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The Battle for Loyalty

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The Battle for Loyalty

Overview: The Battle for Loyalty – Online Travel Agencies vs. Suppliers

Expedia / v. Marriott / Starwood / Hilton

Online travel agencies are feeling the pressure as consumers are beginning to migrate to lodging suppliers to research and book travel. This competitive lodging report explores this trend and addresses the following questions:

  • Will the trend towards suppliers continue or will OTAs prevail?
  • Are users likely to research lodging on one travel site and purchase on the other?
  • What factors impact the purchase decision – price, content, functionality, rewards?
  • How effective are loyalty programs for attracting and retaining customers?
  • Are loyalty members really loyal?


  • Consumers are initially more likely to prefer purchasing from a supplier directly, than an OTA; Although, after experiencing the sites, overall purchase intent on leading OTAs outperforms suppliers
  • Supplier loyalty programs are a key differentiator; Loyalty members will pay more for hotel accommodations and are twice as likely to return, purchase and recommend as non-loyalty members
  • However, loyalty membership does not guarantee purchases; 48% of Marriott Rewards members and 44% of Starwood Preferred Guest members would prefer to purchase from Expedia or than the supplier after experiencing each of the sites

Table of Contents

1. Report Highlights
2. Background
3. Objectives
4. Detailed Findings
5. Behavioral Analysis
6. Consumer Attitudes
7. Overall Preference
8. Task Performance
9. Brand Loyalty
10. Best Practices
11. Methodology
12. Acknowledgements
13. Company Information
14. Appendix I – Participant Profile
15. Appendix II – Study Questionnaire

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