Traveling is rocking now! Thanks to many things: travel bloggers, free-visa policy, Tony Fernandes who makes cheap flying possible, and so on. Simply put, traveling is now: easier, cheaper, and cooler. And closely related to traveling and tourism, ‘budget hotel’ is also enjoying this phenomenon. Ask your friends who come from Bali, Jogja, or other cities that are famous for their tourism sector. How many budget hotels had been built there in recent years? Many, yes. Or even too many.
That ‘many’ is provoking a big question: if there are so many options, then how do people make a decision to stay at certain budget hotel? JakPat tried to find out the answer by involving 1006 Indonesians in a survey. And we got some insights about what they regard as important and not important, which ultimately lead into decision making for choosing a budget hotel.
Let’s have some sneak peek on our survey result. While in the next paragraphs, the result will be shown in more detail.
It’s interesting to know that most of the respondents identify themselves as leisure travelers (78%). In other words, most of Indonesians who stay at budget hotel are leisure travelers. It describes the nature of this market. ‘Leisure travelers’ is the mass market of budget hotel industry, while ‘business travelers’ is associated with a more niche one. According to our survey, there’s not much difference between leisure and business travelers in terms of the utmost important considerations. But there’s some difference when it comes to unimportant or irrelevant attributes.
Getting deeper into the discussion, there are several factors that we use in this survey. It is taken from works of several scholars (1). These factors are shaping the budget hotel’s offering. According to this survey, travelers in general regard these top three factors as the most important: Price (89%), Location (69%), Room (48%). There’s no difference regarding the preference between leisure or business travelers.
JakPat tried to dig more about the result above, by asking more specifically about the attributes that are important to them in deciding to stay at budget hotel. Attributes are those that form factors. The result shows that most respondents think that: Price (91%), Location (77%), Room cleanliness (59%), Bed comfort (48%), and Bathroom cleanliness & amenities (43%) are the most important features for them to make a decision.
One interesting thing is the fact about the next attribute right after the Top 5. It is ‘WiFi’ (32%). Remember, we’re in the digital age where Internet should be accessible for anyone, anytime, and anywhere. And again. The result seems consistent for both business travelers and leisure travelers.
The chart above gives a clue where the ideal offering should focus on. This fact generates another question: how’s about other attributes? We also did the survey about this. We asked the respondents to answer which attributes they consider should be ‘at least performed at standard quality’ and which ones are not important or relevant.
The result is interesting, in which respondents chose Bed Comfort (42%), Room cleanliness (38%), Price (38%), and Location (35%) as the attributes that’s ‘okay to be performed at standard level’. In other words: “no need to go extra mile on this, but don’t get worse than others”. In practice, it means the offering of those attributes doesn’t need much investment or focus, but still need adequate attention. Just do it at the level like everybody does.
The results are quite similar to the perceptions of most important attributes. It can be interpreted that these features are pretty important for travelers to make decision. But they don’t need the features to be ‘exaggerated’ or ‘too much’ which may harm price competitiveness. For example: providing the most comfortable yet expensive bed may imply to price increase.
However, there’s a bit difference between leisure and business travelers when it comes to the ‘okay to be standard’ attribute. Leisure travelers preferred to have the standard level of TV (32%). While business travelers put more concern on standard quietness that ensures their privacy (30%) instead of TV. It may happen due to difference of their intention in staying at budget hotel. Business travelers may expect the hotel to be at least meeting the minimum standard of quietness, most likely because they have to concentrate on their work. Meanwhile, we can imagine the leisure travelers say, “just give me the standard TV, no need to be that expensive TV. I just want to watch some news or gossip while resting”.
The most interesting thing is the fact that several things are considered as not important or event irrelevant. Based on our survey, these attributes are not appealing in the eyes of travelers: The design of lobby/lounge (70%), Laundry (54%), Room amenities (51%). In addition, leisure travelers don’t think business area (53%) & lighting & work area (48%) matter for them. While business travelers state they don’t care about swimming pool (40%) and price of FnB (39%).
The difference is again, most likely driven by their intention to stay and allocated budget. It may rise some introspective question if budget hotels keep prioritizing these attributes in their offering. Travelers prefer a simple lobby, no laundry service is okay (remember they’re traveling ‘on budget’, so they may browse cheaper laundry facility outside), and less room amenities.
To understand this issue better, we also asked a question about the preference of ideal pricing and reservation system. As shown by the infographic below, travelers in general perceive that the current price of budget hotel is quite fair by their standard. Most of the respondents answer the price is: fair enough but a bit expensive (42%) and fair (38%). Only minority of them chose cheap (6%) or too expensive (13%). There’s no difference regarding the preference between leisure or business travelers, as well as no significant relation between price perception and domicile of respondents.
It shows the pricing level is quite appropriate for this market. Though it would be more favorable if the price can be lowered.
While the last one, the survey shows that more than half of the respondents prefer the reservation method through online platform (52%). Some still have direct communication with the budget hotel (36%) and use offline-agency (12%). The result is not surprising though. It’s crystal-clear that in this age, any business should have presence in the digital world. A partnership with some booking platform application may be the easiest and must-do first step for those businesses which haven’t gone digital.
That’s all about this survey. It reveals the important and unimportant things in deciding a stay at budget hotel according to Indonesian travelers. As indicated by its term, ‘budget’ hotel targets the market that’s pretty sensitive toward price. No wonder if ‘price’ remains the main and most significant consideration for this market.
This survey result may help to give some insight for the players in budget hotel industry to rethink their approach. What should budget hotel focus less on to decrease their price? What should they perform at standard level to meet the minimum expectation of customers without sacrificing more cost? What should they focus more to attract more customers and increase the satisfaction?
For more detail you can download XLS report at the button below (Bahasa Indonesia). JAKPAT report consists of 3 parts which are 1) Respondent Profile, 2) Crosstabulation for each question and 3) Raw Data. Respondent profile shows you demographic profiles ( gender,age range, location by province, and monthly spending). Cross tabulation enables you to define different demographic segment preference on each answer.
You can also download PDF here: