News for the Hospitality Executive
|WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif,
July 25, 2012 -- While the hotel
industry continues to gradually recover from the economic downturn,
guest satisfaction with the underlying hotel experience continues to
deteriorate as hoteliers fall further behind guest expectations,
according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 North America Hotel
Guest Satisfaction Index StudySM released today.
Now in its 16th 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.
Overall guest satisfaction has declined to 757 on a 1,000-point scale, down 7 index points from 2011. However, guest satisfaction with the underlying experience has deteriorated much more than this score suggests, as relatively high levels of satisfaction with cost and fees mask declines in other areas of the guest experience. Satisfaction with check-in/check-out; food and beverage; hotel services; and hotel facilities are at new lows since the 2006 study and satisfaction with guest room has declined within one point of its lowest level in the past seven years.
"As the industry continues to recover and rates increase, hoteliers need to get back to the fundamentals and improve the overall guest experience," said Stuart Greif, vice president and general manager of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Charging guests more and providing less is not a winning combination from a guest satisfaction perspective, much less a winning business strategy. In short, hoteliers are falling further behind and need to catch up."
The Staff Opinion Model, a new portion of the 2012 study, examines guest satisfaction with hotel staff by staff type across the guest experience. Overall, 56 percent of hotel guests have a high opinion of staff; 34 percent have an average opinion; and 10 percent have a low opinion of staff. Satisfaction is significantly higher among guests with a high opinion of hotel staff (average of 841 index points), compared with those with an average (673) or low (570) opinion of staff.
"Advocacy and loyalty rates are also much higher among guests with a high opinion of the hotel staff. These guests are also more likely to use various hotel services, such as eating at a hotel restaurant," said Jessica McGregor, senior manager of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "A friendly, service-oriented staff helps drive top- and bottom-line financial performance, not just satisfaction, by also generating greater repeat business and positive word of mouth."
Yet it's not just room rates that affect customer satisfaction with costs and fees; as more than one-half of guests use the Internet during their hotel stay, charges for access can drag down satisfaction. The study finds that 55 percent of hotel guests use the Internet during their hotel stay—an increase from 20 percent in 2006—and 87 percent use Wi-Fi to connect. Among those that use the Internet, only 11 percent are charged an additional fee to connect. Yet those that were charged a fee have an average costs and fees satisfaction score of 688, 76 index points lower than those that were not charged a fee or the fee was part of the room rate. Complimentary Internet access is more likely included at mid-scale limited service, mid-scale full service, upscale, and economy/budget hotels.
"Guests enjoy Wi-Fi for free in many places outside of their hotel experience, such as in coffee shops, restaurants and other locations, setting expectations against which hotels are compared," said McGregor. "When guests learn they have to pay for Internet or when connection speeds are slow at a hotel, they are much more dissatisfied than they were in the past"
Research conducted by J.D. Power's Consumer Insight & Strategy Group to track social media activity finds that:
The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction within their respective segments:
The study also examines how guests book their hotel stay. Guests who book through an online travel agency (OTA) tend to be more price sensitive; have lower levels of satisfaction with their stay; are less loyal to hotel brands; and tend to report more problems, compared with guests who book through the hotel website or call the hotel or hotel brand directly. Satisfaction among guests who book through the hotel brand website or call directly averages 774 and 768, respectively, compared with guests who book through an independent website or online travel agency (OTA), 729.
"There will always be some guests for whom price sensitivity trumps all else and who will use independent websites or OTAs to make their reservation," said Ramez Faza, senior manager of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "However, independent website and OTA customers still represent an opportunity for hoteliers. Once these guests are at a hotel, there is the opportunity for the hotel to provide an outstanding experience and create reasons for them to return to the brand and book through its channels for future stays."
For hotel guests, J.D. Power and Associates offers the following tips:
The 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses gathered between August 2011 and May 2012 from more than 61,700 guests from the United States and Canada who stayed in a hotel in North America between June 2011 and May 2012.
Power Circle Ratings Legend:
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No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate
 North America hotel guest social media research includes information gathered online from July 2011 through May 2012, and consisted of more than 86,000 online communications across various social media.
J.D. Power and Associates
Guest Satisfaction With Costs and Fees Improves From 2010, Despite a
Decline in Overall Satisfaction; The Ritz-Carlton, Embassy Suites
Hotels, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Drury Inn & Suites, Microtel
Inns & Suites and Homewood Suites Rank Highest in Customer
Satisfaction / J.D. Power and Associates / July 2011
Industry Begins to Rebound from Downturn, Satisfaction with Hotels
Increases Notably; The Ritz-Carlton, Omni Hotels, Drury Inn &
Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Microtel Inns &
Suites Rank Highest in Customer Satisfaction / J.D. Power and Associates
/ July 2010
|Complete Rankings for Customer Satisfaction Across Six Hotel Segments; Despite Industry Downturn, Satisfaction With Hotels Increases According to J.D. Power and Associates / July 2009|
|Top Customer Satisfaction Rankings Reported by J.D. Power - The Ritz-Carlton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hyatt Place, Drury Inn & Suites, Microtel Inns & Suites and Homewood Suites; Hotel Guests Are Considerably Less Satisfied in 2008 / July 2008|