Qualitative Research: Understanding Business Travelers' Behavior Toward Hotels
By Johnna Freud Qualitative Research Moderator, Saul Cohen & Associates | March 06, 2010
Obviously, business travelers today have many hotel choices. In fact, in many instances, these choices are within walking distance of one another. So, why do some business travelers choose to stay at your hotel while others stay at the one across the street? How can you drive more traffic to your property? Understanding what motivates them can greatly influence your bottom line.
Determining A Study's Objectives
We know that certain business travelers value some hotel features over others. These might include location, personal service, and/or amenities. You could readily conclude the hotel that can satisfy the greatest number of needs and wants on the business travelers' list has the best potential to retain current customers and acquire new ones.
However, does "convenient location" mean downtown or near the airport? How is personal service defined? Are the desired amenities WiFi access, the fitness center or complimentary toiletries? Qualitative research can uncover the business travelers' meanings behind these needs and help identify their relative importance as they relate to how they decide where to stay.
Gaining insights into the most important features for business travelers is one example of what could be accomplished in a qualitative research study. However, a study can fulfill multiple objectives simultaneously. For example, the same study could be used to test whether the features offered by a hotel fit with the way consumers perceive its image.
A hotel can position itself as an upscale and relatively expensive property aimed at attracting business travelers who appreciate top-shelf service, luxurious accommodations and fine food. It can work hard to deliver on these goals and still not enjoy the benefits of repeat visits from business travelers or new guests from their personal recommendations, but why?