The benefits of Referral Marketing for hotels

The power of "advice" on purchases and services from a friend can be your new ally in acquiring new customers. All this is possible thanks to Referral Marketing, a fundamental tool in the hotel industry.

1. What is referral marketing?

Referral marketing is a process that encourages a company/brand’s existing customer base to engage their friends, family and other contacts by promoting products and services in exchange for discounts, gift certificates and various other benefits.

This effective system harnesses the power of word of mouth to convert current customers into brand advocates and generate virtuous circles that create new leads and, in the long term, new customers and virality for the promotion and the brand.


Referral programs, already part of the trends in the tourism sector in 2018, are more important than some companies may think. Every day there are billions of recommendations on platforms like Tripadvisor, before buying even the cheapest of products on Amazon we read all the reviews and trust the recommendations of people we didn’t even know.

It is typical of human nature to talk about things we like and when we write a review about a product or a service, this information reaches someone who then tells someone else, who in turn tells someone else, generating incredible capital movements, driven by an opinion alone. Chances are your satisfied customers are talking about your hotel right now, but are you taking advantage of this phenomenon as you should? These statistics will help you understand why you should develop a Referral Marketing strategy. 

1.1. Statistics

84% of people trust recommendations from people they know. Making this communication the most influential form of advertising. (Nielsen)

Brand advocate recommendations are the most trusted source for Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers segments. (Deloitte)

Customers who act on referrals are approximately 18% more likely to stay with the brand versus other customers. (Wharton)

70% of consumers give more credence to consumer-created reviews and peer recommendations than professionally written content. (Reevo)

Brand advocates are 50% more likely to influence a purchase. (Marketing Charts)

97% of IT professionals trust peer recommendations and reviews during the buying cycle. (Spiceworks)

Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate. (Deloitte)

In a study by Gigaom Research, 27% of marketers said they get more than half of their new customers from referral marketing. (Gigaom Research)

Referred clients have a 37% higher retention rate than other clients. (Deloitte)

88% trust online reviews as much as they trust reviews from their personal contacts. (BrightLocal)

1.2. Case studies


In 2008 Airbnb was a small, little-known company based in San Francisco, California.
Over the past decade, to the present day, Airbnb has become a trusted international platform that provides users with the ability to list, discover and book unique accommodations and experiences around the world.

Their corporate website has a large inventory (from budget accommodation solutions to vacation rentals



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