Epsilon Study ‘Checks In’ On Consumer Attitudes and Preferences about Hotel Marketing Programs


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Price, Location and Reviews Drive Decisions about Where to Stay; Loyalty Programs Effectively Engage Members

Dallas, Texas – October 18, 2010 – According to a recent study by Epsilon, recommendations and property reviews heavily influence travelers’ decisions about which hotels to stay in – even if they have previously stayed in the hotel – and email remains the channel of choice for communications. Findings from the study describe opportunities for hotel marketers to engage undecided consumers, leverage loyalty programs and communicate effectively with customers and prospects.

The survey of over 400 consumers who recently booked a hotel analyzed the experience throughout the selection process. A cross-section of a larger Epsilon survey of 1500 US consumers, the study was part of a comprehensive listening exercise designed to explore the current state of Customer Experience Marketing, an approach to deliver relevant interactions that anticipate and respond to the many ways consumers want to engage, shop and buy today. The study gathered data across multiple product categories including televisions, computers, hotels, auto insurance, mobile devices, communication services and credit cards.

In the key findings from Epsilon’s hotels survey:

• Only 33% of consumers surveyed definitely knew which hotel they would select, leaving 2 out of 3 consumers “pretty sure” or unsure of their decision;
• For all consumers surveyed the number one factor driving their decision was price. Convenience of the hotel location is the second most popular reason;
• For consumers who were unsure, good reviews are a significant factor. Friends and family rank high as influential sources along with product review websites and brand websites;
• Consumers prefer email for receiving communications from hotel brands;
• When seeking information the most popular sources are brand websites, search engines and travel related websites;
• Within emails and on websites, consumers are most interested in hearing about sales/discount offers and hotel amenities. Sweepstakes and contests and information tailored to their interests also rank high;
• Over eight in ten loyalty program members agreed that the program makes them more likely to stay at the hotel chain with which they are a member.
“With an industry so experienced with loyalty programs and with travelers who have access to tremendous amounts of information, marketers need to work really hard to understand and serve their preferences,” said Michael Penney, executive vice president, Epsilon Strategic & Analytic Consulting Group. “The fundamentals haven’t changed much. Consumers will stay engaged with marketing communications if they are relevant and delivered in ways they want to receive them.”

Epsilon provides comprehensive data-driven, multichannel marketing services that leverage deep consumer insight. Epsilon works with many of the most-recognized brands in the world. Epsilon’s Customer Experience Marketing study was comprised of a March 2010 online survey (conducted in conjunction with eRewards) of nearly 1500 consumers in addition to face-to-face interviews.

Additional in-depth information and analysis from the communications services study are available in a special report from Epsilon – ‘Checking In’ on Consumers: How Hotel Marketers Can Meet Evolving Customer Expectations. The report can be found at www.epsilon.com/pr/hotels. Additional category-specific reports will be released in the near future.


About Epsilon

Epsilon is the industry’s leading marketing services firm, with a broad array of data-driven, multichannel marketing solutions that leverage consumer insight to help brands deepen their relationships with customers. Services include strategic consulting, acquisition and customer database technologies, loyalty management, proprietary data, predictive modeling and a full range of direct and digital agency services, including creative, interactive web design, email deployment, search engine optimization and direct mail production. In addition, Epsilon is the world’s largest permission-based email marketer. Epsilon is an Alliance Data company. For more information, visit www.epsilon.com or call 1.800.309.0505.

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