COSTA MESA, Calif. — According to the 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study released yesterday by J.D. Power, hotel amenities that used to be considered perks have become standard expectations.
The study, based on responses gathered between June 2015 and May 2016 from more than 63,000 guests in Canada and the U.S., showed the industry may be reaching a customer-satisfaction plateau. Although overall satisfaction has improved for the fourth consecutive year, increasing by two points from 2015, this represents a much smaller increase than in recent years.
“Customers have responded well to the enhanced offerings provided by some hotel brands to create value, but as those perks become standard, customers are quick to ask, ‘What have you done for me lately?’” says Rick Garlick, Global Travel and Hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “When guests no longer see added value in the quality of amenities they receive, the only option to truly differentiate a brand is to develop a strong service culture that makes guests feel special and appreciated.”
While satisfaction in most segments has remained flat, the luxury segment has improved by 12 points overall. “Despite luxury hotels typically being the most expensive, this segment has been able to show guests they’re providing additional value, which is clearly resonating,” says Garlick.
The study also finds that while satisfaction is higher among members of hotel rewards programs, younger guests are less likely to be members than older guests. Only 39 per cent of Gen Y guests belong to a rewards program, compared to 56 per cent of Gen X and 66 per cent of Boomer guests. In every generational group, customer satisfaction is significantly higher among guests who are rewards program members.
“We’re finding every succeeding generation seems to be less likely to be a member of a hotel rewards program than the one before,” says Garlick. “As we’ve seen across numerous industries J.D. Power tracks, younger guests in particular are especially driven by the value proposition, underscoring the importance for hotel brands to make a stronger case for the benefits of loyalty to these travellers.”
Some other key findings include:
Online/Mobile check-in: Only three per cent of guests take advantage of online or mobile check-in, though check-in/check-out satisfaction is highest among these guests than among those who used any other method
Most important amenities: The three most important amenities cited by guests are free Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking. In terms of hotels providing these amenities, 71 per cent of guests say they received complimentary Wi-Fi; 56 per cent received complimentary breakfast; and 61 per cent received free parking. Luxurious bedding and linens, the fourth-most important amenity, is becoming increasingly important; however, only 37 per cent of guests say this was offered in their room
Social media feedback: Among guests who posted something about their stay on social media, 75 per cent of the posts were positive, compared with 13 per cent that were negative. Overall satisfaction is 40 points higher among guests who post comments to social media
The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:
- Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (for a second consecutive year)
- Upper Upscale: Omni Hotels & Resorts (for a second consecutive year)
- Upscale: Hilton Garden Inn
- Upper Midscale: Drury Hotels (for 11 consecutive years)
- Midscale: Wingate by Wyndham (for a second consecutive year)
- Economy/Budget: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham (for a fourth consecutive year)
- Upper Extended Stay: Hyatt House
- Extended Stay: Home2 Suites by Hilton
The study, now in its 20th year, measures overall guest satisfaction across eight hotel segments: luxury; upper upscale; upscale; upper midscale; midscale; economy/budget; upper extended stay; and extended stay. Seven key measures 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.
For more information about the 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, visit here.