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Study Finds Hotel Guests Less Satisfied with Service

2011 Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index StudyAccording to the recent 2011 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study from JD Power and Associates, there has been an overall fall in hotel satisfaction for holidaymakers, who have rising expectations. Compared to last year, guests are less happy with hotel services and facilities. Based on the over 61,300 people who stayed at a North American hotel between May 2010 and May 2011, the study found that 18% of guests reported experiencing a problem during their hotel visit. This isn’t surprising, as some holidaymakers will find something annoying or things can go wrong at a hotel.

There are some things that they find more tolerable than others. Noise is the most common issue experienced, with 16% of guests being bothered. However, only 43% of them said they complained to hotel staff about it. Aside from this, 13% said they experienced an issue with their hotel’s internet connection or speed, and 60% complained about it.

JD Power and Associates director of the global hospitality and travel practice Mark Schwartz said that hotel guests should report any problem to hotel staff if it negatively impacts their satisfaction with the venue. Hotel management and staff will usually do what they can to resolve problems – especially since they understand that they could gain a happier and more loyal customer by doing so.

JD Power and Associates vice president Stuart Greif noted that some of the benefits enjoyed by guests during the period of lower occupancy has declined as occupancy increases. Check-in lines are longer now, guests may not be able to get nicer room upgrades like they use to, and it’s a little harder to find an open treadmill at the gym in the morning, he explained.

Despite the fall in satisfaction regarding hotel services and facilities, guests are surprisingly more satisfied with the costs and fees associated with hotels, even though rates have been increasing. Greif said that, unlike airlines, hoteliers have been more careful and modest about raising room prices. However, the study suggests that the modesty of hoteliers regarding room rates may be a bad thing. Greif says that prices are still less than what guests expect them to be, considering the economy’s slight recovery. And this is despite prices being higher than last year, so because of this, there is room for rates to continue increasing.

So how did hotel brands rank in the survey for overall satisfaction? Ritz-Carlton was ranked at the top for luxury hotels. The top upper upscale hotel was Embassy Suites, while the top upscale hotel was Hotel Indigo. For mid-scale full service hotels, Holiday Inn ranked at the top, while the mid-scale limited service category was won by Drury Inn & Suites. The top economy hotel was Microtel Inns & Suites, while Homewood Suites topped the extended stay segment.

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