As hotel brands contend with the challenge of trying to cut costs during economically difficult times while still attempting to meet high customer expectations, overall satisfaction with hotels is down notably in 2008, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index StudySM.
Now in its 12th year, the study 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.
Four of the six segments—upscale; mid-scale full service; mid-scale limited service; and economy/budget— decline in overall satisfaction, compared with 2007. In particular, overall satisfaction with the economy/budget segment declines significantly, posting the largest year-over-year decrease of any segment since the inception of the study. Among economy/budget properties, the largest declines in satisfaction occur in the guest room and food and beverage measures.
The study finds that although satisfaction is down overall, the majority of hotel brands that rank highest in their respective segments in 2008 have maintained consistently high levels of customer satisfaction since 2007. Five of six brands receiving awards in 2008 have ranked highest in their segment for at least two consecutive years.
The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction within their respective segments:
- Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (for a second consecutive year)
- Upscale: Embassy Suites Hotels (for a second consecutive year)
- Mid-Scale Full Service: Hyatt Place
- Mid-Scale Limited Service: Drury Inn & Suites (for a third consecutive year)
- Economy/Budget: Microtel Inns & Suites (for a seventh consecutive year)
- Extended Stay: Homewood Suites (for a second consecutive year)
The study finds that problems with hotel/room maintenance are more common in 2008, compared with 2007, with this issue being one of the top five most frequently reported by guests across all segments. In the extended stay segment, Internet usage (particularly connection and speed) makes the list of the top five problems for the first time in 2008.
Among luxury hotel guests, parking issues emerge within the top five most frequently reported problems for the first time.
The study also includes the following key findings:
- Guest awareness of property-initiated “green” programs declines significantly in 2008, with 57 percent of guests stating that they were aware that their hotel offered environmentally friendly conservation programs, compared with 63 percent in 2007.
- Nearly nine of 10 guests (89%) say they prefer a smoke-free hotel environment in 2008, compared with 79 percent in 2006.
- The proportion of hotel guests making reservations online continues to increase steadily—52 percent of guests made their reservations online in 2008, compared with 44 percent in 2007.
The 2008 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses gathered between June 2007 and June 2008 from more than 53,000 guests who stayed in a hotel between May 2007 and June 2008.
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