A new measure of hotel performance bridges the gap between the actual experience and what feeling resulted from it.
Any marketer who has read Butch Rice and Jan Hofmeyr's book, Commitment-Led Marketing, will realise quite how important it is to know what someone feels about something, rather than just simply what they do. Customers can give the impression of being quite loyal but, in fact, may be totally uncommitted and will defect at the first opportunity.
Emotions vs. repeat business
A new measure of hotel performance, the Market Metrix Hotel Index (MMHI), takes this into account. MMHI covers hotels in the US and, in addition to the more usual measures of customer satisfaction and price sensitivity, includes a segment that correlates emotions with repeat business.
According to Marketing Metrix LLC partner, Jonathan Barsky: "To fully define the guest experience and better predict future behaviour, satisfaction measurement must assess more than products and services. The emotions that a guest feels during a hotel stay are critical components of satisfaction and loyalty." While hotels often ask guests about the processes involved, like the speed of checking in, they usually neglect to ask how the experience made the guest actually feel.
Based on data from the National Consumer Opinion Panel (some 15,000 hotel guests US-wide who are interviewed quarterly about recent hotel stays), the MMHI measures 16 feelings, including "comfortable", "welcome" and "secure", that are relevant to guests' satisfaction and loyalty. Somewhat predictably, emotional preferences vary by sector: feeling pampered attracts guests to luxury hotels, feeling secure is more important for mid-price hotel guests, and practicality reigns for the economy hotel guests.
The index reveals that hotels making the right emotional connection have customers that are more loyal and less price sensitive.