“As hoteliers experiment with automated methods of check-in and check-out that tend to reduce the number of human touch points, it is important that they use the additional staff time gained to offer a warmer, more personalized experience for their guests,” said Ramez Faza, senior manager of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power. “Hotels should never underestimate the power of the human element. Whether it’s assisting a guest with a special request or a friendly greeting from staff members in the hallway, the people aspect plays a key role in guest satisfaction and loyalty.”
While Internet usage during a hotel stay continues to steadily increase, it remains the top problem experienced by guests. Among guests who experienced a problem during their hotel stay, 31 percent had an issue with their Internet service in terms of connection and/or speed. Interestingly, overall satisfaction among guests who experienced difficulties connecting to the Internet is 133 points lower than among those who did not have problems, whether Internet access was included in the room rate or not.
The study also finds that when guests choose a hotel primarily because of price, satisfaction is significantly lower than when they choose a hotel based on other criteria. Among the most satisfied guests overall are the 7 percent categorized in the study as scrutinizers—or those who seek out information through online hotel review sites and use it as the basis for their booking—at 114 points above industry average.
“In many cases, hotel review sites play a key role in influencing guests to select one property over another, making them a powerful tool,” said Garlick. “Before these sites became mainstream, guests tended to choose a property based on price, previous experiences or location. But now, armed with so much more detailed information from fellow travelers, guests can make more informed choices that ultimately result in more realistic expectations about the property. This can go a long way toward satisfaction with their stay.”
The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:
Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (for a fourth consecutive year)
Upper Upscale: Kimpton Hotels
Upscale: Hyatt Place
Midscale Full Service: Holiday Inn (for a third consecutive year)
Midscale: Drury Hotels (for an eighth consecutive year)
Economy/Budget: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham
Upper Extended Stay: Homewood Suites Extended Stay: TownePlace Suites