Expedia Group and Unabashed Research have released a study that shows price and guest ratings are more important than brand value when it comes to hotel property selection.
The study of more than 900 consumers shows that independent hotels can more effectively compete today with their branded competition.
The research found that price was the most influential driver of hotel selection as consumers prioritise value when allocating their travel budgets.
Promotions and discounts that give value to the customer are a sure way to get hotel shoppers’ attention and have them select a property, said Expedia.
Abhijit Pal, head of research at Expedia Group, said: “While consumers want the best deal on travel bookings, their individual selections ultimately reflect their values.
“The consumer searching for a budget accommodation will look for the best value within their constraints, while someone with more disposable income may prefer a luxury option and be willing to pay more per night, but not more than they have to.”
Guest ratings have a strong influence on consumer selection, with a 72% chance that consumers will value guest ratings over hotel brand, according to the study.
The research demonstrates that participants were willing to pay more for a hotel with higher guest ratings; 24% more for a 3.9 rated hotel versus a 3.4 rated hotel and 35% more for a 4.4 rated hotel versus a 3.9 rated hotel.
Pal added: “Peer, or guest, ratings have essentially leveled the playing field for independent hotels, as more potential guests seek out third party endorsements for hotel properties they are considering.
“Independent hotels today can compete on a global scale with brands because distribution and technology enable them to compete, and quality is within their control.”
The study shows that hotel brand still carried an advantage over other attributes, such as remodel callouts, room image and hotel ratings. Premium brands showed more influence on selection, with shoppers rewarding those brands with some American depositary receipt (ADR) premium, but not to the extent that ‘superb’ guest ratings do, said Expedia.
According to Expedia, a recent Cornell University study looking at over 95,000 reviews and ratings for independent high-end properties by Jie Zhang and Rohit Verma entitled “What Matters Most to Your Guests: An Exploratory Study of Online Reviews” said: “The key drivers in customer satisfaction remain service and room.
“Hoteliers should therefore focus on the operational areas that speak volumes about service and room, such as appropriately friendly service throughout the property, as well as the quality of beds and ensuring a good night’s sleep for the guest.
“The traditional lodging service that delivers a good night’s sleep in a clean, well-functioning room, together with availability of an excellent breakfast, remains central to customer satisfaction.”
To view the full report, please visit: https://discover.expediapartnercentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Whitepaper_The-Big-Decision_March-2019.pdf