Marriott & Starwood Luxury Brands Travel Personas – Bloomberg

Travel Personas are in vogue as this thought-provoking interview reveals. Marriott & Starwood Luxury Brands Travel Personas include three (3) main Personality types of the Luxury Traveler. They match up well with the latest from PersonaHolidays, which we wrote about recently, as it implemented its personal vacation planner across the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedic website, See this at Barbados Gets Personal.

The travel personas for Marriott/Starwood noted by Tina Edmundson, Marriott’s global brand officer, in her interview with Bloomberg can be compared to the pioneering work done by PersonaHolidays, which has created a personalized travel planning and recommendation engine that can be used by hotel marketers. According to Tina  Edmundson, Marriott/Starwood luxury brands include “The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bvlgari, St. Regis, Edition, the Luxury Collection, JW Marriott and W”. She says the collection was designed to represent all luxury customers and adds that Marriott & Starwood Luxury Brands Travel Personas cover all these travelers, no matter their mood or preference.

Marriott & Starwood Luxury Brands Travel Persona

Tina Edmundson, Marriott’s global brand officer, gives Bloomberg a revealing first look at her vision of the Starwood/Marriot merger. Source: Marriott and Starwood Reveal Future of Their Luxury Brands – Bloomberg

Main Personas Represented by Marriott

Marriott has identified two main luxury travel personas. It has characterized the Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and JW Marriott as “classic luxury”, while the other five brands are considered purveyors of “distinctive luxury”. “This is largely an indication of style: traditional and business travel-friendly (“classic”) vs. modern and boutique-y.”

Tina adds that their are really more like the “Autograph Collection” which is not accounted for in the above luxury groups. Properties like (Pier One Sydney Harbour; Atlantis Paradise Island)  are being considered part of the “distinct premium” portfolio, alongside Le Meridien and Westin. She agreed that there are “some instances where a hotel that’s part of Autograph Collection could be a better fit for the Luxury Collection, and vice versa,” but said the company has “no plans to make any changes.”

Luxury Personas: Classical, Distinctive and Autograph

Tina clarifies as follows: “With Ritz-Carlton, this consumer is really leaning toward discovery. And for St. Regis, it’s really about status and connoisseurship.” Each brand caters to these mindsets—”and those can be blown up to help articulate the differences more clearly.”

Ritz-Carlton, she says, is “for facilitation” and those personas like “to explore a new place”. Ritz, she says, connects  people to places, while St. Regis is the place where people want to see and be seen. “The St. Regis customer is looking for the hotel to serve up performances by jazz legends or signature rituals like midnight supper and St. Regis bloody marys.”

PersonaHolidays Comparison

Using aspects of Sally Hogshead’s “HowToFascinate”, PersonaHolidays would see these Marriott types as The Connoisseur (Classical-Ritz) and Avant-Guard (Regis Distinctive) and the Architect (Autograph Collection). The Brand’s Autograph Collection with its Atlantis Paradise Island is tending toward the “mystique” in personality as defined by HowtoFacinate. In all there are 49 HowToFacinate Archetypes which are not travel personas but with the PersonaHolidays engine are converted into personas related to holiday preferences.converting personality archetype to travel personas


In HowToFacinate  terms, Brands Archetype are defined by the two main characteristics of how people express themselves and conversely, what determines what they like and need in a holiday experience. They may  have one of 7 attributes as the primary attribute – that is, they are primarily power-driven, or motivated by passion, innovation, mystique, trust and mindfulness (alert).

The Connoisseur is Prestige and Passion. Avant-Guard is Prestige and Innovation. The Archictect is Prestige and Mystique. Missing in the Prestige coupling is  Power (the Victor), Trust (Blue Chip) and Alert (Scholar) – All have slightly different appeals that PersonaHolidays predicts and matches. You can see this in action on the world’s first implementation of the PersonaHoliday personal vacation planning at

Naturally, archetypes by themselves are not as restrictive as this might imply. For illustration purposes we show how Prestige is a determinant for many travelers looking for a luxury vacation.

Variation of the connoisseur travel persnoa

Presige is a driving force for most who have high expectation and love elegance and luxury. But it need not be the primary determinant. The travelers who is say more innovative may have prestige as a second or third attribute. If they score higher on both innovation (first) and Prestige (second)  that suggest they are something of a  Trendsetter – the twin to Connoisseur. This has differences in predicting likes and preferences. Prestige may also not be a key determinant for travelers looking for a luxury holiday, but it often is. Typically is someone is seeking elegance and luxury you will find prestige ranking high in their attributes.

Predicting Travel Personas

The job of the PersonaHolidays Matchwords engine is to predict what hotels best suit the visitor, a job that it learns and perfects with every visitor. For example, the archetype defined by passion and innovation is the Catalyst and her twin is the Rockstar.

There are many travelers like Catalysts and Rockstars who like luxury and for them prestige is not their top characteristics. But if it is a significant parameter in their makeup we would predict that luxury and elegance may well appeal, though it may be tinged with their primary drivers. The personality who score high in Mystique and has a high sore in prestige (Royal-Guard)  likes elegance, but typically are more understated, sort of like an understated Connoisseur.

Every personal recommendation engine has to account for these variables in human behavior and personality. That’s the work that the Persona Holidays Match words engine is perfecting with every travel click.

Archetypes are not Travel Personas

Archetypes by themselves are not predictors of travel persons. They are however indicators of aspects or attributes that define a travel-persona. That is why Personholidays uses a lot of behaviors triggers to analyze the travel related attributes of a traveler using the service. Detail behaviors analysis digs deep into Big Data to glean insights, make relations and predict outcomes.  Persona-matchwords are the travel related words that are derived from archetypes in conjunction with actual search terms and options.

more about matchwords

Matchwords are similar to words used in matchmaking. They describe the people, places and decor one likes, admires and connects with. It also takes into account interest and how the perceive themselves. Every Person Hotel is described with respect to these same matchwords and building the hosts archetype is a good start, especially for smaller resorts. For larger hotels Persona builds the Brand archetype and integrates that with a more specific questionnaire and interpretation.

As they say Persona is an expert system that analyzes behavior and delivers a product according to personality. It  matches hotels with travelers  based on compatibility of character using psychology and intelligent observation.

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