Loved this from Mr. Larry Mogelonsky – CHA on HotelInteractive
When it comes to the hotel landscape, how people feel is far more important than what they think – by a factor of two. And that’s not all. Turns out that a hotel room purchase decision is more emotionally charged than when it comes to selecting an airline, choosing a brand of beer or buying a smartphone. Moreover, the three most powerful hidden drivers of these emotional choices were excitement, surprise and acceptance, of which hotels have plenty of room to improve.
That’s according to a study conducted by Protean Strategies, which shows some very fascinating results as to how consumers are engaging major hotel brands as well as a fresh perspective on where to take your brand in the near future. A further derivation of the analysis distinguished eight major hotel chains by class with premium ‘inspiring’ brands (Hilton, Hyatt and Westin), middle tier ‘competent’ brands (Marriot, Sheraton and Wyndham) and discount ‘familiar’ brands (Best Western and Holiday Inn). The study identified what each class was doing right and where they can develop relative to the three chief drivers of emotional decision making.
With the inspiring brands that is, ones which already excites and amazes akin to a rousing leader – gaining acceptance is the biggest challenge. For luxury hotels, there’s not enough balance between the exhilarating aspects and the personal connection. As such, many brands come off as pretentious and arrogant. If your property falls into this category, think about how you can bridge the gap between guests and your services, and ease people into your hotel experience.
For the competent brands, the problem appears to be a dominance of rationality. These middle-of-the-road hotels are perceived as hardworking, discerning and trustworthy. However, while the expectation holds these brands are of quality value, they are coming off as unpleasant. There’s a definite lack of emotional connectivity. More should be done to instill a sense of warmth to foster personal relationships to each hotel.
Familiar brands are almost a mirror image of the dilemmas faced by inspiring brands. Discount hotels relish in acceptance but lack excitement and consumer boredom sets in. The study finds that these brands need to add some flair and rethink how they deliver modern thrills. Such hotels need to be more active and bold in their presentation.
Hotel brands are about feelings no matter which way you try and sell people on benefits and otherwise logical choices. Aim to make your décor, staff attitudes, amenities, features, website and advertising copy all congruent around one dominant and emotionally charged theme.
The survey was done using Hotspex’s proprietary MarketSpex™ methodology and a sample survey of 800 North American travelers, the researchers have found that choosing a hotel is dominated by emotional drivers (67% of the decision process) – such as connection, warmth, excitement and pleasure – over rational features and benefits (33%).