Hospitality relies heavily on the unique patterns created by traveler behavior and guest satisfaction. These two factors have changed significantly during the last year and, as a result, the way in which hotels address them is bound to change as well. Guest reviews are already a staple when it comes to the hospitality industry, with the large majority of travelers basing their booking decisions on the past experiences of fellow travelers. However, what was deemed as relevant a year ago might not hold the same importance right now; and, simultaneously, new factors have entered the equation, making a bigger impact now than they have in the past. Key categories like cleanliness and health have automatically taken the spotlight in the race towards hotel recovery and a world in which travel is once again, safe and hassle-free.
In fact, TravelPulse has reported in a recent article that they are seeing “an influx of web traffic from searches relating to travel safety. Searches for terms such as “safest places to travel right now” and “safe places to travel during covid” are on the rise”. This goes to show that right now, travelers are shifting their priorities and looking for specific destinations and hotels that meet their safety and cleanliness needs.
With this in mind, we have recently developed the TrustYou exclusive Relevant Now data, to help hotel listings display the most recent and relevant information, as seen through guest reviews. The Relevant Now data allows travelers to consume the exact reviews that mention important criteria like the cleanliness standards, and health and safety measures endorsed at each hotel, as well as to see the occupancy levels and understand what is the current situation at the accommodation they consider booking.
In order to understand the applicability of our data and its impact on the booking decision of pandemic travelers, we conducted user testing based on targeted questions. We’ll walk you through the process and the findings in order to paint a clear picture of what current travelers are interested in and how your hotel can leverage the TrustYou Relevant Now data to ensure trust and encourage bookings.
TrustYou Relevant Now user testing setup
We divided our 100 respondents into three different Online Travel Agency (OTA) groups: group 0, group 1, and group 2.
In the first part, we showed our users OTA search results, the baseline group without any Relevant Now data, and 2 other test groups with Relevant Now data. Then they were asked to choose a hotel.
During the second part of the survey, we asked the users a set of questions to understand traveler motivations and the importance of different data for their booking decision.
These are the three hotel listings considered by the three different groups:
|Group 0: Baseline OTA without other data points||Group 1: OTA with additional recent rating score||Group 2: OTA with recent rating of Cleanliness and Health & Safety|
After allowing our users to analyze their assigned hotel listing, we asked them four targeted questions:
Which hotel would you choose?
What are the top 5 decision-making criteria you will look for when booking a vacation in 2021 and beyond?
Considering Coronavirus, what particular information is most important for you to make a confident booking decision?
Key findings show a high impact on hotel bookings
Here’s what we unveiled about the impact of the Relevant Now data on the hotel booking decision:
Baseline: The majority of users chose the hotel with the highest rating and highest number of reviews. Rating score and number of reviews were named as the key decision factors among price, location, and hotel pictures.
Our test finds that up-to-date ratings and guest feedback on Health & Safety and Cleanliness can impact the decision of up to 20% of travelers and offset a lower overall review score and a slightly higher price:
13% more users chose a hotel with a lower overall rating and a slightly higher price but with a good recent rating score.
Recent feedback on Cleanliness and Health & Safety led to 20% more users choosing a hotel with a lower overall rating and a slightly higher price.
This is what was deemed as important criteria for the booking decision:
- When asking users for their top 5 decision making criteria for booking a vacation in 2021 and beyond, Health & Safety, Cleanliness, and the Covid status of a region were in the top 10 of most frequently mentioned topics (among price, location, proximity to POIs, reviews, the security of the location, food). -> This indicates that travelers would like to know more about health-related topics to be able to make a confident decision.
- When asked about which particular information on health and safety would make travelers most confident in their booking decision
48% of users selected hotel information on Cleanliness and Health & Safety
45% named guest ratings of Cleanliness and Health & Safety
Takeaways: build trust by emphasizing relevant review data
The need for recent and relevant review data is on the rise. Pandemic travelers are now placing more emphasis on key review categories that have to do with the cleanliness and sanitation standards of a hotel and this information has a significant impact on their booking decision. In order to ensure trust and encourage hotel booking, hotels and booking platforms need to keep up with the demand for recent and relevant information and to present it in an easily-digestible way. Travelers are looking up to the hotel industry for reassurance and all the necessary tools that would enable them to make a safe and informed booking decision.
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