Zero price effect on hotel demand: Evidence from a discrete choice experiment

Xian ZHANG, Jose Grisolia, Tom Lane

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


A Choice Experiment is employed to analyze the effect of a free night promotion on hotel demand in the setting of a relatively underdeveloped area in China. Results from Error Components models show evidence in favor of a non-rational “zero price effect” (ZPE): with total price and all other aspects equal, people tend to choose the hotel which offers one free night. In addition, free pricing is shown to have stronger effects in diverting preferences than a trivial price (1 RMB). However, it is not the only successful psychological pricing strategy; its effects do not significantly differ from those of a materially equivalent discount. Building upon recent methodological innovations using Choice Experiments to study pricing strategy, this paper is the first to extend the technique to study the ceteris paribus ZPE. Our findings can help hotels make use of the ZPE to attract consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104692
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Zero price effect
  • Hotel promotion strategy
  • Discrete choice experiment
  • Error components model


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