In an effort to better understand its core customers and what drives their travel decisions, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) surveyed a sample 3,500 members of 'The Club,' the brand's successful consumer recognition program for frequent guests.

The survey set out to discover the difference in buying habits when shopping for a business trip versus a leisure trip and the results were consistent amongst the different respondents. 64% of those questioned have significantly different criteria when choosing a hotel for a business trip compared to a leisure trip. Hotels chosen for business trips tend to be more "practical" and "price driven," while hotels chosen for leisure are more "luxurious" and price is much less of an issue. Many Club members stated that when traveling for leisure they prefer "unique" and "romantic" properties as they are usually traveling with a spouse or significant other. Although there is a bit of a discrepancy in buying habits between business trips and leisure trips, one respondent said it best; "Life is too short for bad hotels."

After some general preferences and habits were established, the SLH survey really aimed to hone in on what kind of activities and experiences luxury travelers are seeking. To firstly support the notion of Experiences, 66% expressed that 'Experiences' on vacation are "very important." When later asked to rank the importance of Cultural activities, Culinary experiences, Spa-related activities and Outdoor/Adventure pursuits, the Club members ranked them all evenly illustrating the equal interest and importance of all the categories. Further elaborating on experiential preferences, the Club members overwhelmingly expressed interest in a variety of "Spa Experiences" and "Adventurous activities." Moreover is the guests' desire to have access to behind the scenes tours, private areas and places only locals might visit or shop. Others added that unique culinary experiences were desired both in terms of location and cuisine in addition to interactive opportunities such as cooking lessons.

"It is quite clear from the survey results that luxury travelers do not want to just sit still; rather discerning guests want to be intrigued, entertained and enlightened," commented Paul Kerr, Joint Managing Director of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. "And this fits perfectly with our Experiential Marketing strategy, which focuses on SLH hotels' ability to deliver an infinite variety of memorable experiences," he added.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World's Experiential Marketing strategy connecting to guests' senses and desires has been effective thus far as when were asked to explain why they consistently choose SLH, Club members described the "quality," "personalized service," "unique properties" and variety of hotels but with consistently high standards." Survey by the numbers:

- 40% respondents are from U.S.; 26% UK/Ireland
- Respondents skewed male and were predominantly between the ages of 30 -50 yrs old
- 77% are more likely to travel internationally rather than domestically
- 86% say "quality" is most important factor when choosing a hotel; location and price follow.
- 66% want an "experience" when on vacation
- 60% book room only while 21% book packages