J.D. Power: Hotel Guests More Satisfied

by , Jul 27, 2010, 2:34 PM
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Drury Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Microtel Inns & Suites, Omni Hotels and The Ritz-Carlton rank highest in customer satisfaction in their respective segments, according to the newly released J.D. Power and Associates 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.

As the hotel industry begins to recover from the economic downturn, overall satisfaction among hotel guests has improved considerably from 2009, according to analysts. Many hotel chains were able to sustain relatively high satisfaction levels during the previous 12 months, despite contending with revenue declines and cost pressures caused by the economic downturn.

"As the industry recovers and guest volumes increase, it will be critical for hotel chains to focus on effectively managing and delivering consistently high levels of products and services," says Mark Schwartz, director of the global hospitality and travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "When guests experience variation in service within a hotel property or across different hotels within the same brand, there is a notable detrimental effect on overall satisfaction."

Now in its 14th year, the study measures overall hotel guest satisfaction across six hotel segments: luxury, upscale, mid-scale full-service, mid-scale limited service, economy/budget and extended stay. Seven key measures are examined within each segment to determine overall satisfaction: reservations; check-in/check-out; guest room; food and beverage; hotel services; hotel facilities; and costs and fees.

Each of the six segments has improved in satisfaction in 2010 compared with 2009, with extended stay properties and mid-scale full-service hotels demonstrating the greatest gains. Across all segments, satisfaction with the costs and fees, reservations and guest room measures improve most notably.

Notably, Microtel Inns & Suites ranked first for a ninth consecutive year in the economy/budget sector. Drury Inn & Suites ranked first for a fifth consecutive year in the mid-scale limited-service segment. Hilton Garden Inn ranked first for a second consecutive year in the mid-scale full-service category.

The study finds that the proportion of hotel guests who make reservations online has increased in 2010, to 58% from 54% in 2009. Guests of extended stay-properties are the most likely to book their reservations on the Internet, while guests of economy/budget hotels are the least likely. Overall, hotel guests are more likely to book online using the hotel brand's Web site rather than an independent travel Web site.

"Guests who make reservations directly through the hotel -- whether via phone or Web site -- are notably more satisfied with their overall experience than guests who book through an independent travel website," said Schwartz. "Most hotel guests who make reservations through an independent travel Web site indicate they do so because of price. However, twice as many guests experienced problems with their reservation when booking through independent sites, compared with hotel brand Web sites."

The study is based on responses gathered between June 2009 and June 2010 from more than 53,000 guests who stayed in a hotel between May 2009 and June 2010.

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