According to Expedia’s study, The Big Decision, conducted by their research department to gain insight into guest behavior during hotel selection, 72% of surveyed guests consider hotel price and reviews as more influential factors than brand name when selecting hotel accommodations. Results also showed guests are willing to pay up to 24% more for a hotel with a score of 3.9 out of 5 than one with 3.4, and they’ll pay 35% more for a hotel with a 4.4 score over one with 3.9.
The information prospective guests obtain about resorts is no longer limited to advertising, brand awareness or print travel guides. Today, guests researching accommodations on the internet have access to thousands of guest reviews, photos, and of course, competitive prices through online travel agencies. The process is more transparent, increasing guest confidence in their booking choices. Customer review platforms also give hoteliers the opportunity to make their voice heard. Many will leverage comment sections to reply to unhappy guests and even satisfied ones. Letting guests know their opinion matters, ensures they feel heard and appreciated.
It’s no surprise that cost is the most influential factor when it comes to selection of accommodations. It further proves that resorts and hotels promoting special offers and discounts have a greater chance of grabbing the attention of potential guests, and a higher probability of winning the business.
Once guests narrow their choices based on their budgets, they turn to online reviews to assess which property ranks best. Online reviews help guests make the best decisions based on their needs, preferences and, of course, budgets. And, while reviews may put added pressure on resorts to deliver guest satisfaction more than ever before, it can also be an opportunity to outrank the competition. This is especially true for independent and boutique properties, as today’s guests are less concerned with brand names and more interested in the best experience for the best price.
The results from the study show that cost and guest satisfaction ratings are paramount to guests when choosing their accommodations. Hoteliers can apply these insights to their own booking sites or reservation systems by promoting deals, snapshots of positive guest reviews and customizing the booking experience to fit their property or brand. The data obtained from the system can then help hoteliers deliver personalized add-on services and upgrades to amplify guest spend and increase guest satisfaction.