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Study: Hotel Satisfaction Sees Significant Increase in 2013

By / Jul 31, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Hotel guests were more satisfied with their stays in 2013 than ever before, according to a recent survey by J.D. Power.

Overall hotel guest satisfaction saw a sizable increase in 2013, according to  J.D. Power’s latest North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.

The study measures overall guest satisfaction across eight hotel segments: luxury, upper upscale, upscale, midscale full service, midscale, economy/budget, upper extended stay, and extended stay. It examined seven factors within each segment to determine overall satisfaction: reservation, check-in/check-out, guest room, food and beverage, hotel services, hotel facilities, and cost and fees.

Hotel charges have gone up about 5 percent over the past two years, but people are still more satisfied.

On the study’s 1,000-point scale, guest satisfaction improved to 777, up 20 points from 2012. It marks the highest satisfaction index score for the hotel industry since the study’s current methodology was introduced in 2006.

“The fact that guest satisfaction has turned a corner is great news for an industry that has struggled to sufficiently meet guest expectations in the past few years,” said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power, in a statement. “Many hotel chains are finally benefiting from the long-term investments they have been making to improve their properties in terms of staffing, rooms, and facilities.”

Garlick told Yahoo that satisfaction is up despite price increases. “Hotel charges have gone up about 5 percent over the past two years,” said Garlick, “but people are still more satisfied.”

The study also found that the number of interactions a guest has with the hotel staff might significantly influence overall satisfaction, which was highest among guests who interact with four or more staff types. Satisfaction drops when guests have no other interactions with staff  beyond check-in.

“As hoteliers experiment with automated methods of check-in and check-out that tend to reduce the number of human touch points, it is important that they use the additional staff time gained to offer a warmer, more personalized experience for their guests,” Ramez Faza, senior manager of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power, said in a statement on the study. “Hotels should never underestimate the power of the human element. Whether it’s assisting a guest with a special request or a friendly greeting from staff members in the hallway, the people aspect plays a key role in guest satisfaction and loyalty.”

The following hotel brands ranked highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:

  • Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton
  • Upper upscale: Kimpton Hotels
  • Upscale: Hyatt Place
  • Midscale Full Service: Holiday Inn
  • Midscale: Drury Hotels
  • Economy/budget: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham
  • Upper extended stay: Homewood Suites
  • Extended stay: TownePlace Suites

Other highlights from the study:

  • Internet usage at hotels is increasing but remains the top problem experienced by guests. Among those who experienced a problem during their hotel stay, 31 percent had an issue with connection and/or speed.
  • Overall satisfaction among guests who had difficulties connecting to the internet was 133 points lower than among those who did not have problems.
  • When guests choose a hotel primarily because of price, satisfaction is significantly lower than when they choose based on other criteria. Among the most satisfied guests overall are the 7 percent categorized in the study as “scrutinizers”—those who seek information from online hotel review sites and use it as the basis for booking. Their satisfaction rated 114 points above the industry average.

Daniel Ford

Daniel Ford is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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