Guest ratings more important than brand value, report finds

Price and guest ratings carry more weight than brand value as key attributes to hotel property selection, according to a new study of more than 900 consumers by Expedia Group.

Expedia found that price was “by far” the most influential driver of hotel selection, as consumers “prioritise value above all else” when allocating their travel budgets. Promotions and discounts that represent a real value to the customer is an almost guaranteed way to get hotel shoppers’ attention and have them select a property.

Guest ratings were also found to have a strong influence on consumer selection, with a 72% chance that any consumer will value guest ratings higher than hotel brand.

According to the study, 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% for a 3.9 rated hotel versus a 3.4 rated hotel, and 35% for a 4.4 rated hotel versus a 3.9 rated hotel.

However, the study found hotel brand did carry a slight advantage over other attributes, including remodel callouts, room image and star ratings. Premium brands showed more influence on selection, with shoppers rewarding those brands with some ADR premium, however Expedia added this was“not nearly to the extent that superb guest ratings do”.

Abhijit Pal, head of research, 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.

“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.”

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