Principles of Persuasion
The average person makes over 10,000 decisions every day, a number of which concern buying. No-one makes all these decisions purely based on facts though – research shows that 90% of all purchasing decisions made are subconscious. At this crossroads of rationality and emotion lies the art of persuasion, justifying gut feelings with data. This pairing of intelligent insight with emotional triggering is the guiding principle behind Hotelchamp’s technological toolset.
In looking at this toolset, it is important to understand the psychology of why each tool is effective, not simply what it does. Our tools have all been crafted using the Seven Principles of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini, but who is Cialdini and why is his research so relevant to the creation of our tools?
Dr. Robert Cialdini has dedicated his career to researching the science of influence, which has earned him a worldwide reputation as an expert in negotiation, compliance and persuasion. His book “Influence”, was the result of a three-year program that studied the reasons people comply to requests in everyday settings. In his book, Dr. Cialdini lists six basic social & psychological principles that are the pillars of creating successful strategies to be able to influence people, later adding a 7th principle. Those seven principles are:
Principles in Practice – The Hotelchamp Tools
Hotelchamp’s voucher tool shows visitors the benefits of booking directly on your website and offers them a unique discount voucher with which to do so. This voucher code, delivered via email, evokes an individual connection with the guest – it isn’t just a standard price you have shown on your website, it’s a special offer that is extended to them in a one-to-one interaction. This personalised experience is more than just a financial saving, it acts as a connection that compels guests to book direct. But why?
It has to do with what Cialdini dubbed the Reciprocity principle. This principle is founded on the observation that when you offer someone something of value, the recipient often feels compelled to offer a gesture in return.
Cialdini’s study illustrates this with a real-world observation:
When dining in a restaurant, would you think that offering a customer a mint with their bill would increase the tip they give to the waiter?
Cialdini’s study concluded that giving diners a single mint at the end of their meal increased tips by 3%, but by giving two mints, the tip increased to 14%! Perhaps most interestingly, if a waiter provided the diners with a single mint, but then returned to offer an extra one as thanks for being such nice customers, tips increased to a whopping 23%. This goes to show that by demonstrating to your consumers that you value them as an individual using personalised offers, they are more than willing to respond in kind.
Online support chat
Just because consumers are booking online, doesn’t mean they’re purposely avoiding human interaction. A live chat is the ultimate online support experience that you can use to interact with your guests in real time. Providing a direct line to your customers when they’re in a research phase puts them one step closer to booking direct, as doubts and questions can be cleared up immediately. A live chat is a two-way conversation which enables your staff to offer your guests the same warm hospitality and help that the hotel industry is known for. It enables your employees to connect with guests on a more personal level despite the fact they’re separated by computer screens.
As well as serving a very functional purpose, the online support tool also offers persuasion benefits through the principle of liking. Cialidini’s study concluded that we tend to do things for people we like, who are similar to us and people who compliment us. Increasingly our day to day interactions are transferring online – by enabling your employees to maintain a personal touch in your online channel, you can continue to offer the same type of personalised customer service online as you would in a face to face interaction at the front desk of your hotel.
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) Comparison tool provides you with the unique opportunity to display the reasons why it’s best to book directly on your website.
By offering transparency to guests, you build credibility that your hotel is providing them with more benefits than if they were to book elsewhere. Given the amount of hotels there are on the web, the likelihood that your prospective guest is having difficulty to decide which hotel to book is high. The transparent and summarising nature of the Hotelchamp USP comparison tool reassures the guest that they aren’t missing out on a better deal on a third-party website. By removing the compulsion to leave your site to ‘shop around’, you effectively eliminate the chance of them revisiting an online travel agent website and potentially finding another hotel. This tool was inspired by Cialdini’s principle of authority – it is the idea that people are more trustworthy of a credible or knowledgeable leader. By frankly contrasting your direct advantages against your third-party channels on your website, this tool presents your prospective guests with the ultimate authority – the truth.
When it comes to guests, there is no one-size fits all approach, as different people value different things. That is why Hotelchamp offers an extensive set of highly precise, psychologically informed tools, tailored to each guest to persuade them to book direct. Every single hotel can increase their direct bookings with the right mix of tools and persuasion techniques. Watch out for our upcoming posts, as we continue to deep-dive through the rest of Hotelchamp’s comprehensive toolset.