Customer satisfaction with both rental cars and airports increased this year even among the challenges from post-pandemic pent-up travel demand.
Rental cars eked out a 14 point increase on a 1,000 point scale, due in part to stabilized pricing, increased vehicle availability and improved staffing, according to the J.D. Power 2023 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study.
However, with the outcome of the United Auto Workers strike still uncertain, rental car supply may again become an issue, says Michael Taylor, managing director of travel, hospitality and retail at J.D. Power.
“The post-pandemic period has been tough for North American rental car companies and their customers, but now that things have stabilized, customer satisfaction has started to increase significantly,” Taylor says in a release. “Given the tight correlation we see between vehicle availability, price and customer satisfaction, it’s going to be important to keep an eye on the UAW strike as a potential supply chain issue that could negatively affect customer satisfaction during the course of the next year.”
Enterprise ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction for a third consecutive year, with a score of 866. National (865) ranks second, and Alamo (862) ranks third. Overall customer satisfaction for the industry is 843, up from 829 in 2022.
The 2023 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study is based on responses gathered from 8,632 business and leisure travelers who rented a vehicle at an airport location during the past year. The study was fielded from August 2022 through August 2023.
Perhaps related, airport satisfaction is also up, according to the J.D. Power 2023 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.
Overall satisfaction improves 3 points (on a 1,000-point scale), driven by improvements in three factors: terminal facilities; food and beverage and retail service; and baggage claim.
Many of the top-performing airports in the study have one thing in common: recently completed construction and redevelopment projects that have improved passenger flow, parking and terminal facilities. Nowhere is the positive effect of capital improvement clearer than in New York’s LaGuardia Airport, which has climbed from dead last in passenger satisfaction in 2019 to reach the large airport segment average this year.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport ranks highest in passenger satisfaction among mega airports with a score of 800. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (796) ranks second, and Harry Reid International Airport (787) ranks third.
Tampa International Airport ranks highest among large airports for a second consecutive year, with a score of 832. John Wayne Airport, Orange County (829) ranks second, and Salt Lake City International Airport (825) ranks third.
Indianapolis International Airport ranks highest among medium airports for a second consecutive year, with a score of 843. Southwest Florida International Airport (839) ranks second, and Ontario International Airport (834) ranks third.
The study measures overall traveler satisfaction with mega, large and medium North American airports by examining six factors (in order of importance): terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.
Now in its 18th year, the study is based on 27,147 completed surveys from U.S. or Canadian residents who traveled through at least one U.S. or Canadian airport and covers both departure and arrival experiences (including connecting airports). Travelers evaluated either a departing or arriving airport from their round-trip experience. The study was fielded from August 2022 through July 2023.