The short answer is there is still no substitute for word of mouth from people you trust.
This was confirmed by a survey conducted earlier this year by WIHP (World Independent Hotels Promotion), an international online marketing company for independent hotels. Almost 20,000 hotel guests were asked how they heard about the hotels they booked. The upshot: 23 percent of respondents said family and friends were the deciding factor.
The survey also confirmed the oft-predicted demise of travel agents, as they ranked far down the list, accounting for just 3 percent of hotel bookings. Meanwhile, the rise of online travel agents was in evidence, accounting for 21 percent of hotel bookings. Chief among them is No. 3 ranked powerhouse travel site TripAdvisor.
Repeat guests – a major source of business (and pride) for The Rose Hotel – also proved a rich source of hotel bookings for the hotel industry as a whole, getting votes from more than 12 percent of survey respondents.
The communications wildfire that is social media ranked low, with the biggest social media sites – Facebook and Twitter among them – cumulatively accounting for less than 4 percent of hotel bookings. However, the WIHP report noted that recommendations from friends and family might very well have been communicated via social media relationships.
Overall, the survey ranked the sources of hotel bookings like so:
The results were gratifying to us at The Rose, both because repeat guests ranked so well, and because the social media and other online tools we use to facilitate word of mouth among our guests.
One example is the What Our Guests Are Saying page on this website, an instrument our guests use for sharing their experiences. Another example is this blog, where we sometimes feature our guests, staff members, special offers and so on. Then there are The Rose Hotel’s social media sites, including Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Twitter.
It is our intent to provide as many useful and convenient channels as possible (online and offline) for people to find, assess and book room dates at our hotel. Whatever channel delivers you to our front desk is fine with us. We just want to opportunity to host and serve you.
Written by Mike Consol