As consumers, many of us are always trying to find the best bang for our buck without sacrificing quality. Oftentimes, that leads us to pick the second-tier choice rather than the cheapest or most expensive option. But in a new study conducted in part by Donna Quadri-Felitti, Academic Chair and Clinical Associate Professor at NYU Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, it was found that travelers are more likely to book a hotel with higher review scores, regardless of cost. “The effect that reviews have on the price that travelers are willing to pay is especially profound. In our simulations, hotels with the highest review scores received significantly higher clickthrough than lower-rated hotels,” says Quadri-Felitti.
To conduct the study, an online survey panel was used that represented US internet users during August-September 2014. In it, participants were questioned about their online hotel booking habits using four graphics, which each contained three hypothetical hotel choices in simulated booking engines.
A couple of key points of the study:
-When the pricing of the hotel selections was, all the same, travelers were 3.9 times more likely to select a hotel with higher review scores
So what does this mean for business owners, specifically hotel owners?
– Your online reviews matter, perhaps more than cost.
– The better your reviews, the more value proposition this poses to consumers.
– Engage with and encourage feedback from all your customers. Sometimes, a previously disgruntled customer who then revises their review to a positive one after their issue has been resolved carries more weight than just simply a positive one alone.