September 23, 2019

Research spotlight: Professor Karaburun and Expedia

In this post, Professor Karaburun tells us about his current research with Dr. Jerome Barthelemy (ESSEC Business School) and Expedia.

Can you provide an overview of your hotel reviews project?

In this project, Visiting Professor Dr. Jerome Barthelemy (ESSEC Business School, Paris) and I partnered with Expedia, under the title “How well do you know your guests and their expectations?” The database we were initially provided with from Expedia included over 1.5 million bookings and nearly 60,000 hotels from 2018, Q3 and Q4. All property bookings were in the United States and bookings originated in nearly 30 different countries. One of the main research topics was the relationship between branded hotels, revenue and guest satisfaction. 

How did you initially become interested in this topic? 

When Expedia approached us, we looked at all the variables. Since in the hospitality industry performance and guest satisfaction for chain-affiliated hotels versus independent hotels are key issues, we thought this would be an excellent data set to delve deeper into this subject. Our hypothesis was that guest satisfaction is higher with branded hotels than independent hotels.

What have your findings been so far?

We found that guest reviews were higher when guests booked early, when guests stayed for a longer time, and when guests immediately rated their stay. We also found that, controlling for room revenue, chain affiliation has a positive impact on guest satisfaction. We presented our findings in the Expedia forum in D.C. to their hotel leaders. We provided Expedia some action items on what to do to increase their online reviews. 

What sort of impact does this project have for you and on your teaching?

I teach Strategic Brand and Management at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In this course, my students and I pay a lot of attention to a hotel’s brand, whether brand matter, the advantages and disadvantages to being related to an important brand, and lastly, independent hotels. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

It’s important to note that these are preliminary findings. We are still finalizing the report which we will submit in the coming weeks for publication. We are happy with our findings and thrilled to have partnered with a very reputable company. 

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