Guest-satisfaction ratings for 2012 fell 7 points from a year earlier to 757 on a 1,000-point scale, according to J.D. Power and Associates' 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.

Ratings of check-in/checkout service and hotel facilities reached a six-year low, indicating that some hotels thinned out staffing and deferred some maintenance in order to pad their bottom line.

Guests pointed out per-night WiFi charges and generic resort fees as hotel practices that pulled satisfaction ratings down.

“Charging guests more and providing less is not a winning combination from a guest-satisfaction perspective, much less a winning business strategy,” said Stuart Greif, vice president of J.D. Power’s global travel and hospitality practice. “Hoteliers are falling further behind and need to catch up.”

Ritz-Carlton, Drury Hotels and Homewood Suites by Hilton maintained top spots in their categories.

Ritz-Carlton and Homewood Suites topped J.D. Power's luxury and extended-stay sectors, respectively, for the third straight year, while Drury made it seven straight years atop the midscale limited-service sector.

Omni supplanted Embassy Suites by Hilton as the highest-rated upper-upscale chain, while Hilton Garden Inn and SpringHill Suites by Marriott tied atop the upscale sector.

Holiday Inn repeated as the top midscale full-service chain, while Jameson Inn broke Microtel Inns & Suites' decade-long stronghold as the top economy/budget brand.

Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly. 

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