Hotel Guest Satisfaction Dropping, According To J.D. Power Survey
AUGUST 11, 2008 -- Hotel guest satisfaction is slipping, although brands traditionally rated highest are maintaining their popularity, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.
The study, released July 29 and in its 12th year, is based on responses from more than 53,000 guests over the past 12 months. Hotels are rated on seven measures: reservations, checkin and checkout, guest rooms, food and beverage service, hotel services, hotel facilities and costs and fees.
Compared with the 2007 study, overall satisfaction dropped in every tier except luxury and extended stay. The drop was sharpest in the economy/budget tier, which had the highest year-over-year fall in the study´s history, marred by issues with guest rooms and food offerings.
Marriott International´s Ritz-Carlton brand rated highest in the luxury tier, followed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, echoing the opinion of travel buyers in Business Travel News´ 2008 U.S. Hotel Chain Survey. Both brands tied for the top score in BTN´s survey. This is Ritz-Carlton´s second year to top the tier in the J.D. Power survey.
The biggest complaint among luxury guests is parking fees, according to the survey. "While guests who visit luxury hotels tend to be somewhat more immune to price pressures, parking fees are becoming more commonplace and an increasing source of dissatisfaction," said J.D. Power executive director Linda Hirneise in a statement.
Embassy Suites Hotels, a Hilton Hotels Corp. brand, was the highest-rated upscale brand. Guests rated the budding Hyatt Place as the top in the midprice full-service tier, and Drury Inn & Suites topped the midprice limited-service tier, the third year in a row it has done so.
As in BTN´s survey, Hilton´s Homewood Suites ranked highest in the extended stay category. Travelers´ biggest issue in the segment was Internet use at properties.
For the seventh year in a row, guests gave top economy/budget rankings to Microtel Inns & Suites. Overall scores in the tier slipped due to difficulty meeting customer demands for bedding, business amenities and food choices, Hirneise said.
"While many economy and budget brands had begun implementing new product and food and beverage initiatives in the past few years," Hirneise said, "tight economic times may have forced these properties to slow their progress."