Study finds value for money trumps online ratings

Published:

Shahab Pourfakhimi

Online reviews have revolutionised the way travellers select hotels, but a USC researcher has found when it comes to swaying consumers, ratings cannot beat old fashioned price and location. 

The findings are based on a detailed analysis of 900 hotels in Melbourne and Sydney and a simulated hotel choice experiment involving international travellers, conducted as part of PhD research by USC Lecturer in Tourism Dr Shahab Pourfakhimi.

“Most consumers want the best accommodation in the best location with the best ratings but the one they finally select involves a range of trade-offs between these desirables,” said Dr Pourfakhimi, social media editor of the international Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

“Millions of travellers read online reviews and check the ratings before selecting hotels and this study sheds new insights into the scale and nature of these trade-offs and the implications for the hotel industry,” he said.

“I was interested to know how much travellers were willing to pay to stay in a hotel that had a slightly better review score than a cheaper one.

“Or the extent travellers were willing to spend more in order to stay in a hotel located closer to a point of interest, or if they would choose one further away with a higher star rating.” 

He said it was also the first study to empirically test the impact of very small variations in hotel ratings on consumer behaviour and provided robust evidence that even fractional differences could change perceptions and choices.

Dr Pourfakhimi said the key take-home recommendations for the tourism industry was that while online review scores were very important for majority of consumers, a hotel with a better location and better price had significantly more value and appeal.

“Even fractional changes – for example a 0.2 increase in an average online rating – can significantly change the outcome of some traveller’s choice of hotels, but the main drivers of competition are still location and price,” he said.

Dr Pourfakhimi, who leads several e-tourism consumer research projects in collaboration with academics from New Zealand, Malaysia and Australia, hoped the findings would assist the industry in devising effective pricing and strategies to stand out from the crowd.

“For hotels that remain reasonably within the same range of location and price, then online reviews, scores and their images will very likely be the dominant drivers of choice,” he said. 

“On the other hand, hotels in ideal locations, even if they have marginally less favourable reviews, should be able to easily gain superior competitiveness in the market by focusing on driving consumers’ attention to their great position or proximity to key attractions.”

 
Community Technology & Communications Tourism University & TAFE
Social:   

University Of The Sunshine Coast : View Full Profile
90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
07 5430 1234
University Of The Sunshine Coast
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
USC to host Lightning’s Community Thank You event 15 September 2019 | USC is hosting the event to give fans the chance to meet players and coaching staff, collect signatures, and to say farewell to the club’s foundation coach Noeline Taurua. More information...
A meeting of cultures for print symposium 11 September 2019 | USC’s Art Gallery will soon host a two-day public forum featuring a Japanese print art expert to coincide with the opening of a stunning exhibition of Japanese and Australian print art at Caloundra Regional... More information...
USC Journalism graduate wins statewide award 10 September 2019 | Drew Beveridge is no doubt flying high after she was named Queensland’s most outstanding final-year journalism student. More information...
USC backs Lightning with ‘wear yellow to work’ day 10 September 2019 | USC staff will be sporting the colour yellow tomorrow (Wednesday 11 September) as a bright show of support for Sunshine Coast Lightning ahead of the Suncorp Super Netball grand final on Sunday 15 September. More information...
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day 10 September 2019 | We have received overwhelming response from the community in support of our World Suicide Prevention Day mission: to train 100 people as suicide-alert community gatekeepers. We see gatekeepers as people whose... More information...
Study finds value for money trumps online ratings 09 September 2019 | Online reviews have revolutionised the way travellers select hotels, but a USC researcher has found when it comes to swaying consumers, ratings cannot beat old fashioned price and location.  More information...
Peony scientist breaks new ground for cut flowers 09 September 2019 | One of the world’s most popular flowers – the peony – can now be grown in hot climates, following a discovery that could disrupt the multi-billion dollar global cut flower industry. More information...
Journalism students in running for state award 06 September 2019 | Two USC journalism students have been named as finalists in the Queensland Clarion Awards being held in Brisbane tomorrow night (Saturday 7 September). More information...
USC nappy project changing lives in Vanuatu 05 September 2019 | A USC Occupational Therapy student from Burpengary is determined to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged mothers and babies in Vanuatu – one reusable nappy at a time.  More information...
Year 11 student to discuss benefits of Headstart 05 September 2019 | Studying a human anatomy subject at university while in Year 11 is part of Chancellor State College student Petra Nunn’s plan to eventually become a doctor. More information...


comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service