Study Published in Cornell Quarterly Finds Hotel Guests Are Still Using the Phone to Make Reservat..

Oct 20, 2011

Contact:  Jane Henion, 607.255.9780,

Study Published in Cornell Quarterly Finds Hotel Guests Are Still Using the Phone to Make Reservations

Many guests search out hotels on the internet and then call to make a reservation 

Ithaca, NY, October 20, 2011 – A study published in the November 2011 issue of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly shows that guests still use a variety of channels to book a hotel room—even though the internet is the largest of those channels. The study, "Travel Planning: Searching for and Booking Hotels on the Internet," by Rex Toh, Charles DeKay, and Peter Raven, is available as the Cornell Quarterly's featured article for the November 2011 issue. By arrangement with the CQ's publisher, Sage Publishing, which publishes the CQ on behalf of the Center for Hospitality Research at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, the article is available for complimentary download at

The researchers, all professors at Seattle University, conducted a survey of 249 leisure travelers who booked rooms at four hotels in Seattle, Washington, during a three-month period in 2009. Not surprisingly, they found that these hotel guests overwhelmingly used the internet to search for hotel rooms, and in most cases also to book those rooms. However, they found that about one-fourth of those surveyed picked up the telephone to make their reservation, after they looked at the rooms on the web. The researchers speculate that perhaps those guests are seeking a better deal than is available on the website.

About two-thirds of those surveyed completed their bookings online. Some 37 percent of those booking online used the hotel's (or chain's) website, 30 percent used online travel agents, and 25 percent used opaque auction sites.

Although the nature of the sample limits the study's implications, the findings are still of use to hoteliers. Guests who purchased hotel rooms online, for instance, tended to be younger, have higher incomes, and purchase more room-nights than those who used traditional distribution channels.

Contrary to previous studies, the researchers also found that women conduct much more extensive research regarding potential hotels and rates than do men. They also found that even those travelers who did not use the internet for any purpose at all in connection with booking their hotel stay still had a relatively favorable opinion of the concept of online booking.

In addition to the study of hotel guests' approach to hotel booking, the November 2011 Cornell Hospitality Quarterly presents a study on the effects of gender on the likelihood that consumers will read online hotel reviews, an examination of hospitality managers' beliefs about price ending numerals (comparing 0, 5, and 9), and an assessment of the connection between service failures and the probability that a guest will return to a restaurant. The November issue's focus on hotels in Spain includes an analysis of earnings management in the Spanish hotel industry and an examination of Spanish hotels' management of environmental issues.

About the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

The primary objective of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly is to publish articles that provide timely and actionable prescriptions for hospitality management practice. The articles we publish are based on important industry challenges that are examined using rigorous methods of inquiry. The content addresses a broad range of topics that are relevant to hospitality, travel, and tourism contexts.

About The Center for Hospitality Research

A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 77 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

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