SurveyMonkey's Hotel Traveler Trends Revealed
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
SurveyMonkey unveiled its 2015 Hospitality Consumer Report on Thursday, revealing some interesting trends in the lodging and dining industries.
The study was based on a survey of 558 people aged 18 years and older using SurveyMonkey Audience who represented “a balanced sample of typical consumers in the United States.” SurveyMonkey disqualified the 9 percent who said they hadn’t visited a hotel or visited a restaurant or bar in the past 12 months. Consumers surveyed were most likely to both travel and stay in hotels one to three times every 12 months.
Here are findings from the study.
Travel, Lodging and Dining Habits
Of those surveyed, 59 percent traveled for pleasure and 56 percent stayed in a hotel for pleasure in the past 12 months. That’s compared to 25 percent who traveled for business and 21 percent who stayed in a hotel for business.
Those aged 45 to 49 traveled for both business and pleasure more than any other age group, while men are more likely to travel for business than women (45 percent to 35 percent).
Most Important Factors In Choosing a Hotel + Hotel Rewards
Of those surveyed, 27 percent said price was the No. 1 reason they choose a particular hotel. Quality of accommodations (22 percent) and location (21 percent) came in second and third, respectively.
When it comes to hotel rewards programs, 42 percent of those who have stayed in a hotel at least once in the past 12 months said they participate in a rewards program. The benefits they seek the most from a rewards program are: discounted rates or pricing (77 percent), points toward a free product or stay (63 percent) and special perks or amenities like free meals or Wi-Fi (49 percent). Those who stay in hotels for business purposes four or more times per year prefer to earn points toward a free product or stay.
While three in four businesses claim they put their customers first, only half of consumers agreed with the statement, “Most establishments have their guests’ best interests in mind, even if it means less profits.”
Consumers were asked if they trusted an establishment type “a little,” “a moderate amount,” “a lot,” “a great deal” and “not at all.”
Between bars, restaurants, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and resorts, consumers trusted bed and breakfasts the most, with 27 percent trusting bed and breakfasts “a great deal.” Resorts (22 percent), restaurants (12 percent), hotels (11 percent), bars (6 percent) and motels (3 percent) followed.
The Most Trusted Online Review Sites/Hotel Brands
Consumers check an average of four websites before making a hotel reservation, while 78 percent said they look at online reviews before making a reservation or visiting an establishment at least half the time, per the survey.
So which online review sites are most trusted?
According to the study, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google+.
What about brands?
You probably aren’t surprised to hear Disney made the list. Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott were among the hospitality brands mentioned. Interestingly enough, the Holiday Inn brand was labeled as producing both a “great experience” and a “bad experience” among consumers in the survey, indicating the brand is rather polarizing.
The Most Effective Promotions
One way to build confidence in your brand is to promote effectively.
Of those surveyed, three in four said packages and deals directly hosted by an establishment make them “more likely” to visit a hotel. Online deals found on sites like Groupon or LivingSocial also greatly influenced consumers and travelers (50 percent), while more than one-third said discounts on review sites like Yelp made them more likely to visit a hotel or restaurant.
Interestingly enough, social media wasn’t valued very highly by consumers in the survey. A whopping 77 percent of consumers said it’s “somewhat” to “not at all” important for a hotel to have a social media page, while just over 20 percent said a social media contest would make them more likely to visit a hotel or restaurant.
Travelers felt it was more important for an establishment to have an online presence on its own website (83 percent) or via online reviews (61 percent).
Not only is listening to feedback important in building a brand, but it’s also important that hotels allow consumers to give feedback easily and seamlessly. You don’t want consumers to be frustrated when giving a review, and you really do want those who had a mediocre experience to have an easy way to give a review because it ultimately makes you better.
When asked about the feedback systems of hotels, only 42 percent of those surveyed said establishments make it “somewhat easy.”
On top of that, more than 40 percent reported receiving a paper survey from a hotel, despite the survey finding that nearly all respondents prefer to submit feedback online. That includes 55 percent who’d prefer to submit feedback on a review site like TripAdvisor or Yelp.
For more Hotel & Resort News
More by Ryan Rudnansky
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions