It amuses me how much weight La Colombe places on the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, clearly because it is the only awards ranking in which it comes first, and in which it beats its arch enemy The Test Kitchen, despite most serious restaurant diners knowing how questionable a TripAdvisor rating, and therefore this Award ranking, is! Continue reading →
The results of a World Independent Hotels Promotion survey of 22000 guests found that Past Guests, being friends and family, have the greatest influence in the choice of accommodation when travelling, and that Social Media has the lowest influence, reports Tnooz.com.
The survey was conducted off-line between April – June this year, and found that 23% of American hotel guests rely on recommendations from friends and family in their choice of holiday accommodation, followed by Online Travel Agencies at 21%, TripAdvisor at 18%, and Return Guests at 12%. Travel agents, magazine ads and articles, Facebook, Blogs, Travel Guides, and Twitter had a minimal influence, each of these influencers scoring below 3%. The degree of influence has barely changed in the past twelve months.
The minimal role of Social Media Marketing in influencing accommodation choice is ascribed to the ‘low level of ROI’, and therefore plays more of a Public Relations role to communicate with current and potential guests. Yet accommodation information and experiences shared on Social Media, such as holiday photographs posted on Facebook and/or Twitter, may have a subliminal influence on accommodation selection.
One can suspect that the choice of restaurants to eat at whilst on holiday may have similar influence levels as for accommodation, with the exception of Travel Agents, with perhaps a lower influence of TripAdvisor in shaping the restaurant choice and a higher influence of Social Media.
The survey also raises the role of TripAdvisor, and the unbalanced picture it represents about establishments, given that satisfied guests will tell others and will write nice messages in the establishments’ guest books or sent directly to the hotel by e-mail, and that dissatisfied guests will write on TripAdvisor, without a reply to the allegations posted from the establishment in the main.
The results of the survey also raise the question about Cape Town Tourism’s current nonsensical Facebook profile 5 day holiday promotion, being on a Social Media Marketing platform, but also for its content. We registered for the promotion, and received some suggestions of places to visit and eat at. The communication via e-mail and Facebook notifications stopped abruptly (presumably after five days), and there has been no follow-up since then to check the interest in booking a holiday to Cape Town!
At the end of the day, the strong influence of Friends and Family shows that every accommodation establishment and hospitality service provider must strive to make their guests as happy as possible during their interaction with the establishment. Word of mouth from satisfied guests is free, the best marketing tool one could wish for!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage