J.D. Power Reports: Hotel Satisfaction Reaches Record High; Gen Y Guests Are More Critical But Not Necessarily Less Loyal
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Kimpton Hotels; Hilton Garden Inn; Holiday Inn; Drury Hotels; Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham; Homewood Suites by Hilton; and Candlewood Suites Each Rank Highest in Guest Satisfaction in Their Respective Segments
Overall satisfaction in 2014 averages 784 points on a 1000-point scale, up 27 points from 2012, with significant improvement in all segments except upper extended stay and extended stay, where satisfaction remains stable. The midscale segment posts the largest year-over-year improvement, increasing by 10 points to 801, which is the first time satisfaction in the segment has surpassed 800 points.
The study finds that Gen Y guests (Millennials) are more critical of their hotel stay but, despite popular sentiment, not necessarily less loyal. Among Gen Y guests whose stay at the hotel they evaluated was their first experience with the brand, overall satisfaction is 29 points lower than among those who have a previous experience with the brand they evaluated (758 vs. 787, respectively).
"By improving the brand experience for first-time Gen Y guests, there is a substantial opportunity for hotels to gain a pool of satisfied, committed guests who will be loyal for years to come," said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. "We also find that satisfaction is more than 300 points lower among Gen Y guests who have a low opinion of staff than among Gen Y guests who have a high opinion of the hotel staff, while that difference is much smaller among those in other generation groups. Hoteliers have the opportunity to improve both satisfaction and loyalty rates by simply focusing on improving their staff interactions with Gen Y guests."
- Hotel brands that are perceived as being exciting and trendsetters receive the highest number of positive recommendations, while those perceived as environmentally careless receive the highest number of negative comments.
- The proportion of Price Buyers—hotel guests who select their hotel brand primarily based on price—has fallen by a significant 7 percentage points from 2013 (19% vs. 12%, respectively). Price Buyers are among the least satisfied of the guest groups.
- The proportion of Scrutinizers—those who thoroughly research their hotel choices through online travel review sites and other sources—has increased to 10 percent in 2014 from 7 percent last year. Notably, the Scrutinizer group has the largest number of highly committed guests to a hotel brand.
- Among all the problems experienced by guests, rooms that are not clean has the greatest negative impact on satisfaction (213 points).
- Challenges with Internet connectivity remain twice as prevalent as any other guest problem. The negative impact of these problems is relatively consistent regardless of whether Internet access is complimentary or guests have to pay an additional fee for it.
Hotel Segment Rankings
The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:
- Luxury: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
- Upper Upscale: Kimpton Hotels (for a second consecutive year)
- Upscale: Hilton Garden Inn
- Midscale Full Service: Holiday Inn (for a fourth consecutive year)
- Midscale: Drury Hotels (for a ninth consecutive year)
- Economy/Budget: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham (for a second consecutive year)
- Upper Extended Stay: Homewood Suites by Hilton (for a second consecutive year)
- Extended Stay: Candlewood Suites