Guest satisfaction reaches banner highs

Occupancy and rates aren't the only industry numbers climbing high. J.D. Power and Associates' 19th annual survey of North American hotel guests shows that guest satisfaction in hospitality reached a score of 804 in 2015, a 20-percent increase over 2014. 

This high satisfaction score represents the first time satisfaction rose above the 800-point mark since the 1,000-point scale was instituted. USA Today reported that the survey found a 20-percent reduction in the number of guests reporting problems during their stay. This is the lowest rate for complaints since 2006.

The survey gathered data from over 62,000 guests between June 2014 and May 2015. It checked for factors including reservations and the check-in/check-out experience, food-and-beverage options, hotel services and facilities and costs and fees. Hotels of every segment were included in the survey.

Another key finding in the results showed that employee demeanor had a large impact on guest satisfaction, with problems experienced by guests dropping 50 percent when a staff member greeted guests with a smile "all the time" as compared to "sometimes." Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power, told USA Today that guests who believe hotel employees are anticipating their needs had a satisfaction rate of 912, compared to a rate of 602 for guests who felt they were being neglected.

"Hotels that proactively meet guest needs have the ability to create a positive guest experience," Garlick told USA Today. "Hotel staff members need to maintain a proper balance between proactively addressing needs and responding to problems effectively. Doing so can help guests feel good about their selection of the hotel brand and increase the likelihood they will return for another stay or recommend it to others."

The Los Angeles Times reported that, according to the survey, guests who based their purchase on hotel prices were less satisfied when compared to those who bought based on their needs and interests. Price-based buyers scored 740 on the satisfaction scale -- the lowest of all groups.

Here is a full list of the brands with the highest guest satisfaction scores by category: 

  • Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton
  • Upper Upscale: Omni Hotels & Resorts
  • Upscale: Hyatt Place
  • Upper Midscale: Drury Hotels (previously the nine-year winner in the midscale category)
  • Midscale: Wingate by Wyndham
  • Economy/Budget: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham (third year in a row)
  • Upper Extended Stay: Homewood Suites by Hilton (third year in a row)
  • Extended Stay: Candlewood Suites (second year in a row)
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