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Technology is the key to new social groupings

18 March 2005 by

One of the biggest challenges facing hoteliers today is categorising customers, because the old classifications have become redundant.

Malcolm Preston of PricewaterhouseCoopers told delegates at the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin that the old social classes - A, B and Cs - didn't exist anymore.

Preston predicted alternative ways of analysing customers, including the formation of new categories, which would group people according to social behaviour and relationship to technology.

He said one group could, for example, be termed "tabloids". They would represent about 15% of the UK market.

"They are brand conscious, but like to play safe. They would always book holidays through a travel agent and would hardly ever use low-cost airlines as they don't have access to the internet."

Another at the other end of the spectrum, but also representing about 15% of UK population, is a segment he called "wireds".

These are new-age men and women, who use the latest technology. "These people book their own holidays, do the research themselves and will devise a package to meet their own needs."

He added that the hotel industry needed to ensure that it understood its customers and the best ways to reach them.

"There are a lot of different ways to reach a hotel room these days," he said.

by James Garner

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