WorldRes.com has released the results of a consumer survey conducted in December 2001 that confirms that price drives buying decisions for booking rooms online. The survey was conducted through PlacesToStay.com, WorldRes` leading consumer travel Internet service for finding and booking distinctive hotels, inns and resorts worldwide.
Hotel selection is a highly subjective process given that hotel rooms are highly differentiated products, varying from standardized chains to charming bed and breakfasts. Therefore, WorldRes expected to find that charm, amenities, and location within a particular destination would be most important in making online lodging arrangements. Survey results indicated, however, that price was the primary factor in buying hotel rooms online. 83% of survey participants considered price extremely or very important in booking hotel rooms online.
The survey suggests that once brand-loyal, less-price sensitive consumers have become more value-driven deal hunters. Non-bookers told WorldRes.com that they would book if promised that hotel rates offered came with a lowest price guarantee. 79% of all survey respondents said that a lowest price guarantee on hotel reservations would be the most effective inducement to buy a hotel room during that visit to PlacesToStay.com.
Although price drove decisions, restrictions influenced consumer likelihood to buy. Survey participants said they were more willing to accept some restrictions and less willing to accept others. For a great deal, consumers were willing to pre-pay for the room and were comfortable with a 72-hour cancellation notice. Both bookers and non-bookers were less willing, however, to pay fees of any kind, such as cancellation or booking fees.
Results were compiled from 1,200 online surveys distributed through WorldRes.com`s PlacesToStay.com Web site for the first two weeks of December 2001.