Segmenting Jamaica’s Small Hotel Market for Better Targeting

Trevor A. Smith
Suzette A. Haughton
Segmentation analysis employed in the hotel and hospitality industry is clearly not new; but nonetheless a very important marketing strategy that has withstood time. Moreover, while there are popular bases of segmentation for analysing the small hotel market (such as demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioural), the study argues that in light of the marketing challenges of small Jamaican hotels, conventional methods of segmentation analysis must be vastly improved for identifying more feasible segments for targeting. Further, previous segmentation research has identified nationality as a demographic variable of considerable importance to marketing of hotels. This is certainly the case in Jamaica where nationality can easily be categorized; with over 80% of combined visitor population belonging to three nationalities: Canadian, American and British. Using in-depth interviews with small hotel operators and content analysis of websites of these hotels, the study presents four clearly delineated hybrid segments that small hoteliers could target in the Jamaican marketplace. Implications for marketers, limitations and opportunity for further research are also discussed.

Keywords: Small Hotel Market, Bases of Segmentation, Segmentation Criteria, Jamaica.