Hotels lose business by missing ‘vital’ marketing messages

Hotels are “losing customers” because they do not use the most effective marketing messages for their ratings, reveals new research from King’s Business School.

The researchers created a model that analyses hotel performance using text from online customer reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor.

From a dataset of more than 250,000 online reviews for 25,000 hotels in 16 countries, a total of 19 controllable factors were found to be vital for hotels to manage in their interactions with visitors.

These included checking in and out, communication, homeliness, room experience and accommodating pets.

The research further identified the most important dimensions according to the star rating of hotels, with homeliness and events management being important for five-star hotels, while room experience and communication were basic requirements at one-star level.

Differences were also found among demographics; for example, men were shown to be more sensitive to price than women, while female hotel customers placed a greater significance on the standard of the bathroom.

The results, recently published in the journal Tourism Management, suggests that hotels need to find ways to effectively market their offerings to different customers.

Professor Stuart Barnes said: “However, not all factors are considered by hotels and hotel comparison websites, like homeliness and natural beauty which the research revealed to be important for top-rated hotels and older consumers and so key marketing messages are being missed that would target the ideal customers.”

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