Unravelling the mystery of Word-of-Mouth

Unravelling the mystery of Word-of-Mouth

eHotelier 8 July 2021 – Historically Word-of-Mouth (WOM) has been important for tourism and hospitality, because we know that customers very rarely make decisions in isolation. Customers select sources of information that they perceive as useful, trustworthy, insightful and easily accessible, which will help them make decisions. So, as the hospitality industry emerges from the pandemic, WOM will be more important than ever.

What is Word-of-Mouth?
At its core, WOM is an informal exchange of information between people that is non-commercial in nature; in reality, it is so much more. It has always been considered the most powerful form of influence, because it provides a balance of information and opinion, within a known context that is expressed in a setting, which provides the flexibility to ‘tailor make’ the message. However, WOM has traditionally been considered in a simplistic view of ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ WOM. This sells WOM short as it overlooks the different types of WOM and the nature of the exchange.

There are three main types of WOM. The first main form of WOM is discussion of brand name. This relates directly to a brand names raised in discussion for example multi-national tourism and hospitality products, such as hotel chains, for example Hyatt, Sofitel, Accor.

When there is informational WOM, which is usually descriptive information that may include attribute details. In the hotel management context this might encompass information, such as pricing, opening hours, parking, food availability, directions, weather, access and various other details.