How choice of hotel name affects type of guests

Hotel, lodge, inn, resort and now Airbnb all have different emotional impacts on new travelers looking to book. When you consider the ‘top of funnel’ for your advertising channels as how guests search to find your property without any previous knowledge, the choice of words you use in naming your hotel can have a profound effect right at the start in terms of who is most attracted to your property.

To a developer, name selection is critical, and this is something I help owners decide upon as part of a development consultation. The adage here is ‘measure twice, drill once’ where it’s better to arrive upon the best possible name through intensive discussion then backtrack later on down the road.

At launch, there is little more to go on than name, location and artistic renderings. As the developer is targeting to generate millions of dollars in financing through initial presentations, every edge is critical. Even if you’re not a developer, it’s interesting to see how a consumer perceives a property based solely on its name without any other reference points. Could that simple add-on influence perceptions in advance of a guests’ stay?

In pursuit of some clarity on the matter, I canvassed 75 individuals. While I will admit that this is not a truly representative sample, being just one North American city and a rather homogeneous group (about two-thirds male, mostly Caucasian), the responses generated hint at the possibility of a more exhaustive evaluation.

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There I offered no first, second or third choices; respondents had to just pick one. They had to select between traditional names for both real hotel properties as well as a home sharing option as represented by Airbnb. Six questions were asked with answers below. Final data is tabulated and displayed at the end.

Most Luxurious: Unquestionably, Resorts fared well about any other option.

Most Relaxing: Surprisingly, Inn, followed by Resort and Lodge were leaders. I do not judge the differences to be significant.

Best for Business Travel: As one would expect, Hotel was top ranked, but Airbnb was second and surprisingly well ahead of the other options.

Best for Weekend Getaway: No real clear winner here, with Resort and Airbnb tied followed closely by Hotel and Lodge.

Best for Wellness: No surprise here, with Resort having a clear lead. Interestingly, I wonder where a wellness Airbnb is?

Best Value: Airbnb was the big winner here, well above every other option.

To offer some brief conclusions on the subject, I was frankly surprised at how well the terms ‘Lodge’ and ‘Inn’ did, given their rather limited use in today’s traditional accommodations field. The consideration of Airbnb as a business travel option was also quite significant, as we tend to think of alternative lodging platforms for mostly leisure. Lastly, it is quite apparent that Airbnb has taken the value mantle from the traditionalists. While today’s economy remains robust, this indicator is troubling for the next downturn.

N=75 Hotel Lodge Inn Resort Airbnb
Most Luxurious 5 4 2 59 5
Most Relaxing 8 16 25 17 9
Best for Business Travel 39 3 4 7 22
Best for Weekend Getaway 14 14 8 20 19
Best for Wellness 18 9 7 41 0
Best Value 8 15 10 2 40


Tags: airbnb, guest, Hotel, Inn, lodge, names, resort


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