Global: The impact of recommendation when it comes to choosing airlines and hotels
September 29th, 2021, Hoang Nguyen, Cheryl Kar

Global: The impact of recommendation when it comes to choosing airlines and hotels

Several factors come into play as consumers book travel - including price, value and quality. A new YouGov analysis shows that when it comes to making a travel purchase related to airlines and hotels, large shares of consumers are also swayed by recommendations from people they trust.

Role of recommendations in choosing an airline

Roughly three in ten consumers globally (29%) say that the strong recommendation of someone they trust plays an important role in choosing an airline to fly with, according to research conducted by YouGov across 17 international markets. Focusing on US, Great Britain, Germany, France, UAE and Singapore shows key differences in how recommendations drive consumers’ purchase decisions.

American consumers, for example, are as likely as global consumers to be influenced by someone they trust in choosing an airline (29%). But delving deeper into the data suggests that it’s the younger audience here (18–24-year-olds - 39%) who are more likely to say so compared to older age cohorts (25–34-year-olds: 30%; 35–44-year-olds: 26%; 45–54-year-olds: 26%; 55+: 28%:).

In Europe, Britons are more likely to say they will opt for an airline based on the recommendation of someone they trust (31%) than consumers in France (22%) and Germany (22%).

Airline recommendations have a particularly strong impact among consumers in the UAE (35% vs 29% globally). However, it’s worth noting that unlike consumers in the US, it’s older respondents in the UAE who tend to be swayed by recommendations. Singaporeans also surpass the global rate in their likelihood to be influenced by airline recommendations (36%).

Role of recommendations in choosing a hotel

And it’s not just while choosing an airline that recommendations come into play. The study also shows that consumers globally factor in recommendations when it comes to booking hotel accommodation too (36%).

Among the key markets highlighted in the section above, this view is most pervasive among consumers in Great Britain (43%). Respondents in France are as likely as global consumers to choose a hotel brand based on a recommendation, followed by those in Singapore (36% and 35%, respectively).

In the US, recommendations from friends and family influence more than three in ten consumers while booking hotels (33%). Data from YouGov BrandIndex, a tool that measures and tracks brand health on a daily basis, reveals that over the last year Marriot was the top recommended hotel brand in the US (36% of Marriot customers say they would recommend the brand to friends and colleagues). The other top recommended brands in the US include one of Marriot’s subsidiaries, Courtyard by Marriot (31%), followed by Hilton (31%), Holiday Inn Express (29), Holiday Inn (29%), and Hampton Inn (27%).

Similar shares in the UAE (33%) and Germany (32%) say that recommendations play in important role in their hotel purchase decision.

It’s clear that recommendations from trusted sources have an influential role to play for consumers to choose an airline or a hotel brand. Insights like these that decode consumer attitude toward recommendations, or how travel audiences spend their time and the influencers/celebrities they follow can be valuable for brands to device marketing strategies and partnerships that help in reaching consumers effectively.

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 509 and 2124 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in August 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.