More buyers are considering traveller satisfaction levels when conducting hotel RFPs, according to new research.

A survey by the GBTA in partnership with Accor found half of travel buyers “always” or “often” check reviews from any one of four sources – consumer websites such as TripAdvisor, their online booking tool (OBT), the hotel’s website or an intranet or internal traveller forum.

However, only 29 per cent of respondents said they survey their own travellers about satisfaction with preferred properties or chains.

“Cost will always be an important driver in any managed travel programme, but we are seeing more and more that traveller wellbeing is now becoming a true priority,” commented GBTA executive director and COO Scott Solombrino. “Hotels can be a big piece of the traveller satisfaction puzzle.”

Those surveyed agreed amenities are important when considering which properties to include in their programme. Specific items include high-speed internet (97 per cent), cyber security policies or data breach prevention efforts (84 per cent), on-property fitness centre (80 per cent) and loyalty programmes (55 per cent).

When discussing their requirements with their hotel sales or account manager, two in three buyers cover amenities “a lot” (27 per cent) or “a moderate amount” (39 per cent).

Traditional hotel brands are still king for buyers, with 85 per cent interested or very interested in contracting with such properties. This compares to 65 per cent who showed interest in lifestyle brands and 58 per cent in boutique hotels. However, at least half of respondents are willing to contract with each type of brand.

Meenaz Diamond, Accor’s SVP of global sales for North and Central America, said: “In a highly dynamic market in which there are more options than ever, and information is more freely accessible than ever before, guest satisfaction becomes a powerful differentiator. Hotels have a tremendous opportunity to look beyond financial incentives and special offers, to refocus on what is actually at the core of the hotelier’s business – the guest experience.”

View key information from the study in an infographic here

gbta.org; accor.com

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