J.D. Power study finds sleep quality key to guest satisfaction

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis renovates Club Lounge, select accommodations.
The study found The Ritz-Carlton brand ranked highest in guest satisfaction for the luxury segment. Photo credit: The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis

According to J.D. Power’s 2019 "North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study," quality of sleep ranks as one of the most important components of a guest’s experience. The report found that despite the notable impact a better-than-expected sleep can have on guest satisfaction, less than a third of guests report having such an experience.

On a 1,000-point scale, the study claims overall satisfaction scores increased 114 points when guests reported a better-than-expected quality of sleep. Of those who do experience this—only 29 percent of guests—78 percent said they “definitely will” return to that property and 71 percent said they “definitely will” return to that brand.

The report found top contributors to quality sleep were the comfort of the bed, the quietness of the room, the comfort/quality of pillows, room temperature and the comfort/quality of linens. It also noted hotels received higher scores when they offered beyond-the-basics items like white noise/sound machines, earplugs, robe/slippers and authentic local décor. As would be expected, higher-scale hotels correlated with higher rates of better-than-expected sleep, with luxury hotels leading at 42 percent and economy at the bottom with 23 percent.

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The study also noted the importance of focusing on guests’ check-in experiences. Key elements for this process included: efficiency, it should ideally take five minutes or less; accuracy; and offering a warm welcome. When one of these criteria was unmet, satisfaction scores fell as much as 100 points.

Of the brands studied, The Ritz-Carlton received the highest score, 881, on J.D. Power’s 1,000-point scale. Drury Hotels—in the upper-midscale segment—received the second highest score of all the brands.

The study analyzed responses to more than 150 questions and included 85 brands across six market segments. It based its results on the responses of approximately 44,890 guests who stayed at a hotel between June 2018 and May 2019.

Breakdown by Segment

The following hotel brands ranked highest in guest satisfaction in their segment:

  • Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (its fifth consecutive year)
  • Upper-upscale: Hard Rock Hotel
  • Upscale: Best Western Premier
  • Upper-midscale: Drury Hotels (its 14th consecutive year)
  • Midscale: Wingate by Wyndham (its fifth consecutive year)
  • Economy: Microtel by Wyndham (its second consecutive year)
J.D. Power gave the luxury segment an average score of 861. Seven brands came in at or above this number: The Ritz-Carlton (881), Loews Hotels (868), Four Seasons (866), Park Hyatt (866), Fairmont (864), Grand Hyatt (861) and JW Marriott (861).

The upper-upscale segment received an average score of 847. Nine brands met or surpassed this number: Hard Rock Hotel (866), Gaylord Hotels (864), Marriott (860), Kimpton (858), Renaissance Hotels (855), Hilton (849), Hyatt Regency (848), Autograph Collection (847) and Embassy Suites (847). Of these, both Hard Rock Hotel and Gaylord Hotels surpassed the average score in the luxury segment.

In the upscale segment, which received an overall score of 840, 11 brands came in above average, including eight who scored higher than the upper-upscale average: Best Western Premier (862), Cambria Hotels & Suites (857), AC Hotels by Marriott (855), Hilton Garden Inn (853), Hyatt House (851), aloft Hotels (849), Hyatt Place (849) and SpringHill Suites by Marriott (849).

The J.D. Power report gave the upper-midscale segment an average score of 835. Of the six brands that beat this number, five also surpassed the upscale average: Drury Hotels (876), Hampton by Hilton (849), Home2 Suites by Hilton (848), Fairfield Inn & Suites (847) and TownePlace Suites by Marriott (846).

The report found a large gap between the upper-midscale and midscale segments. Seven brands surpassed the midscale average of 810. Two brands—Wingate by Wyndham (846) and Candlewood Suites (842)—managed to come in above the average for not just the midscale segment, but also the upper-midscale and upscale segments.

Far below midscale, the economy segment received an average score of 756. Of these brands, only one—Microtel by Wyndham (797)—surpassed a brand from a higher segment.

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