PHILADELPHIA, PA, Nov. 19, 2012 -- Almost three quarters (71 percent) say online incentives and rewards are becoming increasingly important elements of hotel & restaurant customer loyalty and selection decision factors, according to the 2012 PeriscopeIQ T&E Intelligence Study.
More than 1,000 respondents were asked in a survey conducted in October by customer intelligence firm, PeriscopeIQ whether they use online incentives for hotels and/or restaurants and the vast majority said that often or occasionally do. More than a quarter (29 percent) said that they rarely or never capitalize on these online rewards.
Similarly, online reviews are an important factor in decision making, according to the PeriscopeIQ 2012 T&E Survey respondents. These review sites include Yelp, Zagat and online travel sites, like Trip Advisor. Exactly two-fifths (40 percent) often access online reviews in making a selection, while a similar number only occasionally visit these sites for reviews.
Hotel guests across a wide range of incomes, expressed very specific preferences in amenities and freebies that enhance their loyalty to a hotel chain. When queried about elements that make a traveler more loyal to a hotel chain, the following number of respondents indicated these as being the most important:
- Complimentary breakfast and/or refreshments: 82%
- Courtesy room upgrades: 59%
- Smoke free facility: 35%
- Free Internet access in rooms: 67%
Some of the less important factors in the customer loyalty equation at hotels indicated by recipients were; complementary exercise facility, named by only a fifth (20 percent); 24 hour room service (16 percent); and being addressed by name by hotel staff (9 percent). Although a common feature of many hotels, turndown service was only important to 3 percent of the respondents.
"The travel consumer has become increasingly more savvy as the amount of information and incentives become available on the Internet and via mobile technologies," explains Dr. Pawan Singh, CEO and founder of PeriscopeIQ. " We've identified some key customer loyalty metrics in this Survey to add to our intelligence of what drives customer purchasing and a positive experience."
Like many industries, hotels and restaurants are racing to stay abreast of mobile technologies for marketing and customer loyalty benefits. In the travel industry, QR codes have been printed on everything from hotel and restaurant ads, to menus and information cards providing access to events and activity recommendations online. However, an astounding number of respondents, 59 percent claimed not to know what a QR code is and only 18 percent had used one in a retail environment such as a restaurant.
"So far the QR code experience has been a disappointment in many cases for both the customer and the company," says Dr. Singh. "It requires a scanning app download on a mobile device. More importantly, our perspective is that once the consumer accesses the code, the experience is less than fulfilling."
Singh recommends that hotels and restaurants use QR codes at the concierge desk and elsewhere in the lobby to provide information on restaurant, entertainment and shopping venues. They can also be used to direct people to various social media platforms providing a stronger customer linkage.
The 2012 PeriscopeIQ T&E Intelligence Study measured the importance of online incentives, online reviews and Wi-Fi for hotels and/or restaurants in order to maintain customer loyalty.
The sample was randomly selected from a voluntary online consumer panel and was designed to be representative of the entire U.S. population of adults age 18 and older. With, according to Pew Internet Tracking, 85 percent of adults now online, the online audience differs very little from the total adult population. Survey responses from 49 states were adjusted slightly to match national demographic data on gender, age and income to further strengthen the validity of results.
The statistical margin of error for a conventionally fielded random digit dial telephone survey of the same size is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Pawan Singh, Ph.D., PeriscopeIQ CEO and Chief Scientist and James P. Murphy, Ph.D., director of research, jointly managed the survey.
PeriscopeIQ is a provider of advanced web-based solutions that transform customer experience and employee feedback into actionable insight through its powerful on-demand analytical engine and fully customizable Voice of the Customer (VOC) and Voice of the Employee (VOE) solutions. Applying science and strategy, PeriscopeIQ uncovers customer and employee insights via a flexible delivery model. The company also partners with leading enterprises and associations to combine predictive analytics and time-tested business insights to deliver proprietary solutions with unparalleled analytical reporting capabilities. The PeriscopeIQ platform and methodology have been adopted by Fortune 500 companies and global organizations, including: Boston Scientific, Halliburton, Kohl's, Project Management Institute, Seagate Technology, Unilever, The Wharton School, The World Bank, and The World Health Organization. Founded in 1999, PeriscopeIQ is a privately held company headquartered in Coopersburg, Pa. For more information, visit www.periscopeIQ.com