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  One-half of US hotel revenue comes from one-fourth of guests

By: Jonathan Barsky, Lenny Nash
Hotel & Motel Management

According to the Market Metrix Hotel Index database of US hotel guests, 25 percent of travelers spend more than $1,700/year on hotels and represent nearly half of all revenue spent on US hotels.

The average rate for these high-spend travelers is approximately $120 per night. Not surprisingly these upper-crust folks earn 35% more than the average guest ($98,038 per year) and stay approximately 20 nights per year in hotels (7 nights more than other guests). The average age of this group is 41 ½ years old which is slightly older than all hotel patrons (39 years old) and includes mostly men (61%).

These persons are four times as likely to join a frequent stay program. Their levels of satisfaction and loyalty are, however, on par with other hotel guests.

Within this lucrative group are 9 sub-segments. One of these groups is called The Savvy Loyalist. These are older frequent travelers who are bargain hunters and join loyalty programs to take advantage of membership perks. 97% of persons in this group are currently enrolled in a hotel frequent stay program. They like being treated differently than other guests -- it makes them feel important. They typically stay with such brands as Courtyard, Hampton Inn and Comfort Inn.

Another sub-group of big-spenders is the Ray Bans and Business Cards. These mid-class businessmen (94% business, 67% male) travel frequently (21 nights per year), actively seek hip hotels and reject loyalty programs. Ray Bans and Business Cards want to stay in a trendy hotel and location because it is important to them to look and feel stylish. They rebuff loyalty programs because joining would conflict with their independent nature. They patronize such hotel brands as Marriott, Courtyard and Sheraton.

The largest pleasure group of big-spenders is the Wannabees. These are middle-aged, modest-income travelers who will spend beyond their means for a nice stay. Wannabees are easy-to-please guests who like to feel important and respected. Their average income is only $59,000 but spend an average of $102 on 18 hotel nights per year. The most important element of their hotel stay is being pampered. W Hotels, Ritz-Carlton and Westin are the preferred hotel brands.

Perhaps the most interesting group is the Manicures and Massages. This group may be described as “Young pleasure travelers living the good life in preferred hotels.” These guests typically stay in Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, Fairmont and other luxury hotels. These travelers are attracted to these hotels because of the relaxed, content and comfortable experiences provided by these brands.

Despite the size of this group (2% of all hotel customers), they contribute 6% of the amount spent on hotel rooms in the US ($3,812/year per person). Their average rate is a healthy $211, higher than any other customer group. Not surprisingly these upper-class folks earn $132,889 per year (32% more than the average guest) and are slightly younger than typical hotel patrons (36 years old).

Manicures and Massages come from big cities (New York City Houston, Los Angeles, Santa Ana-Anaheim) and from select suburban locations (Santa Rosa, CA; New Brunswick, NJ; Bridgeport-Stamford CT).

These guys and gals (51% male) are less likely to join frequent stay programs, but once in the hotel, they are easier to please. These guests report higher satisfaction levels than any other customer group. As a result, these persons are 27% more likely to return to that hotel brand.
The Market Metrix Hotel Index gauges satisfaction, price sensitivity and 16 "feelings" of frequent travelers. Customer satisfaction scores are based on responses to 13 product and service questions. Quarterly interviews are conducted with 30,000 guests about their most recent hotel stays and include more than 85 hotel brands in all 50 states.

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Jonathan Barsky, Ph.D. and Lenny Nash are both partners with Market Metrix LLC (, a firm that provides customer and employee satisfaction measurement services for hotels and resorts. For more information, call 800-239-7515.

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