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turism&travel : Hotel guest satisfaction with costs, fees up, overall satisfaction tanks

Thursday 21 July 2011

- 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(SM) released today.

Now in its 15th year, the 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 study finds that satisfaction with costs and fees has increased to an average of 739 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2011—20 points higher than 2010. Meanwhile, occupancy and average daily rate in the U.S. hotel industry have been steadily increasing during the past year. According to Smith Travel Research, Inc., occupancy is up to an average of 65.1 percent as of May 2011, an increase of 4.6 percent compared with May 2010. During the same time frame, average daily rate has increased to an average of $101.54, up by 4 percent from last year.

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,(SM) each airline that implemented price increases experienced a decline in satisfaction with fare costs.

"Unlike the airline industry, in which prices were raised aggressively amid limited seat supply and high demand, the hotel industry has enacted more modest price increases and has had spare room capacity," said Stuart Greif, vice president and general manager of the global hospitality and travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "The benefits of higher occupancy have outweighed taking a more aggressive posture on average daily rates, as putting 'heads in beds' has taken priority."

"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," said Greif. "The bright spot for hoteliers is that there appears to be more upward opportunity on rates."

While satisfaction with cost and fees is higher in 2011, compared with 2010, satisfaction with other areas of the guest experience—ranging from facilities and operations to services—has decreased. As a result, overall satisfaction averages 764 in 2011, down from 771 in 2010.

According to Greif, many chains are now making investments that were delayed due to the downturn in the economy, but which will take time to complete. Hoteliers are also being careful not to add more staff until they believe higher levels of demand will be sustained. At the same time, guests are 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 following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction within their respective segments:

Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (for a second consecutive year) Upper Upscale: Embassy Suites Hotels Upscale: Hotel Indigo Mid-Scale Full Service: Holiday Inn Mid-Scale Limited Service: Drury Inn & Suites (for a sixth consecutive year) Economy/Budget: Microtel Inns & Suites (for a 10th consecutive year) Extended Stay: Homewood Suites (for a second consecutive year)

The study finds that 18 percent 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 percent indicating experiencing the issue. However, only 43 percent of these guests indicate they reported the noise to hotel staff. In contrast, just 13 percent of guests say they experienced a problem with the Internet connection or speed at their hotel, but 60 percent 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 percent say their problem was resolved. Among guests who reported Internet usage problems, the resolution rate averages 39 percent.

Problem occurrence has a strong negative impact on overall hotel guest satisfaction. 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.

"Hotel guests should feel justified in reporting any problem that negatively impacts their satisfaction with a hotel," said Mark Schwartz, director of the global hospitality and travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Hotel staff and management will usually try their best to resolve these issues, particularly since they understand that solving a problem can result in a happier, more loyal customer."

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 Canada and the United States who stayed in a hotel in North America between May 2010 and May 2011.

(1) The upper upscale segment has been added to the study in 2011 to reflect standard segmentation used by the hotel industry.

Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking

J.D. Power Circle Ratings

(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

For Consumers

Luxury Segment

The Ritz-Carlton 858 5

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts 852 4

W Hotels 833 3

JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts 832 3

Luxury Segment Average 829 3

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts 822 3

Loews Hotels & Resorts 815 2

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts 809 2

Included in the segment, but not ranked due to small sample size are: Park Hyatt Hotels, Sofitel, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts and The Luxury Collection.

Upper Upscale Segment

Embassy Suites Hotels 817 5

Omni Hotels & Resorts 811 5

Marriott Hotels & Resorts 808 3

Westin Hotels & Resorts 801 3

Renaissance Hotels 799 3

Hilton Hotels & Resorts 796 3

Upper Upscale Segment Average 795 3

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts 788 3

DoubleTree by Hilton 786 3

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts 768 2

Millennium Hotels and Resorts 713 2

NOTE: Le Meridien is included in the segment, but not ranked due to small sample size.

Upscale Segment

Hotel Indigo 838 5

Hyatt Place 819 4

Hilton Garden Inn 817 4

SpringHill Suites 814 4

Aloft 800 3

Courtyard 798 3

Upscale Segment Average 794 3

Delta Hotels and Resorts 792 3

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts 791 3

Four Points by Sheraton 772 2

Radisson 761 2

Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts 760 2

NOTE: Cambria Suites is included in the segment, but not ranked due to small sample size.

Mid-Scale Full Service Segment

Holiday Inn 775 5

Best Western 765 4

Mid-Scale Full Service Segment Average 752 3

Ramada Inn/Plaza 725 2

Clarion 721 2

Quality 719 2

Howard Johnson Hotels/Plaza 691 2

NOTE: Wyndham Garden Hotels is Included in the segment, but not ranked due to small sample size.

Mid-Scale Limited Service Segment

Drury Inn & Suites 836 5

Hampton Inn/Suites 824 5

Wingate by Wyndham 817 4

Holiday Inn Express 797 3

Fairfield Inn & Suites 793 3

Country Inns & Suites 788 3

Mid-Scale Limited Service Segment Average 787 3

Comfort Suites 778 3

La Quinta 771 3

Sleep Inn 766 3

Comfort Inn 752 2

AmericInn 751 2

Baymont Inn & Suites 746 2

Ramada Limited 700 2

Economy/Budget Segment

Microtel Inns & Suites 740 5

Howard Johnson Express/Inns 704 4

Days Inn 701 4

Red Roof Inn 700 4

Super 8 685 3

Travelodge 679 3

Economy/Budget Segment Average 679 3

Econo Lodge 664 3

Motel 6 662 3

Americas Best Value Inn 643 2

Rodeway Inn 629 2

Knights Inn 615 2

Included in the segment, but not ranked due to small sample size are: America's Best Inns & Suites, Budget Host Inn and Country Hearth Inn & Suites.

Extended Stay Segment

Homewood Suites 821 5

Residence Inn 819 4

Staybridge Suites 817 4

TownePlace Suites 806 4

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham 792 3

Candlewood Suites 787 3

Extended Stay Segment Average 782 3

Extended StayAmerica 709 2

Homestead Studio Suites Hotels 703 2

Included in the segment, but not ranked due to small sample size are: Hyatt Summerfield Suites, MainStay Suites and Studio 6 Extended Stay.

Power Circle Ratings Legend:

5 – Among the best

4 – Better than most

3 – About average

2 – The rest

Autor: eTurboNews