A survey conducted by Expedia found that 72% of customers consider hotel reviews and guest ratings more important than brand value. In addition, 35% prefer a 4.4 rated hotel over a 3.9 rated one, and 24% prefer a 3.9 over a 3.4 rated hotel.
Smartphones, social media and the Internet have empowered consumers with peer reviews and provided small businesses a chance to compete with larger brands. According to Expedia Group Head of Research, Lodging Partner Services Abhijit Pal, the guest ratings have levelled the market for small and independent hotels which can now compete with large brands by focusing on the quality of their guest experience.
Though guest ratings were considered important, the number one factor in choosing a hotel was still price. But even if potential customers are willing to pay the price, they still want the value for their money, getting information about value from feedbacks of previous hotel guests. Consumers also demand unique experiences and smaller hotels are better positioned to provide this, compared to larger competitors.