A survey of more than 900 consumers by the Expedia Group reports guest ratings carry more weight than brand value.
Impact of Hotel Reviews
For 72% of the respondent in the survey, the reviews and ratings of guests are more valuable. So much so, they say they are willing to pay more for hotels with a higher rating. As much as 35% more for a 4.4 rated hotel over one rated 3.9, and 24% more for a 3.9 rated hotel over a 3.4 rating.
Small hotel owners who can’t compete with large brands in terms of sheer size can now do so with quality service.
Abhijit Pal, Head of Research, Lodging Partner Services, Expedia Group, said as much in the press release.
Pal said, “This shows that 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. It also reveals that independent hotels can compete on a global scale with brands if they focus on guest experience.”
The internet, social media, and smartphones have changed the way consumers interact with a business. If your business doesn’t provide a quality customer experience, they will let you know with their peer reviews.
It is this ability which has empowered consumers and given small businesses the potential to compete with much larger brands.
Consumers also want unique experiences, which is much harder to deliver for a large hotel with 200 rooms. What this means for small hotels is they can go above and beyond a large chain to provide the best possible experience. And if it is done right, the reviews from your guest will drive in more customers.
The report says guest reviews are important, but it is not the number one factor in making a decision on where to stay. Not surprisingly, price is number one.
Consumers first look at the price of the hotel, whether it is a popular brand or not. According to the report, promotions and discounts are an almost sure fire way for customers to choose your property.
After price, guest ratings is the most important factor for the majority of the respondents in the survey. This was the case on both sides of the pricing structure. No matter how much a customer is willing to pay, they want value for the amount they are paying.
To get this perceived value, they are getting the information they need from previous guests and the reviews they leave behind.
The report concludes by saying brand as an attribute isn’t as powerful as guest ratings. And the days of brands solely driving the decision are gone.
For independent hotels who are delivering a customer experience above and beyond what their guests are expecting this all good news.