Hotel Online  Special Report
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  Drury Inn & Suites, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn,
Microtel Inns & Suites, Omni Hotels and Residence Inn
Top Customer Satisfaction Rankings
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The J.D. Power and Associates 2006 North America
Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study
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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:

  • Luxury: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts 
  • Upscale: Omni Hotels 
  • Mid-Scale Full Service: Hilton Garden Inn 
  • Mid-Scale Limited Service: Drury Inn & Suites 
  • Economy/Budget: Microtel Inns & Suites 
  • Extended Stay: Residence Inn
The study finds that the costs and fees factor has significantly increased in importance to hotel guests, becoming either the most or second-most-important influencer of overall satisfaction across all six segments. At the same time, satisfaction with this factor has also declined significantly across several brands.

"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
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts 859
The Ritz-Carlton 826
JW Marriott 824
Luxury Segment Average 811
Loews Hotels 809
W Hotels 801
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts 795
Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts 755
NOTE: Included in the study but not ranked due to insufficient sample size: 
Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts, Mandarin Oriental, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, 
Park Hyatt Hotels, Sofitel, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts.
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Upscale Segment Overall Satisfaction Index
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
Omni Hotels 809
Embassy Suites Hotels  807
Renaissance Hotels & Resorts 804
Marriott Hotels & Resorts  803
Westin Hotels & Resorts 794
Hilton Hotels 793
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts 789
Upscale Segment Average 788
Doubletree 775
Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts 772
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts 765
Radisson Hotels & Resorts 765
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts 758
Delta Hotels  755
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Mid-Scale Full Service Segment Overall Satisfaction Index
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

Hilton Garden Inn 804
Courtyard 791
Four Points by Sheraton 750
Holiday Inn 749
Mid-Scale Full Service Segment Average 746
Best Western 743
Quality 732
Clarion 722
Ramada Inn 712
Ramada Plaza 709
Howard Johnson Hotels 685
NOTE: Included in the study but not ranked due to insufficient sample size: Howard Johnson Plaza, 
Novotel, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Garden Hotels.

Mid-Scale Limited Service Segment Overall Satisfaction Index
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

Drury Inn & Suites 816
Wingate Inn 814
Hampton Inn/Suites 811
SpringHill Suites 807
Country Inns & Suites 792
Fairfield Inn 787
AmeriSuites 784
Holiday Inn Express 780
Mid-Scale Limited Service Average 772
Baymont Inns & Suites 769
Comfort Suites 768
La Quinta 761
AmericInn 760
Sleep Inn 748
AmeriHost Inn & Suites 740
Comfort Inn 734
Ramada Limited 719

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Economy/Budget Segment Overall Satisfaction Index
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
Microtel Inns & Suites 746 746
Red Roof Inn 719 719
Howard Johnson Express 702 702
Super 8 Motel 702 702
Days Inn 691 691
Economy/Budget Segment Average 690 690
Howard Johnson Inns 683 683
Motel 6 679 679
Travelodge 678 678
America's Best Inns & Suites 664 664
Americas Best Value Inn 662 662
Econo Lodge 662 662
Knights Inn 639 639
Rodeway Inn 624 624
NOTE: Included in the study but not ranked due to insufficient sample size: 
Budget Host Inn and Country Hearth Inn.
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Extended Stay Segment Overall Satisfaction Index
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
Residence Inn 817
Homewood Suites 811
Staybridge Suites 809
TownePlace Suites 805
Candlewood Suites 788
Extended Stay Segment Average 786
Hawthorn Suites 763
Extended StayAmerica 744
Homestead Studio Suites Hotels 744

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/.

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Contact:

John Tews
J.D. Power and Associates
Troy, Mich. 
(248) 312-4119
john.tews@jdpa.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

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