|Price Trumps Loyalty In Latest Consumer Report.|
By Melanie Nayer ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Wednesday, 26th March 2014
Exclusive Feature: Is traveler loyalty a thing of the past?
According to a report from Accenture Hospitality, more travelers would choose a hotel based on price, even if they are a loyalty member of that hotel brand.
The survey questioned over 12,000 customers in 32 different countries to find out more about how they choose and book hotel rooms. The research found that 41 percent of customers find offers and deals as a top differentiator when choosing a hotel.
"There really seems to be a stagnation in the industry about the loyalty that customers feel to particular brands,” said Umar Riaz, the North American lead for Accenture’s Hospitality practice about these findings.
I found the results interesting, but not all that surprising. Even though the economy has improved and luxury travelers are spending more and staying longer, they aren't passing up a good deal for free WiFi or discounted parking, typical perks that come with loyalty programs. Since online sites make it easy to compare rooms, amenities and costs, it's also easier for consumers to see value based on preferences.
The survey went on to say that 79% of customers made their hotel and travel bookings online, representing a 7 percent increase compared to last year. Forty-one percent of consumers use their mobile device frequently for online product searches and 33 percent use a device to make online purchases.
So what does this mean for the hospitality industry? Nothing is conclusive, but if hotels want to vie for customers against competitors, it seems the price play is the game to play.
While loyalty does have its place, there's only so much a traveler is willing to do for an upgrade or extra points, when the cost of the room is significantly more than the place next door. All things being equal (size of room, amenities, perks, etc.), consumers still value price over prestige.
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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 for 4Hoteliers.com
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