Last updated: 09:27 AM ET, Mon April 20 2015

Upscale Hotels Score Big in 2015 ACSI Travel Report

Hotel & Resort | Ryan Rudnansky | April 20, 2015

Upscale Hotels Score Big in 2015 ACSI Travel Report

The 2015 ACSI Travel Report was released on Monday, featuring customer ratings for hotels, online travel agencies (OTAS) and airlines, while also shedding light on their respective industries.

The report, based on more than 7,000 customer surveys conducted in the first quarter 2015, details customer scores for hotel chains and hotel brands, as well as indicating strong points and areas for improvements for hotels.

It also covers customer ratings for OTAs, including major players Expedia and Priceline, while indicating the areas in which they succeed.

TravelPulse was able to speak with ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg. Here’s a look at the 2015 ACSI Travel Report results, complete with analysis from VanAmburg.


You may think that hotels with lower rates would have higher customer satisfaction scores, but that really isn’t the case.

According to the report, the top two hotel brands in terms of customer satisfaction are Homewood Suites by Hilton (83 out of 100) and Grant Hyatt (83), upscale and luxury brands, respectively. Of the nine brands that scored 80 or better, seven of them were upscale or higher.

Naturally, three hospitality companies that focus on upscale and luxury offerings—Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt—were the top companies in terms of customer satisfaction, each receiving an 80 out of 100.

“It’s similar to what we’ve seen in the automobile industry; this notion of you get what you pay for,” VanAmburg said. “Those who are seeking a more luxurious automobile or a more luxurious hotel experience are willing to pay more for it and generally have those expectations met.”

VanAmburg also noted that it’s different than the airline industry. In the airline industry, customers generally want to just go from Point A to Point B. Hotel guests, on the other hand, want to include the hotel with their vacation experience. How the two marry generally determines how happy they are with their selection.

It also wasn’t surprising to VanAmburg that Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt ruled in customer surveys. 

“These three are really competing with each other,” VanAmburg said. “As a result, it’s not surprising that they would be very close in score as in the same way that Coca Cola and Pepsi are close in score in the ACSI. They’re all going to play by the same rules. You know, ‘If somebody’s doing this, we have to start doing it, too.’”

Hotels in general were rated across a variety of areas, including ease of making a reservation (86), ease of the check-in process (85), staff helpfulness (83), website satisfaction (83), quality of the room (81) and quality of in-room Internet service (76, in terms of speed and reliability).

Given the importance placed on free and high-speed Wi-Fi these days, you would think hotels would rank higher in the quality of in-room Internet service.

But VanAmburg isn’t exactly surprised at the mediocre scores.

“I can tell you as a frequent business traveler that I don’t find it surprising at all,” VanAmburg said. “Hotels are more on board with the notion that they have to offer free Wi-Fi, but the reliability of Wi-Fi is not all that strong.

“That’s kind of another argument of you get what you pay for. It’s free, but it’s also not all that good. If you’re going to do it, you really need to go out and do it. Do it right, do it in a big way and just offer amazing Wi-Fi that’s very reliable and very fast. It’s like saying, ‘We have a great pool, but it’s dirty.’”

But what of hotels that offer high-speed Wi-Fi via tiered systems?

“I think that a lot of guests are going to opt for that free tier, in part (because) you’re not really there to spend the bulk of your time surfing the Internet, but you want to be able to use it,” VanAmburg said.

Overall, hotels received a score of 75 out of 100 in the report. VanAmburg said hoteliers should be happy with the overall score. It has remained unchanged from a year ago, despite guests asking for even more during their stay these days.


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