Consumer Behavior in the Hospitality Industry: Influences & Characteristics

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  • 0:00 Definition of Consumer…
  • 1:06 The Psychological Factors
  • 3:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Understanding why your customers make decisions is invaluable in marketing and operating your hospitality business. Learn about the psychological factors that influence customers and how their behavior is affected by them.

Definition of Consumer Behavior

Consumer behavior concerns why consumers make the buying decisions they make. This includes understanding what consumers want, how much they're willing to pay, how they choose what they will buy, and how they finalize the buying process.

In the hospitality industry, consumer behavior affects how guests choose the hotels, restaurants, and entertainment. If you're studying your guests' behavior, you will want to know what factors led to them choosing your business. This information can help you attract similar customers.

Let's imagine you work at a hotel and want to increase occupancy rates. In order to sell more rooms, you need to understand what is attracting or repelling customers. You create a survey and ask your current and past customers to share their opinions with you. In the survey, you ask questions that relate to how they heard about your hotel, what made them choose your facility, their impression of your property, and what their experience was like while staying at your hotel. As you start to evaluate the responses, you're able to understand the consumer behavior of your guests.

The Psychological Factors

Consumers rely on several basic factors when making purchasing decisions, many of which are subconscious. Here are some key psychological factors that affect guest behavior:

Cultural characteristics are based on learned behaviors, usually related to close relationships like family, friends, or teachers. When we consider this from a hospitality point of view, decisions are based on how a person was raised and the attitudes of their family. For instance, if you grew up in a family that frequently stayed at nice, medium- to high-priced hotels, you may likely follow that pattern as you get older. You will likely avoid economy hotels because your family stayed at nicer properties. As you evaluate your guests' needs, you will want to consider habits and traditions that affect their choices. While you may not be able to change these factors, understanding them can help you better comprehend their viewpoint.

Our social circle, or who people interact with, greatly affects our decisions and choices. This is relevant in the hospitality industry because your guests will consider word-of-mouth marketing and opinions of their friends, co-workers, and associates. When your guests check into your hotel, they are typically asked how they heard about the property. As you review the responses, you find that the majority of your guests choose your hotel as a result of a reference from someone they know. This information can be valuable in your marketing plans. You want to make sure your hotel meets and exceeds guest standards and all complaints are immediately responded to. This will help improve customer service and encourage further positive comments about your property.

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