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Your Target Guest in Post-COVID-19 World

While we normally want to use previous customer data to make assumptions about our future customer, we no longer have that option. Instead, companies need to begin looking forward and making their best guess about that future guest. Looking to understand why that future guest will want to pay for your tour.

Research conducted by Dragon Trail Research of Chinese travelers found that travelers born in the 1990s were the most optimistic about when recovery will happen, and likely to travel sooner than older respondents. They are also the most likely age group to have increased travel budgets after the crisis. This will be an important target audience for travel marketers once recovery begins.

As you read through the persona below, think about creating your persona around that person — your post-COVID-19 guest. It may not be 58yr old, Doris. The first set of people to start going out in public, start interacting with strangers again, may be 23yr old Britney who wants to meet up with her friends and have a good time.

Define your guest, then look for new opportunities to provide value in their life through your services.

Taste the City’s Target Guest — Sarah, 29yrs old

Italics = From Erwin, CEO of Taste the City in Belgium

Sarah is a young woman of 29 years old, born in Sint-Niklaas (a medium sized country town) and moved to Antwerp to study. Here she studied commercial sciences at Plantin in the Korte Nieuwstraat, which she completed without any problems. Afterwards she studied commercial law for 1 more year. After her studies she stayed in Antwerp because she thinks Antwerp has much more to offer than Sint-Niklaas and because of the strong group of friends she has built up here. She finds it too difficult to ask if she ever wants to live outside the city again, and she does not want to think about that yet.

She lives with her boyfriend, Jens, in an apartment on the Horse Market. Jens is an IT professional of age 30. They met at a student party where they both were when they graduated for a few years. Both were active students, Praesidium members (the people who run the student clubs), and have lingered in student life a little longer than their studies have lasted.

​​So far into reading this, it is incredibly in-depth. THIS is the level of understanding I hope tours, and business, to have about their ideal guest.

In the meantime, that chapter of their life has been closed for several years. They both like to come out a lot and love the good life and see many of the same people as they used to, said it now in a slightly less wild context.

​​Excellent motivation. They WANT to go out, they just need something to do. So it’s not as much about “taking a tour” as it is a great opportunity to hang out with friends again while doing something.

Jens and Sarah often go out together, but each also has their own groups of friends with whom they do things without their partner.

​​Opportunity to setup some private tour landing pages specifically about hanging out with girlfriends or guy friends — then push that messaging out to your mailing list. Especially to someone who has already taken the tour before, they’ll love the idea of a group tour again to meet up with friends.

They once want children, but at the moment life is still too much fun and carefree to think about it.

Sarah works for Maersk where she does financial reporting and taxation. She is a hard and motivated worker who wants to move forward in life. She shares her office space with Ilse and Dominique.

​​An opportunity to offer two free tickets to a friend to spread awareness. Pick a certain day and tell her she’s won two free tickets. If she can’t make it, she can guest the tickets to a friend. They just need to register by X day to redeem.

​​Jam pack that day with quality referrals of people who are going to head back into the office and tell even more people about it.

She and Ilse are a good match and often chat about anything and everything. Ilse is 33, married and has two children. She is much more family oriented than Sarah. Dominique is an older and more serious man, and conversations with him are usually just about work. Her boss is Nicole, a woman of 50 with an impressive career that she looks up to. She usually spends her lunch and coffee breaks with Ilse and Charlotte from the sales team. Charlotte is 28, single and has a similar lifestyle to Sarah’s. Sarah especially enjoys the dating stories of Charlotte and the adventures she experiences.

Sarah likes to travel. She likes to go to distant destinations such as Vietnam, Singapore and Mexico, but if she is to be honest her favorite destination remains Italy.

Can use some promotional language about“feeling like you’re traveling” when you’re still in your own home area. I think this is going to be exceptional messaging in a post COVID-19 world.

The combination of the beautiful cities, sun, delicious wine and the best food in the world (Sarah thinks that) makes Italy unbeatable. However, as long as she is young and unbound by children, she tries to travel as far as possible. Italy and the rest of Europe will still be there when she has children. The two trips that are still on top of her list are a safari in Africa and a trip through Georgia before tourism spoils it. She likes going on trips with just Jens, but for this kind of trips she prefers to go in a group, for example with Joker (a travel company for adventurous trips) or just with her group of friends.

A week without a few glasses of wine does not really exist for her, especially once when the sun starts shining. There are few things better than sitting on a terrace with some friends with the sun in her glass of wine.

​​If wine isn’t already integrated as part of a regular tour offering, look to do that. OR, look to promote wine on the private tour landing page you create specifically for female private events.

However, Jens is a beer lover who particularly likes old bars and craft beer bars, so finding the suitable location for a drink can sometimes be a challenge. So she sometimes ends up in real beer cafes, and can therefore enjoy a special beer, but wine still remains the winner. And whether with wine or beer, snacks are always a good idea.

Sarah is a millennial. She is very concerned with the environment and wants to make the world a better place. She likes anything green and ecological and slogans such as “think global, buy local” are always well received.

Let’s be sure to include at least one or two notes in your messaging about your impact on the community. This would help build trust through the alignment of a common goal.

She buys as much locally as possible, from smaller shops, tries to avoid plastic, but is still guilty of shopping at Zalando (the european amazon.com for clothes and shoes). She knows that this is not actually in line with her beliefs, but it is simply too cheap and too easy for her to do this and avoids confrontation with herself about this.

She likes to try new things, such as food tours, and likes to bring her friends together, but finds it difficult when the activity costs a lot of money. Not because of the money, because she doesn’t mind paying for something fun, but because she’ll feel guilty towards her friends if she made them spend money on something that wasn’t good.

Major fear/objection — something that needs to be addressed in your copy on a private tour landing page, or your home page.

So she needs to be confident in the quality before she’ll suggest it to her friends.

The most important thing for her when organizing an activity with her friends is the atmosphere. If the atmosphere is good, friendly and fun, it’s always time well spend. She also finds it a plus if they can discover new things and learn interesting new facts. What she is most afraid of is that the guide will be boring.

Major fear/objection — may be able to combat this with a short video that provides some personality behind the guide.

She and her friends like to laugh a lot and like a nice interaction, and a guide who does not allow that and only wants to show off his historical knowledge, is something she really wants to avoid.

I hope this example target guest persona has had you thinking about your own guest. That one person who is going to love your tour, tell their friends, and hopefully even facilitate a private tour.

For help defining your target guest, use our online questionnaire. It includes 30 questions for identifying the fears, motivators, and objections of your own guest.


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