Hotel Online Special Report
Ritz-Carlton Ranks Above the Rest in J.D. Power and Associates Second Annual Meeting Planner Study 
for Hotel Industry
AGOURA HILLS, Calif., July 13, 1998 -  The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company ranks above its peers according to the second annual J.D. Power and Associates Meeting Planner Satisfaction Study. Ritz-Carlton, which was the top-ranked hotel chain in last year's study, ranks highest in each of the four phases of a meeting planner's experience: Sales process, Pre-Event planning, Event and Post-Event follow-up. Of special significance is Ritz-Carlton's attention to meeting planning details, understanding of customer requirements and high frequency of follow-up communications with meeting planners. These factors generally result in fewer event difficulties and surprises.

The study results were released Sunday, July 12, during Meeting Professionals International 1998 Professional Education Conference-North America in San Diego, Calif. Levels of meeting planner satisfaction with the entire hotel industry improved over last year's study results as meeting planners will generate an estimated $82 billion in business over the next year on meetings and events. In addition to Ritz-Carlton, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels and Sheraton Hotels and Resorts recorded improvement in meeting-planner satisfaction at higher levels than industry average.

"Today's meeting planners give repeat business to chains that deliver the highest levels of satisfaction," said Darlene Cassio, account director of the Travel Practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Overall, these chains understand their customers' needs, have a spirit of teamwork and deliver exceptional service to meeting planners."

According to the study, the following factors are key elements in satisfying meeting planners' expectations:

Cooperation: Hotel staff and meeting planners work together as a team to ensure no meeting or event obstacles.
Ask the right questions: Sales and convention services staff ask pertinent questions, listen carefully to meeting planner needs and provide thorough communications to hotel staff for implementation.
Avoid event problems: Proper scheduling requirements, correct setup and efficient and accurate billing.
Post-event follow-up: Effective communications between the meeting planner and the hotel contact after the meeting or event to discuss positive and negative aspects and, if necessary, corrective action.

The J.D. Power and Associates 1998 Meeting Planner Satisfaction Study(SM) is funded independently by J.D. Power and Associates, an unbiased third party. The sample base includes professional meeting planners, executives, assistants and secretarial planners with an average of 10.2 years planning experience per respondent. On average, respondents planned 30 annual meetings at an average cost of $235,000 each. Overall, 2,095 meeting planners responded to the study.

J.D. Power and Associates is an international firm best known for its marketing information services in key business sectors including market research, forecasting and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on actual customer responses from over one million consumers annually. Headquartered in Agoura Hills, Calif., the firm also has U.S. offices in Torrance, Calif.; Michigan; and Connecticut. International locations include Japan, Korea, United Kingdom, Canada and Brazil. J.D. Power and Associates can be accessed through the World Wide Web at Media e-mail contact: [email protected] This press release is provided for editorial use only. No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release or J.D. Power and Associates survey results without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates.

Kristina L. Ferrin or John P. Pepitone 
both of J.D. Power and Associates 818-889-6330
Also See:
Renaissance Achieves Highest Ranking in Frequent Flyer Magazine / J.D. Power and Associates 1998 Domestic Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study / Jan 1998 

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