A post earlier this month on technology and marketing mentioned the WOMMA conference that underlines the importance (and credibility) of the word of mouth as opposed to conventional media advertising. Its efficacy can hardly be overstated as was noted in a report in yesterday’s Orlando Sentinel. A study by the University of Central Florida that surveyed travelers departing the Orlando area on their preferences for entertainment and restaurants found that an overwhelming “forty-one percent of their referrals to restaurants were provided by local friends and relatives, as were 37 percent of entertainment referrals and 36 percent of recreational referrals”. In contrast “visitor centers provided 12 percent of dining and 8 percent of entertainment and recreation referrals”.
Presumably these friends and relatives who provided referrals at least knew of if not tried these establishments. It is ancient wisdom that current and past customers provide the best referral for most establishments. It may be trite but it bears repeating that hotels that take note of that to drum up additional business are likely to find that channel most rewarding. Hotels might want to rethink the large sums they spend on reams of brochures that are sent to visitor centers and focus on getting the word out via the mouth.