What are the marketing gimmicks used most widely by hotel operators to attract guests?

Room discounts, followed by free Wi-Fi and other amenities.

A survey of more than 25,000 hotel owners and managers in North America by the travel website TripAdvisor found that discounted rooms were offered by 58% of U.S. hotels surveyed. It was 63% in Mexico and 53% in Canada.

“Regionally, it seems that the industry tends to use some of the same methods of attracting travelers,” TripAdvisor spokesman Kevin Carter said.

The next most popular incentive was “special amenities,” as the survey put it, naming free Wi-Fi as an example. In the U.S., 44% of hotels offered the amenities to guests. Perhaps the most alluring promotion for travelers is a free night’s stay — only 14% of hotels in the U.S. offered that, compared with 34% in Canada.

Other incentives offered by U.S. hotels included free parking (31%) and free newspapers (20%).

(c)2012 the Los Angeles Times. Distributed by MCT Information Services.