Findings from the study describe opportunities for hotel marketers to engage undecided consumers, leverage loyalty programs and communicate effectively with customers and prospects.

The survey of over 400 consumers who recently booked a hotel analyzed the experience throughout the selection process. A cross-section of a larger Epsilon survey of 1500 US consumers, the study was part of a comprehensive listening exercise designed to explore the current state of Customer Experience Marketing, an approach to deliver relevant interactions that anticipate and respond to the many ways consumers want to engage, shop and buy today. The study gathered data across multiple product categories including televisions, computers, hotels, auto insurance, mobile devices, communication services and credit cards.

In the key findings from Epsilon's hotels survey:

- Only 33% of consumers surveyed definitely knew which hotel they would select, leaving 2 out of 3 consumers "pretty sure" or unsure of their decision;

- For all consumers surveyed the number one factor driving their decision was price. Convenience of the hotel location is the second most popular reason;

- For consumers who were unsure, good reviews are a significant factor. Friends and family rank high as influential sources along with product review websites and brand websites;

- Consumers prefer email for receiving communications from hotel brands;

- When seeking information the most popular sources are brand websites, search engines and travel related websites;

- Within emails and on websites, consumers are most interested in hearing about sales/discount offers and hotel amenities. Sweepstakes and contests and information tailored to their interests also rank high;

- Over eight in ten loyalty program members agreed that the program makes them more likely to stay at the hotel chain with which they are a member.

"With an industry so experienced with loyalty programs and with travelers who have access to tremendous amounts of information, marketers need to work really hard to understand and serve their preferences," said Michael Penney, executive vice president, Epsilon Strategic & Analytic Consulting Group. "The fundamentals haven't changed much. Consumers will stay engaged with marketing communications if they are relevant and delivered in ways they want to receive them."

Related Link: Epsilon