How Travel Brands Benefit from Word-of-Mouth Marketing. By Melanie Nayer ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends Thursday, 25th July 2013
Exclusive Feature: How likely is it that you'll search for the same hotel or airline when booking your next travel? How likely are you to talk about your experiences with certain brands?
According to two recent surveys, your travel choices and conversations around those choices are what's driving interest in today's travel booking market.
A new survey found that Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons are the world’s most searched-for luxury hotel brands, signaling that even during a down economy, travelers are still searching for a slice of sophistication in their travelers.
The Digital Luxury Group’s inaugural ‘World Luxury Index’ for hotels, which gathered information from more than 133 million online searches, found that Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Loews, Shangri-La, InterContinental and Fairmont made up the most searched-for hotel brands.
While these might be the top searched brands, one New York-based Internet marketing research company says there's a new search dynamic entering the travel space: buzz. YouGov BrandIndex measured the rate of positive "buzz" from travelers - an entirely different measure of popularity, based entirely on impressions and conversations.
Southwest, Marriott, Enterprise and Priceline ranked top for buzz quality, meaning these are the brands people are talking positively about.
“Buzz is the entirety of what consumers are hearing about a brand,” said Ted Marzilli, CEO of YouGov's BrandIndex. “What they hear through advertising, news, friends and family helps shape their impressions of brands and whether or not they’ll consider interacting with them.”
The World Luxury Index found that interest in high-end hotels increased slightly, up 1.5% on a global level, and the US remains the largest market for luxury hotels, with the country accounting for 66.3% of global online searches. New York remains top destination for luxury hospitality destinations worldwide, ahead of Chicago and London, while the UK capital, Washington DC and Dubai were the fastest growing destinations.
The study also showed the strength of the upper-upscale sector, which accounted for 76.2% of high-end hotel searches, compared to 20.5% for luxury standalone and just 3.3% for luxury integrated hotels.
So what's this say about your travel searches? And equally as important, what does this say about hotels? Based on these two surveys, both released within just a few weeks of each other, it seems luxury isn't lost on travelers today, and word of mouth could be the best marketing conversation for brands.
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Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for4Hoteliers.com
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