Why Qualitative Research is Essential for Hotels
By Jeffrey Hirsch Founder and President, The Right Brain Studio, Inc. | March 12, 2017
Customer loyalty is everything in the hotel business. I fly all over the United States on a regular basis, and sometimes out of the country as well. That translates to an average of over two hotel bookings, generally multiple nights, per month. And that's just for business. Factor in personal travel for vacations, family gatherings, trips to visit friends, weddings and other celebrations, and I'll make at least four other reservations per year.
I spend about 50 nights in a hotel every year. If we lowball the average nightly rate to $250, I'm spending at least $12,500 a year. Not exactly exactly chump change, and there are people who travel far more frequently than me.
The big hotel chains understand this. They want my business. If they could capture just a few more trips from people like me every year, and if they're even more lucky, get us to spread the virtues of their hospitality by social media and word of mouth, the impact on the bottom line would be significant. If they can convert me to an ultra-loyal guest it's a windfall. Whether I'm a slave to their loyalty program, I just like their hotels or some combination of both, it's all good.
Therefore, it's in the best interest of the hotel industry players to know as much about me as possible. For the better they understand me, the better chance they will be able to design their offerings and communications.
So What do the Major Hotel Chains Know About Me?
Due to the emergence of technology and Big Data, they most likely know quite a bit. The extensive, ongoing customer surveys that have always played an important role are just the tip of the iceberg. Data mining and business intelligence tools collect vast amounts of detailed data from social media and the thousands of guest emails that might come in on any given day. The data is sliced, diced and prioritized along the way, nearly in real time. We can see what phrases and keywords surface to immediately identify problems in dire need of fixing or opportunities to leverage. Anything from "comfortable bed" to "bad shower" to "helpful service." This information is essential, but severely lacking in one critical area. Emotion.
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