Drury Inn & Suites, Embassy Suites Hotels, Holiday Inn, Homewood Suites, Hotel Indigo, Microtel Inns & Suites and The Ritz-Carlton rank highest in customer satisfaction in their respective segments, although overall hotel guest satisfaction has declined.
Hotel guest satisfaction with costs and fees has improved despite higher room rates, while satisfaction with other service and product-related aspects has declined amid increasing occupancy rates, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.
The annual study measures overall hotel guest satisfaction across seven hotel segments: luxury; upper-upscale; 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.
The improvement in hotel guest cost and fee satisfaction, despite higher room rates, runs counter to the general pattern of customers being less satisfied with higher prices. For example, in the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, reported on here in Marketing Daily, each airline that implemented price increases experienced a decline in satisfaction with fare costs.
"The bright spot for hotel guests is that costs and fees remain relatively low, so the value received for the price paid is still quite high," says Stuart Greif, vice president and general manager of the global hospitality and travel practice at Westlake Village, Calif. -based J.D. Power and Associates. That's good for hotel chains because there appears to be more upward opportunity on rates, he adds.
Many chains are now making investments that were delayed due to the downturn in the economy, but which will take time to complete, Greif says. Hoteliers are also being careful not to add more staff until they believe higher levels of demand will be sustained.
Guests are also returning to hotels in greater numbers, reversing satisfaction gains realized when hotels were less busy during the downturn. The decline in overall satisfaction in 2011 reflects that hotel improvement efforts and investments are lagging behind rising customer expectations.
The study finds that 18% of hotel guests in 2011 report having experienced a problem during their stay. However, the rate at which guests report a problem to hotel staff varies widely by the type of problem experienced. For example, noise is the problem most commonly experienced by guests, with 16% indicating experiencing the issue. However, only 43% of these guests indicate they reported the noise to hotel staff. In contrast, just 13% of guests say they experienced a problem with the Internet connection or speed at their hotel, but 60% reported the problem.
Despite the difference in the rate at which these problems were reported, resolution rates were similar. Among guests who reported noise problems to hotel staff, 35% say their problem was resolved. Among guests who reported Internet usage problems, the resolution rate averages 39%.
Problem occurrence has a strong negative impact on overall hotel guest satisfaction, Grief says. Satisfaction among guests who experience a problem during their hotel stay averages more than 100 points lower than satisfaction among guests with a problem-free experience.
The 2011 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses gathered between June 2010 and May 2011 from more than 61,300 guests from the U.S. and Canada who stayed in a hotel in North America between May 2010 and May 2011.