Microtel Inns & Suites, Omni Hotels and Residence Inn
Top Customer Satisfaction Rankings
The J.D. Power and Associates 2006 North America
Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study
|WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., July 25, 2006 - Offering a completely smoke-free
environment is poised to become the latest differentiator in the competitive
hotel industry, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 North America
Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study(SM) released today.
The study finds that 79 percent of hotel guests prefer a smoke-free environment that exceeds the boundaries of their guest room. While guests of luxury hotels (Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, etc.) are most likely to prefer a non-smoking environment, upscale hotels (Hilton, Westin, Marriott, etc.) have been quicker to adopt this policy. Marriott International Inc., for example, recently announced that all of its lodging brands in the United States and Canada will be 100 percent smoke-free starting in September, and Westin Hotels & Resorts have been 100 percent smoke-free since earlier this year.
"What was once a differentiator is now expected by consumers," said Linda Hirneise, executive director of the travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "We saw this in the case of branded premium beds and online check-in/check-out, where one hotel introduced the concept and others followed suit. We could see the same kind of trend with the issue of smoking. Banning smoking is increasingly commonplace at restaurants across the country, and is gaining a lot of public support; thus, doing so in hotels is a natural next step. However, while going smoke-free could be a powerful marketing strategy, at the end of the day, the key differentiator in a guest experience remains the quality of service."
The study, now in its 10th year, 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.
Overall hotel satisfaction has increased in five of six segments in 2006, with only the luxury segment declining slightly in satisfaction versus 2005. This may be a result of many hotel brands investing in massive renovations and bundling more amenities and services as a way of enhancing the overall guest experience.
The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction within their respective segments:
"Although there is a lot of optimism surrounding the hotel industry with respect to increased occupancy and development, several factors are still taking a toll on the industry," said Hirneise. "Economic forces such as soaring gas prices and increased cost of living are taking their toll on discretionary income. More than ever, travelers are looking for the best value for their money and are becoming more conscious of what each hotel offers as far as complimentary services and amenities when deciding where to stay."
The amenities that guests most often mention as "must haves" across the various segments include: high-speed Internet access, pillow-top mattresses, complimentary breakfast, in-room coffee/tea maker and a 27-inch or larger television. The quality of the high-speed Internet access, in particular, can have a strong impact on a guest's likelihood to return to the property and the brand. Fourteen percent of guests experienced difficulties connecting to the Internet during their most recent hotel stay.
"Customers are extremely pleased with the availability of high-speed Internet access, but it absolutely has to work properly," said Hirneise. "Otherwise, satisfaction declines significantly, and it ends up hurting a brand more than helping."
The study also finds that 43 percent of guests book their hotel reservations on the Internet -- up from 41 percent in 2005. Guests are twice as likely to book their reservation through a hotel brand Web site (28%) compared to an independent travel Web site (15%).
The 2006 North America Guest Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses from 42,211 guests who stayed in a hotel between January and June 2006.
Luxury Segment Overall Satisfaction Index
Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts, Mandarin Oriental, Millennium Hotels and Resorts,
Park Hyatt Hotels, Sofitel, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts.
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
Mid-Scale Full Service Segment Overall Satisfaction Index
Novotel, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Garden Hotels.
Mid-Scale Limited Service Segment Overall Satisfaction Index
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
Budget Host Inn and Country Hearth Inn.
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 290 offices in 38 countries. Sales in 2005 were $6.0 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.
|Also See:||J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Hotel Guest Satisfaction is Up, Despite Rising Room Rates and Increased Occupancies; Hilton Brands Receive Top Rankings in Three Out of Six Segments / July 2005|
|The 2004 North America Guest Satisfaction Index Study; Enhanced Beds Make Strong Impact on Satisfaction / J.D. Power and Associates / July 2004|