Hotel guest satisfaction has risen to a record high, while the number of guests experiencing problems during their stay has dropped significantly, according to the J.D. Power “2015 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study,” released yesterday.
The study measures overall guest satisfaction across eight hotel segments. Seven key factors are examined in each segment to determine overall satisfaction: reservation; check-in/check-out; guestroom; food and beverage; hotel services; hotel facilities; and cost and fees. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.
Overall satisfaction in 2015 reached an all-time high with a score of 804, up 20 points from 2014. This is the first time satisfaction has surpassed the 800-point mark. The record-high performance is driven by a significant 20 per cent reduction from 2014 in the number of guests who report experiencing a problem during their stay, the lowest incidence since 2006. Staff interactions with guests have a great impact on mitigating problems. There is a 50 per cent reduction in the average number of problems experienced when staff members greet guests with a smile “all the time,” compared to when guests are only greeted with a smile “sometimes.”
While service recovery is often emphasized as a strategy to regain guest loyalty, it’s even more important to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, which is underscored by a 310-point satisfaction gap between guests who say they “strongly agree” that the hotel staff anticipated their needs and those who “strongly disagree” with this statement (912 versus 602, respectively).
“Hotels that proactively meet guest needs have the ability to create a positive guest experience,” said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “While service recovery is extremely important in the hotel industry, it’s most effective when the entire guest experience is a positive one. Hotel staff members need to maintain a proper balance between proactively addressing needs and responding to problems effectively. Doing so can help guests feel good about their selection of the hotel brand and increase the likelihood they will return for another stay or recommend it to others.” The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:
- Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton
- Upper Upscale: Omni Hotels & Resorts
- Upscale: Hyatt Place
- Upper Mid-scale: Drury Hotels (previously ranked highest in the mid-scale segment for nine consecutive years)
- Mid-scale: Wingate by Wyndham
- Economy/Budget: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham (for a third consecutive year)
- Upper Extended-Stay: Homewood Suites by Hilton (for a third consecutive year)
- Extended-Stay: Candlewood Suites (for a second consecutive year)
The “2015 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study” is based on responses gathered between June 2014 and May 2015 from more than 62,000 guests in Canada and the United States who stayed at a hotel in North America between May 2014 and May 2015.