Synovate says it surveyed over 6,300 people across 10 countries to gauge their tastes in hotel experiences and their means of choosing where to stay on vacation or business away. Per the firm, 46% of consumers do some research, but one in 10 will "simply choose the first okay one that they find."
Sheri Lambert, Synovate's U.S. senior vice president for travel and leisure research, said a good online strategy is necessary if hotels want to reach people who do some research and those who do none.
"What an opportunity for hotels," she tells Marketing Daily. "All they have to do -- and yes, it's easier said than done -- is create easy-to-find search ads to pursue this 10% of potential guests ... the ones who want to find an 'okay' hotel quickly. They have to get their name in front of these people first. But it's not simply search marketing. There's also the 19% of people who research every hotel in the area so they can make a truly informed choice. A well-considered and beautifully presented online strategy is a must."
The firm says 29% of travelers globally -- including 45% of Americans -- use a hotel's own Web site more than any other research tool. Word-of-mouth is the second-most-popular choice globally, and 20% ask colleagues, friends or relatives about hotels.
Only 12% of Americans use word-of-mouth to help them select a hotel, instead preferring hotel review sites like TripAdvisor.com (22%). Thirteen percent of Americans read travel magazines to choose hotels -- more than anyone else in the world -- and only 1% of Americans use a travel agent to find a hotel. Seven in 10 say they will stay in less expensive hotels due to the current economy.
Seventy-two percent of respondents worldwide said a bad hotel experience can ruin an entire trip. The firm said this was particularly true with travelers from (in descending order) France, Japan and Hong Kong, and the U.S. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they will tell others about a bad experience, but 90% said they would report a good experience. The firm says that overall, 58% of hotel-goers are open to trying a new hotel. Forty percent of Americans say they enjoy trying new hotels.
A majority of survey respondents said the best hotels are in Europe and Asia.