18% of respondents are willing to fly to a destination within the next 3 months, only 32% were willing to fly within the next 6 months and only 50% within the next year.
Our data also shows that only 4.5% of respondents are willing to travel to a foreign country within the next 3 months, only 9% within the next 6 months and only 17% within the next year.
Based on this data, we do not recommend national targeting in the near future, however, we do recommend you pay attention to vertical trend reports, sentiment studies, law & ordinance changes, and other data points that may change the attitude of the general public.

We understand that these are trying and uncertain times.  Many hotel staff members are taking on more responsibility than they have ever had. If you find yourself in need of expert resources on hotel marketing, operations, revenue management and more, visit our Crisis Management Resources Page. Or, if you would like to reach out to Fuel with a specific question, feel free to Contact Us.

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