Price and guest ratings carry more weight than brand value as key attributes to hotel property selection, according to a new study conducted by travel platform Expedia Group and Unabashed Research, showing that independent hotels can more effectively compete today against their branded counterparts.
Abhijit Pal, head of research of Expedia Group, said that 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-per-cent chance that any consumer will value guest ratings higher than hotel brand, according to the study. In fact, consumers are willing to pay more for higher guest reviews, and considerably more so than for more premium brands. Participants overall were willing to pay more for a hotel with higher guest ratings: 24-per-cent more for a 3.9-rated hotel versus a 3.4 rated hotel, and 35-per-cent more for a 4.4-rated hotel versus a 3.9-rated hotel.
Although the study was based on US travellers, these insights are crucial for Thai hoteliers as the US is the number one feeder market for Thailand according to Expedia Group data. US travellers are also amongst one of the high-value travellers as they spend 15-per-cent more on accommodation than the average international traveller,
“The research results are telling. As guest ratings carry more weight than brand when it comes to making a booking, hoteliers, especially independent ones who don’t have huge budgets for marketing, should focus on providing best services to guests during their stay so as to gather more positive reviews. This ultimately help hoteliers increase conversion and drive revenue,” said Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, director of market management at Expedia Group.