In my first post “Price Parity Across OTA’s – Why it Matters” I talked about price parity on OTAs and how large variations of pricing can confuse prospective guests. Price is one factor in a traveller’s decision-making process, but there are many more and sometimes they are not what you’d think.
I was chatting with someone the other day (let’s call him Ron) talking about what he looks for most when shopping for travel online. It wasn’t what I would have thought, and it probably wasn’t representative of what most people look for, but it was worth thinking about.
When Ron books accommodation online he is most likely to book the room that, when he turns the handle and opens the door, is exactly as he expected it to be. More importantly, the room must be as his girlfriend expected it to be, otherwise there will be trouble.
So, if the photos, room names and descriptions are poor, Ron won’t book. If there is a large discrepancy between the photos, descriptions and room names across different websites, he won’t book. If all these are consistent across sites, then he’ll book on his favourite site that has the best price. Why? Because he’s been burned too many times with rooms that are nothing like the promise he’d made his girlfriend based on what was viewable online.
This is pretty extreme (and a little whipped, sorry to say fella), but the basics are sound. Photos, room names and descriptions help clarify expectations. The more accurate they are, the better prepared your guests will be for what they get when they arrive. Is your “executive room” a “king executive room” on some sites when it is the same thing? Does every product have at least one photo attached to help clarify expectations?
Just in time for those Valentine’s Day check-ins it’s worth thinking about what your listings have promised your guests and help men everywhere keep their girlfriends happy.
Here’s a recent tv ad from Stamford Plaza that touches on guest expectations.
Until next time, happy Valentine’s Day.