Cornell Issues Studies on International Hotel Guests' Preferences

Sep 18, 2013

Contact:  Jane Henion, 607.254.8987,

Cornell Issues Studies on International Hotel Guests' Preferences

Ithaca, NY, September 17, 2013 - The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the School of Hotel Administration has issued two studies that examine the hotel and marketing preferences of international travelers. One study, conducted by J.D. Power, compares guest satisfaction levels of hotel guests in eight nations. Another study compares the attitudes toward flash sales of consumers in five Asian nations.

Cornell Study Finds that Flash Sales for Hotels Are Popular in Many Asian Nations

A new study from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research finds that the response to flash sales varies for consumers from different Asian countries. The study, "Hotel Daily Deals: Insights from Asian Consumers," by Sheryl E. Kimes and Chekitan S. Dev, surveyed hotel guests in five Asian nations. While the study found that the daily deals are popular, the researchers found that frequent guests in many countries take advantage of the discounts offered in daily deals, thus confirming concerns of cannibalization. The study, which was funded by the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight, is available from the CHR at no charge.

Kimes and Dev, who are both professors at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, surveyed hotel guests in China, India, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan. "Although we found evidence of cannibalization, our respondents from several of the nations said that they took the opportunity of the flash sale to spend more money than usual during their hotel stay," said Kimes. "Additionally, these guests were happy to recommend the hotel to their friends. So, we conclude that hotels may come out ahead on balance."

The study also found that guests who used a flash sale had the same loyalty levels as those who did not use such offers. Most respondents said they would return to the hotel at full price in the future. Thus, the study concluded that if the deals are structured correctly, the hotel can gain future business.

The researchers also noted differences among respondents from different nations. The flash sales were more popular in China and India than in Korea, Indonesia, and Japan, for instance, and guests in China and India were also far more likely to share information about their hotel stay with friends and relatives.

New Study Finds International Differences in Hotel Guest Satisfaction Levels

Hotels operating in different nations can earn widely different guest satisfaction ratings, even if the hotels' performance is identical, according to a new study conducted by J.D. Power and issued by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research. The study, which is part of the CHR's Industry Perspectives series, examines the structural differences in guest satisfaction in eight different nations. The study, "Lost in Translation: Cross-country Differences in Hotel Guest Satisfaction," by Gina Pingitore, Weihua Huang, and Stuart Greif, is available at no charge. Pingitore is vice president and chief research officer at J.D. Power, where Weihua Huang is director of corporate research and Stuart Greif is vice president and general manager of diversified industries practice.

"We noticed that hotels in different nations receive consistently different satisfaction scores, but that cannot be a result of the hotels' operations," said Pingitore. "So we conducted this study using two years of data for nearly 200,000 hotel guests in eight nations. This gave us a window into the various characteristics of hotel guests—and particularly the factors that they use to determine their hotel satisfaction." The nations studied are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Although guests from these nations have many similarities, the study identified certain key differences in the importance of guest satisfaction drivers, as well as specific hotel standard operating procedures that are more important to guests in some of the nations than in others.

Guests in all nations looked at location first, for example, and most said price was the number-two item for selecting a hotel. But guests in Italy put reputation in second place, and those from Spain relied on their previous experience as the second criterion. Package deals were important for hotel guests in Japan, but not for those from other nations. An important finding for international chains is that residents of some countries consistently express generally higher levels of satisfaction than those in other countries. So, for instance, guests from the Canada and the United States provided the highest ratings, while guests from Japan provided ratings that were lower than those of other nations (with other factors equal).

On the other hand, guests from the United States appeared to be far less patient than all the others. Taking check-in times as an example, satisfaction levels for guests from the United States dropped noticeably after a wait time of just five minutes, while guests from Japan allowed an average of 30 minutes before expressing considerable reduced satisfaction.
"What we see is that international chains need to take into account these differences in countries," Pingitore concluded. "This is particularly true when comparing hotels in various nations, as well as in terms of designing service processes."

About J.D. Power

J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. Headquartered in Westlake Village, California, J.D. Power has offices in North and South America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power is a business unit of McGraw Hill Financial.

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 76 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

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