What would you guess most determines how we choose a hotel?
Price? Location? Recommendation by a friend or someone else?
In a connected Social Media world, it's surprising to discover that what our friends, and friends of friends recommend, say on Facebook or other sharing platforms, counts for only 6.8 % in determining what influences our hotel choices. "Past Experience" weighs in at 11.9%.
In truth, according to Hotelmarketing.com, what actually influences a hotel choice is location. For example, the report notes that location matters more to leisure travelers and older travelers (50 and older) with yearly incomes generally between $100 and 150,000. We would have thought "location" mattered more to business travelers.
But while price and location are important factors in choosing a hotel, so is "past experience." In fact, "past experience" as an influencer of travel choices among us has risen considerably in the last couple of years, while the influence of "price" and "location" on our hotel choices have remained pretty constant.
From a marketing point of view, this is important data for determining and appealing to guest behavior.
Market Metrix, which provides customer satisfaction results to the hospitality industry, says the growing importance of "past experience" as an indicator of return visits, has much to do with the diversity of hotel choices, and increasing customer demand for more and better service by customers.
Loyalty Programs ( 3.8%) Brand Reputation (5.5%) and Online Reviews (2.9%) show a relatively paltry influence factor.
When it comes to casinos, it seems location plays a lesser role. Excitement, ambiance top the list here, and we assume, how many times one has won at the casino, which loops right back to "Past Experiences."
But all of this begs the key question: Are guests satisfied with their hotel experiences? They're not, according to a report by research giant, J.D. Power. According to them, "the underlying hotel experience continues to deteriorate" falling further behind in customer service.
So, for all the noise about Social Media and "influencers," what matters is how one was treated. That, and rightly so, is the human factor most shaping our decisions.