The last four months at Palm has been spent working with our hotel clients, analysing data and trends to understand the shifts in guest habits and predict lifestyle factors, in order to ensure we have the best target audience as venues reopen and we move into the new normal.

Every hotel should complete a thorough audit of its pre-Coronavirus customer base and target audience to establish how Covid-19 will impact business from this group.

Here’s what we have found for both leisure and corporate consumers that you can feed into identifying the new target audience for your hotel:

Setting the Scene: The Economic Landscape

One thing is certain, that both corporate and leisure travellers will be more finance-focused in the months ahead.

The facts speak for themselves:

  • The UK is entering the sharpest recession on record with a likely contraction of 14 per cent in 2020 (The Bank of England)
  • A third of jobs at risk by Coronavirus in 2020
  • Disposable income to fall by 17 per cent in 2020 (Centre for Economics Business Research)

When we look at those most affected financially, we can see that the under 30s are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to those aged 40-55 (Cambridge, Oxford and Zurich University Report).

However, the older age demographics may be more reluctant to travel and worried about the safety issues surround coronavirus.

Geographic Targets: Which UK Areas are Least Affected?

The regions least affected are those with the highest proportions of jobs in the “knowledge economy” and are heavily situated within an area called The Greater South East, including:

  • Oxford
  • Cambridge
  • London
  • Reading
  • Worthing

Future Target: The Leisure Consumer

From an economic viewpoint, the ideal consumer will be aged 30-55, living in the Greater South East. They will be a professional, high earner, University educated and are more likely than not to have a family.

In terms of their mindset, they will be focused on health and wellness – even more so since the pandemic. They see this area as worth investing money in.

They are looking for escapism post-lockdown as they are used to travelling. They want to be able to relax and have a little bit of luxury and care taken of them – without any washing up!

They will need to be reassured about the safety of travelling, but they do not want to be overwhelmed with detail. They are keen that the trip allows them to feel that they are escaping the anxiety of the past few months and will give them some space to de-stress and have fun.

Future Target: The Domestic Business Traveller

Domestic corporate travel makes up 48% of the UK’s £9.1 billion business travel market and will be more important than ever.

This audience is more likely to be male (around two thirds are men) and aged between 30 -55. They will have worked in an industry that has fared well in the pandemic.

Their mindset has shifted post pandemic and the leisure element of hotels stays are of decreasing importance, especially as their business is super focused on the health and safety aspects of their trip – combined with a tightening of budgets for corporate entertaining etc.

We know that 68% of organisations now have a strategy in place for monitoring employee wellbeing, which is more than double than in 2016 REBA. However, this target consumer themselves are pragmatic about the health risks surrounding coronavirus.

Old vs New Audiences

Analyse how the historic customer base intersects with the new target Coronavirus Leisure and Corporate Traveller, creating an offering that appeals to this demographic if the original offering was skewed to a different audience.

Make Loyal Customers Feel Like VIPs

Despite understanding new audiences to target and those most aligned by mind-set and economically, all hotels should adopt a loyal customers first policy with communications.

They should receive news about the hotel reopening and any new offerings before the wider market.

Consider providing unique experience or first access that makes these individuals feel special.

Pre-opening, hotels should invest in building up their owned communications channels, refining databases, building social media followings and running data capture campaigns so marketing campaigns are easy to implement.

Build an emotive connection with customers by showing the people behind the brand and showcasing the hotel’s values for example by highlighting how staff are being looked after at this time.

Palm is part of The Recovery Collective, along with 8th Floor, Ella De Beer, Virtually Be There and Shelter & Co., a team of seasoned experts, providing hotels with consultation and implementation to reopen successfully. We not only troubleshoot immediate needs but we plan for longevity. For a free consultation to see how we can help, contact