Survey: Travelers prefer chain hotels over boutiques, Airbnb

A new survey shows that American travelers have an overwhelming preference for major chain hotels over boutique properties or accommodations like Airbnb.

The results are contained in a survey conducted by hotel booking solution SwayPay, which surveyed 1,000 travelers on Feb. 26, 2018.

“Two-thirds of Americans prefer staying in chain hotels, although 85 percent acknowledge that staying in a boutique hotel can be a better experience because personnel are more attentive ad [surroundings] more peaceful,” Sevket Seyalioglu, SwayPay CEO told TheTravelPro.

Sevket Seyalioglu
While respondents were mainly Gen-Y-ers, the survey included a mix of age ranges, with older respondents having an even greater preference for traditional hotels, according to the survey’s originator.

“When you get older [respondents] than Millennials who are move involved in business travel, they skew more to hotels than Airbnb,” he said, noting that the type of travel can also play a role in determining the type of accommodations.

“If you’re traveling with a couple of families, I would prefer Airbnb,” he said. “Rent a whole house, and we each get a room.”

Another factor that was cited is the increasing popularity in alternative accommodations. Specifically, many Airbnbs are not as economical as they once were, particularly in highly desirable locations, where prices are almost on par with local hotels, he said.

How do they book?

Perhaps surprisingly given their preference for major chain hotels, the survey showed that four out of five respondents do not book their rooms from a hotel’s website.

“Most people don’t prefer hotel web sites because of frustrating user experience,” Seyalioglu said, noting that many were put off because the sites were not particularly user-friendly. “Slow response, unnecessary forms, having to create an account, and confusing information are among the reasons.”

Instead, respondents said they went to third-party booking sites, with the most popular. That may be because it is available in twice as many languages as competitors Priceline (No. 3) and (No. 4). Other popular on-line booking sites include (No. 2), Hotwire (No. 5) and Kayak (No. 6).

Those sites, according to the survey, appeal to more than half of all travelers, and is out to grab its share of that market.

SwayPay is a PCI-compliant application, primarily for independent hotels, that makes direct booking attractive to future guests and helps the hotels gain a competitive edge over more popular on-line booking sites.

“The average booking time [on other sites] is about three minutes; our platform reduces it to about 20 seconds,” Seyalioglu said, noting that his company’s platform helps hotels reduce reservation abandonment by offering additional benefits including instant discount and easy payments for guests.

He says his application offers additional advantages to hotels over those offered by big booking sites.

“Booking giants are bidding against the hotels themselves while taking high commissions from [those] hotels of 15 to 20 percent in some cases,” he added.

The full SwayPay survey is expected to be released within the next month. More information about the SwayPay platform is available here.

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Photo of Seyalioglu provided by SwayPay
Hotel photo by Carl Dombek
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