By Stacey Moore
While everyone knows that there’s no such thing as a “free lunch,” travelers do like to look for a free breakfast and will often select a hotel that offers one.
That’s just one finding from a recent survey-conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Best Western International. The survey findings offer some insight into what travelers of all ages look for when booking a hotel and what customer service means to them.
Here are some key highlights:
• The top three considerations travelers indicated when choosing a hotel were price (78 percent), convenient location (64 percent) and free breakfast (49 percent).
Interestingly, travelers 55+ are more likely to choose a hotel based on convenience of location (70 percent) than younger travelers between the ages of 18 and 34 (56 percent), who don’t feel location is as important when booking a hotel.
• On the other hand, younger travelers between the ages of 18 and 44 tend to book hotels that offer fitness centers and pools (45 percent).
• Travelers of all ages agree that room service or a restaurant on-site is important when choosing a hotel (18-34: 31 percent and 55+: 31 percent).
Regarding customer service provided by hotels, U.S. adults who stay in hotels say that free parking (75 percent), the concept of feeling “at home” when they’re a guest (67 percent) and having a strong knowledge about the local area-and thus being able to share valuable tips and highlights (63 percent)-score highest when it comes to excelling at “customer care.”
• Other top responses include offering free essential toiletries (beyond shampoo and soap) when they’re forgotten (63 percent), providing a free airport shuttle (54 percent), providing a free local newspaper or USA Today (51 percent), offering free products in the room (such as coffee, mouthwash or lotion) (35 percent) and providing a free bottle of water in the room at check-in (35 percent).
“For more than 60 years, Best Western has provided travelers with convenient locations and a range of amenities including breakfast and free high-speed Internet,” said Best Western’s Ric Leutwyler. “Guests who see the Best Western sign know that they can expect the same high level of customer care, comfort, service and value anywhere they go around the world.”
To learn more, visit the Web site at www.bestwestern.com.
Hotels like the Best Western Sterling Inn in Michigan offer customers special amenities such as an indoor water park, pictured above. More travelers over 55 are “grandtripping”-the trend of grandparents traveling solely with their grandchildren.