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Photo by Nick Wong

What draws guests to your hotel? Is it the power of the brand, pricing, loyalty programs or simply great customer service?

According to a new study by Expedia, released in early April, “Price and guest ratings carry more weight than brand value as key attributes to hotel-property selection.”

Today’s consumer seems to be highly motivated by price, valuing it above everything else when deciding what to spend on travel budgets.

“While consumers want the best deal on travel bookings, their individual selections ultimately reflect their values,” says Abhijit Pal, head of Research, Expedia Group. “The consumer searching for a budget accommodation will look for the best value within their constraints, while someone with more disposable income may prefer a luxury option and be willing to pay more per night — but not more than they have to.”

The survey also found guest ratings strongly influence consumer selection, with a 72-per-cent chance that any consumer will value guest ratings higher than hotel brand.

“Peer, or guest, ratings have essentially levelled the playing field for independent hotels, as more potential guests seek out third-party endorsements for hotel properties they’re considering,” says Pal. “Independent hotels today can compete on a global scale with brands because distribution and technology enable them to compete.”

The hotel brand did carry a slight advantage over other attributes, including renovations, room image and hotel ratings, according to the study. (To view the full report, visit

Additionally, a recent Cornell University study looking at more than 95,000 reviews and ratings for independent high-end properties found “the key drivers in customer satisfaction remain service and room.” The study states hoteliers should focus on the operational areas that speak volumes about service and room, including friendly service and quality of beds. “The traditional lodging service that delivers a good night’s sleep in a clean, well-functioning room, together with availability of an excellent breakfast, remains central to customer satisfaction,” says the study.


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