HAC: new look and new travel survey

 

TORONTO — Both Green Key and the HAC have a new corporate look, Nik Nanos has reformatted the Canadian Travel Intentions Survey and David Allison tossed the idea of generational marketing out the window, advocating value marketing instead.

Susie Grynol and Diane Wessman show off the new look for Green Key Global.

Changes to this year's Hotel Association of Canada Conference, held Feb. 7-8 in Toronto, included the following:

- A new format for the awards celebration. Instead of a lunch, or interspersing awards with sessions, there was a dedicated evening reception for the winners at the beginning of the conference, complete with red carpet and (slightly) shorter speeches.

- Gender parity among speakers — half of this year's speakers were women.

Some of the changes were subtle, including the changes to HAC's logo. The old (top) and new (bottom) logos are shown below. HAC president Susie Grynol noted that the subtlety was deliberate, so that the new logo still reflects the  history of this organization.

Nik Nanos retools the Travel Intentions Survey
The new HAC Travel Intentions survey was literally hot off the press, delivered to the company 48 hours before the conference. The new survey measures 150 variables, and looks at information by province and by loyalty program. "It's a new go-to source for the industry," said Nik Nanos of Nanos Research, who presented the newly formatted study.

Instead of looking at just business and leisure travellers, the survey drilled down and looked at a new and growing group of "bleisure" travellers, who combine work and vacation travel. People over age 55 are the ones who are more likely to use a foundational business trip and add more days for vacation. Men tend to add more days to business trips. And while the average number of days added nationally was 2.51, Quebec business travellers added 3.95 more nights.

Nanos also developed customer narratives to put a face to some of the different types of travellers. 

Samantha Sameness is someone over 55 who wants consistent service standards (8.3 per cent) and consistent room standards (8.5 per cent). She skips social media (4 per cent) and likes reward points websites (31 per cent). She is more likely to arrive by car (57 per cent) and would not consider AirBnB (53 per cent).

Ian "It's all about me" Maximizer is typically 35-54 years old. If you give him free amenities, he'll book direct with the hotel (85 per cent). He is driven by good loyalty plans (7.0 per cent), is an Expedia comparison shopper (51 per cent) and regularly searches for specials (56 per cent).

Bobby Brand, also typically 35-54 years old, says, "the brand is me" (7.0 per cent) and it’s about both a business and a leisure stays (6.9 per cent). He is three times more likely to be doing more (24 per cent) than fewer (7 per cent) stays in 2018. The fridge (8.1 per cent), the pool (7.1 per cent), and the frequent guest upgrades (6.9 per cent) are important to him.

Natalie Explorer considers herself a free agent and is 18-24 years old. She surfs social media (34 per cent) to check out options, says free wireless service is important to her (8.9 per cent), wants good exercise facilities (6.5 per cent), would consider AirBnB for a leisure trip (76  per cent) and is not a member of a loyalty plan (64 per cent).

David Allison throws generational marketing out the window

"The age of age is over," according to David Allison who gave the closing session at the HAC conference. When Boomers compare answers, they agreed with each other 12 per cent; Millennials 13 per cent of the time and Generation X 11 per cent of the time.  This is little better than the random sampling of people, who would agree 8 per cent of the time.

"We are all the same age now," said Allison, advocating Valuegraphic Archetypes that are much more reliable than age.

These include: the adventure club, the home hunters union, the anti-materialists, the house of creativity, the loyalist's lodge, the technology fellowship, the environmental assembly, the workaholics, the savers society, and the Royal Order of the overdrawn.

"Banish ageist thinking," said Allison. "Build the world using shared human values instead."

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