How guests choose hotels during online booking?
Two hospitality professors aimed to find out, looking beyond clickstream analysis by using eye tracking to discover why consumers choose a specific hotel.
Eye tracking is capturing eye movements and converting this information into some form of analyzable data, explained Stephani K.A. Robson, senior lecturer at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. Robson was one half of the duo who presented research during a webinar titled “Consumer eye-tracking and revenue management,” which was presented jointly by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, Hotel News Now and HNN’s parent company, STR.
Robson and her research partner Breffni Noone, associate professor at Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management, analyzed 32 people’s eye tracking patterns, all of whom had one thing in common: They were leisure travelers who had booked a hotel online in the last six months, Robson said.
The research team then sat down with participants to ask them questions about why they clicked on certain hotels and what played into their decisions. Robson and Noone broke down their study into two phases of the online booking process: the browsing phase and the deliberation phase.
Following are five key takeaways from their research.
1. People have high and low price thresholds
2. Images can change a prospective guest’s mind
3. People don’t look at properties with less than a 3-star rating
4. Amenity descriptions can make a difference
5. Reviews matter at lower end of consumers’ price threshold
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