While the new form of feedback is good news for consumers it offers both threats and opportunities for hotel operators.
Robert Bryant, global lead consulting partner for tourism, hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “Embracing social media will be key to success in brand management. The transparency of social media will highlight any inconsistencies in the delivery of the brand, and will provide a quick and enriching communication channel between brand and consumer.
“The most successful brands will be those that embrace and learn to harness social media rather than underestimate or fight against its influence.”
The report suggests a consumer’s perception of a hotel brand is more often influenced by experience than by products. The brand is therefore likely to have a strong, growing influence over consumer choice at the upper end of the market but a smaller, declining role in the large mass-market, more product-driven segment, according to Deloitte.
Bryant said: “The websites of many top end hotel chains are currently difficult to distinguish from one another, with relatively similar messaging. We believe that much greater differentiation will be needed over the next five years to capture the loyalty of the luxury traveller.”
Lifestyle hotels growth
The report also predicts an explosion in the number of ‘lifestyle’ hotel brands around the world in the next five years, which will sell a specific image or experience rather than functionality.
See our Ask the Experts section for advice on creating a brand and our guide to online marketing for more on social media.