Annual Report FY 2004 - Research at Cornell

23. Switching Brands

Judy A. Siguaw, Hotel Administration, revealed in a study that guest satisfaction does not ensure repeat business or purchases for all consumers, even though marketers have long held that satisfied customers return. Siguaw and research staff found that brand switching occurs among a hotel’s most satisfied customers and that some of the least satisfied customers return even when dissatisfied. The researchers analyzed behavior among four guest segments—satisfied switchers, dissatisfied switchers, satisfied stayers, and dissatisfied stayers. Dissatisfied stayers were unwilling or unable to put forth the effort to identify and use alternative hotels. The study also found that business travelers were the least satisfied, least loyal, and least involved, and the most likely to be dissatisfied switchers. Satisfied switchers did not routinely select hotels where they had satisfactory experiences. Although hotel managers can use this new information to better define groups in which they want to invest, the study has implications beyond the hotel industry.

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