Last updated: 02:41 PM ET, Wed July 15 2015

Study: Hotel Guest Satisfaction at an All-Time High

Hotel & Resort | Ryan Rudnansky | July 15, 2015

Study: Hotel Guest Satisfaction at an All-Time High

Hotel guest satisfaction is at an all-time high, according to the J.D. Power 2015 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.

The 19th annual study, released Wednesday, measured guest satisfaction across eight hotel segments, while ranking hotel brands by segment.

The overall satisfaction score among all segments was 804, up 20 points from 2014. It’s the first time in the study's history that satisfaction has surpassed the 800-point mark.

The hotel brands most responsible for the high score include Ritz-Carlton (ranked best among luxury brands), Omni Hotels & Resorts (upper-upscale), Hyatt Place (upscale), Drury Hotels (upper midscale, ninth year in a row), Wingate by Wyndham (midscale), Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham (economy/budget, third year in a row), Homewood Suites by Hilton (upper extended stay, third year in a row) and Candlewood Suites (extended stay, second consecutive year).

The study’s guest satisfaction score—calculated on a 1,000-point score—is predicated on seven key factors: reservation; check-in/check-out; guest room; food and beverage; hotel services; hotel facilities; and cost and fees.

According to the study, there was a 20 percent reduction in guest complaints from 2014, the lowest incidence since 2006.

One of the greatest factors in the change?

Staff members smiled more.

According to the study, there was a 50 percent reduction in the average number of problems guests experienced when they were greeted with a smile by staff members “all the time,” compared to just “sometimes.”

And while solving problems is undoubtedly important in keeping guest satisfaction high, it’s even more important to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. When guests “strongly disagreed” that staff members anticipated their needs, the average satisfaction score was 602. When guests “strongly agreed” staff members anticipated their needs, the average satisfaction score shot up 310 points to 912 (a nearly perfect score).

“Hotels that proactively meet guest needs have the ability to create a positive guest experience,” said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power, via a release. “While service recovery is extremely important in the hotel industry, it’s most effective when the entire guest experience is a positive one. 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.”

Guest satisfaction has a way of spreading quickly via word-of-mouth, too. Four in five hotel guests who were “delighted” with their experience (rated it 10 out of 10) said they “definitely will” recommend the brand to a friend, relative or colleague.

Two in three guests “definitely will” stay at the hotel again if they were “delighted” with the experience, compared to only 4 percent of those who are “disappointed.”

It’s also important to note that how a guest books a hotel room can pre-determine their satisfaction. More than half (56 percent) of guests who researched hotels based on how they meet their needs ultimately said the brand was “perfect for them.” On the other hand, only 15 percent of guests who booked primarily based on price said the brand was “perfect for them.” 

The 2015 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses gathered between June 2014 and May 2015 from more than 62,000 guests in Canada and the United States who stayed at a hotel in North America between May 2014 and May 2015.


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