Hotel Online Press Releases
One in Three Travelers Do Not Recommend Their Travel Suppliers to Others
VANCOUVER, B.C., Oct. 2, 1997 One in three people you canvass for travel advice will pan the airline, hotel or car rental company they last used. So says a new UNIGLOBE Travel Satisfaction Index survey that reports 33% of travelers are not recommending their airline, hotel or car rental company to others.
UNIGLOBE Travel commissioned the study to explore travel experiences and attitudes about the services provided by travel companies through quantitative research and personal interviews. The index provides useful information from experienced travelers that can help others make travel decisions and show travel providers where they can improve services.
For instance, 35% of flyers would not recommend their airline, an issue that may somewhat relate to the heavy booking rates that swamped airlines this summer. Air travelers were least satisfied with seating (44%), food and beverage quality (45%), and check-in and boarding procedures (58%). At the same time, treatment by airline staff was rated satisfactory by 67% of those polled and sense of safety was rated satisfactory by 74%.
"Despite a lot of time and resources spent by airlines to create brand loyalty among travelers, the airlines are clearly not connecting with a large segment of the traveling public," said John Dean, Vice President of Industry Relations at UNIGLOBE Travel. "We find the level of dissatisfaction is surprisingly high, but this is not a case of finding the grumpiest travelers in North America. Of the three travel supply areas we studied, no respondent was negative about all of them. If they had a bad flight, for example, that experience didn't necessarily negatively impact their impression of the hotel."
Dean explains the survey - which was conducted prior to the recent round of airline commission cuts - shows how customers relate value to service. "Some airlines say they will dedicate the money they are taking from travel agents to upgrade equipment and services," he said. "Future surveys will show whether they have succeeded in improving satisfaction rates."
Word-of-mouth recommendations about airlines are based most heavily on how the travelers are treated by staff, then in order of decreasing importance, safety, value, check-in and boarding, seating, and food and beverage. The airlines that were rated as satisfying -- such as United and Continental -- succeeded in providing better food, check-in and boarding procedures, and seat comfort.
"There is substantive evidence that staff attitudes reflect the attitudes of airline management," said Dean. "To boost their confidence levels, travelers need visual clues like high staff energy levels, signs of on-going maintenance and efficiency as well as a good flow of information."
In the hotel sector, 34% of survey respondents did not recommend their hotels, with least satisfaction for restaurants and room service (48%) and amenities and health clubs (49%) contributing to the negative assessments. Hotel patrons expressed most satisfaction with the treatment by staff and hotel security (both 74%). Those who recommended their hotels showed higher satisfaction levels based most heavily on hotel security and sense of safety (91%), then in order of decreasing importance, treatment by staff (87%) and room quality (86%). Given the diverse nature of the hotel industry, no one specific company was identified as being particularly satisfying or dissatisfying.
"The hotel portion of the survey found that room prices as they relate to comfort and quality were key to determining whether a hotel was recommended or not," said Dean. "If travelers do not see a strong correlation between price and what the hotel delivers, the hotel will get a very poor rating, even if it excels in other areas."
For the car rental companies, 35% of all survey respondents would not recommend their provider to others with the cost of extras in rentals (60%) contributing most to dissatisfaction. Car rental companies recommendations are based most heavily on the quality and condition of the car (78%), treatment by staff (72%) and convenience (71%). The survey indicates that Hertz and Budget ranked highest in generating customer satisfaction. "With car rental companies, satisfaction is directly linked with fast, courteous service," said Dean. "Travelers will only recommend car rental companies that are successful in getting customers on the road quickly and hassle-free."
Dean says that UNIGLOBE Travel, as a major retail travel booking company, will work with its main suppliers to ensure they try to implement the necessary changes identified with the survey. "This is a two-way street," he explained. "If the airlines, hotels and car rental companies are not prepared to answer the needs of consumers, then we are not going to be able to book as much business with them. We won't be able to recommend them or customers will be demanding other suppliers until they find one they like. However, as travel agents we can work to manage travelers' expectations better so they know what they are buying and, therefore, have a better traveling experience. " The UNIGLOBE Travel satisfaction survey was conducted this past summer. Levels of satisfaction can be considered accurate to within +/- 4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
UNIGLOBE Travel, as the world's largest single-brand travel franchise company, has more than 1,000 locations in 13 countries including U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and the U.K. It was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
Source: UNIGLOBE Travel
Stephen Lewis, Vice President, Corporate Communications of Uniglobe Travel (International) Inc.