Hotel guest satisfaction plateaus as perks become standard, says J.D. Power

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The hotel industry may be reaching a plateau in customer satisfaction as guests increasingly expect free amenities like Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking, once considered special perks, says J.D. Power.

According to the J.D. Power 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, overall satisfaction did increase this year by two points to 806, but it was a smaller increase than in previous years. The study calculates satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale.

Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice leader at J.D. Power, noted that perks have become standard.

“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,” he said.

According to the study, the most important amenities to guests are free Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking. “Luxurious bedding and linens” was named as the fourth most important amenity, one J.D. Power said is becoming increasingly important.

The study also found that members of hotel rewards programs have higher satisfaction than non-members, and those who are members tend to be older. Sixty-six percent of baby boomers are hotel rewards members; among generation X, that decreases to 56%, and further decreases to 39% among millennials.

J.D. Power’s annual study measures satisfaction in eight segments: luxury, upper-upscale, upscale, upper-midscale, midscale, economy/budget, upper extended stay and extended stay. It examines seven measures: reservation, check-in/check-out, guest room, food and beverage, hotel services, hotel facilities, and cost and fees.

Satisfaction in most of those eight segments remained flat with the exception of luxury, which saw a 12-point improvement this year. According to J.D. Power, that can be attributed to that segment’s 20-point improvement in the cost-and-fees measure.

By segment, the following hotel brands were ranked highest in guest satisfaction: Ritz-Carlton, luxury; Omni Hotels & Resorts, upper-upscale; Hilton Garden Inn, upscale; Drury Hotels, upper-midscale; Wingate by Wyndham, midscale; Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, economy/budget; Hyatt House, upper extended stay; and Home2 Suites by Hilton, extended stay.

This year’s study gathered responses from over 63,000 hotel guests in the U.S. and Canada who stayed at a hotel in North America from May 2015 to May 2016. Responses were gathered between June 2015 and May 2016.

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