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The Parachute Hotel, California. Photography by Nicole LaMotte The Parachute Hotel, California. Photography by Nicole LaMotte

Deciding factor

22 : 12 : 2016 Travel : The Sharing Economy : Sullivan

US – A new study aims to highlight new behaviour in travel and hospitality.

  • The qualitative study comprises interviews with 25 US consumers
  • The research examines the decision-making process among travellers
  • Six overarching insights were published on a bespoke microsite

The travel and hospitality industries have been radically disrupted by sharing economy challengers in recent years and felt the force of transparency through consumer rating websites such as TripAdvisor. The new study by brand engagement firm Sullivan and research agency 20|20 aims to shed new light on the decision-making process among travellers.

Although the sample size is limited, the in-depth interviews and overarching insights are highly revealing, and aim to help traditional hospitality operators such as Marriott, Hilton and Starwood adapt to an environment where sharing economy practices are the new normal.

The report, which splits the findings into six key take-outs, argues that location is still the primary driver for any travel booking – whether that is in regards to the proximity of a location to a specific attraction or a desirable neighbourhood. Local experience is also a major deciding factor, reflecting behaviour learned from sharing websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway and OneFineStay, where being embedded in a local community and property is a key part of the experience.

Peer rating and reviews also rank highly alongside price and location as influencing factors, suggesting that hospitality brands need to work with and cultivate rating websites more efficiently. Booking engines such as Expedia have become more influential than their parent company websites, with 46% of respondents saying that they would use an online booking engine to plan their holiday.

The Big Picture

For more innovations in the hospitality and travel sectors, see our Surprise Destinations microtrend, which examines how travel operators are introducing serendipity back into the customer experience.