In Praise of Navel Gazing

By Richard Fraiman

Navel gazing has its merits. The Guide every year conducts an annual reader survey to find out what you think of us. This year’s survey is a representative sample of the more than 10,000 readers on our mailing list. Our readers visit hotels in the UK frequently. Since May, over 60% stayed at two or more hotels. The majority (75%) used the Good Hotel Guide to help you with your selection, followed by a just under third of you who used TripAdvisor. Twice as many of you used the print guide versus the website. You generally found both sources helpful, although you found the print guide slightly more useful than the website.

Looking forward, nearly half (46%) plan to stay at four more hotels in the UK over the next year, and two thirds (67%) plan to stay at three or more. We asked you to rank several information sources in terms of trust. Nearly 80% placed the Good Hotel Guide first, ie as your primary trusted source. Only 8% said they trusted TripAdvisor the most, and 4% said Booking.com. We also asked you about which brands most influenced your likelihood to book a room. Again nearly 80% ranked the GHG first, followed by Relais & Chateaux and Michelin (10% each). The vast majority of you, our readers, thankfully, trust and value the Guide more than its competitors.

We also asked what you felt was important about the Guide. The top three points mentioned were that the Guide takes no money from hotels in return for selection, that it features independent hotels, and that it offers a comprehensive selection of hotels around Britain.

Our survey respondents came from all over the UK. There were marginally more male respondents than female. The vast majority were aged over 50 (95%).

In this age of fake news and alternative facts, we will continue to work hard to ensure that the Guide remains independent and trustworthy. We will also strive to make the online version of the Guide ever more useful. At the same time, we believe we have to put the Guide on a firmer financial footing. Therefore we will continue to explore ways to generate incremental income. This is a significant challenge in a world with lots of competition, but it is also heartening to hear that the Guide continues to be trusted, and that it continues to succeed in its mission of connecting our hotel-loving readers with the best and most characterful, independent hotels in the UK and Ireland.

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