Using Your Brand’s Niche to Create Unique Guest Experiences

By Kelsey Prince, CHDM, Area Director of Marketing, Paséa Hotel & Spa and Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort, HSMAI Rising Marketing Leader Council member

As travel and hospitality begin to rebound, guests have more travel options than ever before. Because of this, it’s important to not only identify our key demographics and personas but also to reach deeper and understand our brand or property’s niche to effectively reach target guests. The HSMAI Rising Marketing Leader Council explored ideas on how to connect with the guest through niche marketing strategies and experiences.

Establishing Your Niche

When determining how to develop your brand’s niche, the council offered these ideas:

Tap into customer feedback

  • “Social listening is helpful for those who are looking to establish a niche. Tap into feedback from your guests, your followers, influencers, and media partners. Consider what they think makes the most memorable experiences at your property. For example, what we see in our guest surveys is that the location is outstanding and it’s hard to beat. So, we make experiential programming around that. Ingrain those elements that the guests already love into your programming.”

Use targeted ads

  • “Use ads to focus in on a specific audience — don’t just serve ads to everyone. Find the audience and then drive business directly to them. We have seen success by implementing those guardrails to ensure we’re only serving ads to people who are likely to book and [take the action we want].”

Show your brand story

  • “We are trying to attract people who are comfortable booking on social media, and that audience is usually a younger demographic of conscious consumers. Not only do they care about where they’re going, but they want a story to tell, and they care about a brand story. We have certain properties that have their own specific personalities, and so there’s some synergy in that when we look at our niche market and the opportunity to inspire them.”

Exploring Niche Experiences

The council discussed the following experiences they’ve implemented at their properties for niche audiences:

Pet Friendly

  • “At one of my properties, we’re all about pet-friendly everything, so to dive into that niche a little more and really talk to those pet lovers, we rolled out Pup Fest, a music festival for dogs and dog parents. The music is at dog-friendly volumes, and we have a package that goes along with that, including a pet menu at the restaurant. On the digital side, we rolled out customized video content, so we’re able to speak directly to our target audience of pet parents.”
  • “We have a pets-stay-free policy at all our locations, and we use pet influencers who travel around our properties, taking videos and pictures that show all the pet-friendly things you can do. May is National Pet Month, so we dedicate a lot of our marketing to promoting pet travel. We do pet giveaways and discounts, and then we update some of our property experience pages with more pet-friendly items.”


  • “We have a property that is pretty much on a university campus. We did an NIL (name, image, and likeness) deal with a popular quarterback on the school’s football team to have him and his offensive line eat at our hotel’s restaurant for free once a week. We really wanted to speak to the alumni, and this effort has driven occupancy at the hotel and at the restaurant. Initially, it was just a fun deal to do, but it’s proven to be fairly lucrative.”

Millennials/Gen Z

  • “While we’ve grown to being an international brand and having a lot of upscale and boutique properties, our bread and butter is really the roadside, Route 66 properties — the ones where people drive across the country and stay at. So, we’ve really tried to tap into that with the younger generations. We have a network of different micro-influencers who go to various properties and blog about their stay, the route they took, the activities they participated in, and the restaurants they went to. They design vacations we could see our potential customers going on, with us as their road-trip destination.”
  • “We’re more of a budget-friendly brand, so we focus a lot on the road trip and things you can do while saving money by staying with us rather than a luxury hotel. To tap into the younger generations, we just started using TikTok, and we’re getting students to help us put together different videos so we can reach this demographic and create content that speaks to them.”
  • “On the OTA side of things, I think our bread and butter and our niche is getting Gen Z and millennials to use our app to book travel. The biggest powerhouse for that has been TikTok.”


  • “A lot of times, guests are interested in sustainability, which happens to be one of our core values as a company, along with supporting our local community. In Hawaii, there was a bill passed to ban the use of sunscreens that have chemicals that can damage our coral reef. Before that initiative passed, we provided educational materials at our property and had reef-safe sunscreen dispensers that highlighted some facts. It let our guests know we care about our environment, and we’re trying to make it easier for them to make better choices and lessen some of their carbon footprint when they come to Hawaii.”


  • “One of our niche audiences is in a dark-sky community in Arizona. One of our activations allows guests to rent a telescope, so they can stargaze from their balcony. We also invite star experts to come on property; there’s a dedicated lawn where they can set up and do nighttime star tours. I think it’s interesting how sometimes there’s already synergy between what your brand cares about and how you can use that to reach your niche audience for specific properties.”

Categories: Marketing, Branding
Insight Type: Articles