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Hotel Websites Have Much to Do to Increase User Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty – by Max Starkov

iPerceptions and Hospitality eBusiness Strategies, two well known names in hospitality-related eBusiness and eMarketing strategy and intelligence released the first edition of the RUSH Report, a new strategic report for the hospitality vertical.

The RUSH Report, an intelligence report on user satisfaction and website performance in the hospitality sector, provides the industry with an in-depth analysis of key aspects of site performance and user satisfaction. The Report is based on feedback from nearly 40,000 survey respondents, actual website visitors to hotel brand websites.

The RUSH Report provides answers to questions of crucial importancefor today’s hotelier: Who are your website visitors? How are they finding your website? Why are they visiting your site? How often do they visit your site? Are they Lookers or Bookers? Do they find what they are looking for? What is their experience on your site? How satisfied are they with the various aspects of your site? Will they return to your website?

The RUSH Report also includes research findings, analysis and over 10 case studies from the groundbreaking Q1 2004 Top Five Hotel Brand Website Comp Analysis, a proprietary research study by HeBS on over 150 different aspects of the major brand websites that addresses all the elements that represent best practices for a competitive website.

According to Max Starkov, CEO of Hospitality eBusiness Strategies, 49% of all visitors to hotel branded websites in our study claim they do not belong to any hotel loyalty program. Mr. Starkov continues, For proactive hoteliers this represents an untapped market and a great opportunity to increase user loyalty.

We know from our work within the industry, as site loyalty increases, so does the site`s look to book ratio,explains iPerceptions CEO Jerry Tarasofsky. Hospitality web site owners now have access to aggregated data never before available. Data that paints a comprehensive picture of both the leisure and business traveler’s online experience, said

Mr. Tarasofsky. It marks a turning point for establishing site satisfaction benchmarks within the hospitality industry.

Another key finding in the report is that hotel brands need to enhance practically every aspect of their website to meet the increasing requirements of their major customer segments. “Less than 19% of all visitors to branded hotel web sites characterized their experience as excellent, said Mr. Starkov. Even more troubling is the fact that almost 17% are not satisfied with their website experience and qualify it as “Fair” or “Poor” . Hospitality sites have much to do to increase user satisfaction and this report debunks a lot of assumptions that many hotel brands have about their websites, challenges Mr. Starkov.

Here is a sample of the key findings in the RUSH Report:

  • Who are the visitors? On average, 56.2% of all website visitors on hotel branded websites are Leisure Travelers, and 32.1% are Business Travelers. As much as 3.08% of the hotel website visitors are involved in meeting or event planning.

  • Why are they visiting? 34% of all website visitors on hotel branded websites seek information about the hotel, while 30.8% of visitors make or change reservations. Another 23% were found to visit sites to research/compare rates. Aggregate findings vary considerably when compared to distinct groups: Business Travelers, Leisure Travelers, and Meeting/Event Planners.

  • Lookers vs. Bookers: Online Bookers constitute 35.96% of all visitors to the hotel website compared to Online Lookers, 64.04% of all visitors. Significant differences were observed between Business Travelers and Leisure Travelers.

  • Customer Segmentation Analysis: Business Travelers are more critical and demanding than the other user groups.

  • Issued annually with quarterly updates, The RUSH Report is a collaboration leveraging the unique knowledge, experience and methodologies of iPerceptions Inc. and Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS). It combines the in-depth online hospitality industry expertise of HeBS with the strategic quantitative attitudinal analytics of iPerceptions.

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