Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive

Thought, Reason, and Emotion Affect Consumer Decision

Patrick Bultema, CEO of CodeBaby, gave a thought-provoking presentation at the 2009 Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston, titled ‘Emotion Online: The Challenge of Making the Human Connection in a Digital World.’ He spoke about how corporations can rouse customers' emotions to generate loyalty. 

Bultema claims that there have been great innovations in our understanding of Emotional Intelligence in the last 10 years. In the past, it was thought that people should trust reason over emotions, but new studies question that theory. Bultema strongly recommends the neuroscience book, ‘How We Decide’, by Johah Lehrer. This book studies how emotions play a vital part in decision-making. One conclusion of the research reveals that people who have brain damage to the emotional center of their brain are unable to make decisions, because their rational brain will endlessly debate the pros and cons over a course of action for even insignificant decisions such as if they should eat white or brown toast.

Emotions also affect consumer behavior. Consumers make purchase decisions with the help of a subtle play between thought, reason, and emotion. According to Bultema, customer satisfaction alone doesn't promote customer loyalty. A good test of a customer's loyalty is to ask, "Would you recommend this to a friend?" This question involves emotion.

Television commercials are very evocative of emotions, and the ultimate example is the Hallmark Greeting Card commercials. You must also use this approach on your website, which is your customers' preferred mechanism for interacting with you. Bultema talks about the importance of using software that allows you to conduct itracking studies that show you where a consumer's eye goes on a website, and where they click. He said that the CodeBaby website was designed not to be an eye-candy experience, but to be more like a greeting card experience.

Bultema spoke about CodeBaby's website project with Logitech for the recently-released squeezebox. They incorporated emotional elements on the website through the use of animated characters, and the site has had a tremendous impact. When asked why they used animated characters as opposed to real people, he answered that customers were more receptive to animated characters online. He expanded on this thought by saying real people do not live online - so it looks strange to have a real person talking to you.

Emotions are at the center of consumers’ needs and wants, and their choices are influenced by emotional factors. The subject of consumers and emotions has been around for a long time, however it is constantly evolving as the communication channels change and expand. Researchers continue to study how emotions affect consumers, and many are looking more closely at the internet, as this is the place where consumers are today.  Bultema mentioned that Byron Reeves from Stanford University is conducting a lot of research on emotion in human-computer interaction.

Bultema stressed that your consumers are now online, and as a marketer you have to learn how to make a lasting human connection with them. By incorporating emotion into your online marketing efforts you can appeal to consumers and generate customer loyalty.

If you would like to learn more about Internet Marketing, O’Rourke Hospitality can help! call 978-465-5955 or send an email to


O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing
44 Merrimac Street
MA 01950

Also See:
Southwest Airlines is Riding the Blogosphere Like a Wild Horse! / October 2009

Don’t be Invisible Online - Learn which Websites Travelers Use to find Hotels and be Seen! / September 2009

What can a Blog do for my Hotel? The General Manager from Hawthorne Hotel Shares Insight! / September 2009

How to Edit, Export, & Upload Your Hotel Videos – Easy Technical Tips / September 2009

How Hotels Can Build Links by Leveraging their USP, PR, and Organic Growth; an O’Rourke Video Interview / September 2009

Will Google Caffeine Affect my Hotel SEO? / August 2009

Don’t Hide From Trip Advisor Reviews! / August 2009

5 Ways Hotels can Improve and Track Return on Investment from Twitter – Oh wait, there is no investment! / August 2009

Leverage Blended Search and Boost your Hotel’s Search Ranking Position / August 2009

How to Optimize Your Hotel Website for Natural Search / August 2009

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch
Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| Industry Resources | Press Releases
Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.