J.D. Power: Hotels Reach Guest Satisfaction 'Plateau'

Hotel Bell

Although it has reached a new record high, guest satisfaction with hotels in the United States and Canada nevertheless has "plateaued," according to J.D. Power and Associates, which today published its J.D. Power 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.

Now in its 20th year, the J.D. Power study is based on a survey of more than 63,000 hotel guests who stayed at a North American hotel between June 2015 and May 2016. Guests rated hotels on reservations, check-in and check-out procedures, room quality, food and beverage quality, services, facilities, and cost and fees.

Overall, guest satisfaction in this year's study averaged 806 on a 1,000-point scale, which is the highest score since J.D. Power introduced its current methodology in 2006. Although that represents a two-point increase from last year -- and marks the fourth consecutive year of growth -- the uptick is much smaller than in previous years, according to J.D. Power, which attributed the decelerated growth to amenities such as free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, and premium bed linens. While these used to be considered special perks that delighted guests when they received them, they have now become standard expectations, which has raised the bar on guest satisfaction.

"Customers have responded well to the enhanced offerings provided by some hotel brands to create value, but as those perks become standard, customers are quick to ask, 'What have you done for me lately?'" said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. "When guests no longer see added value in the quality of amenities they receive, the only option to truly differentiate a brand is to develop a strong service culture that makes guests feel special and appreciated."

While growth was flat across most hotel segments, the luxury segment logged an impressive 12-point increase in guest satisfaction, according to J.D. Power, which cited improved "cost and fees" scores.

"Despite luxury hotels typically being the most expensive, this segment has been able to show guests that they're providing additional value, which is clearly resonating," Garlick said.

Top Hotel Brands

Travelers rated The Ritz-Carlton, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn, Drury Hotels, Wingate by Wyndham, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, Hyatt House, and Home2 Suites by Hilton as the top brands in their respective segments. At 896, The Ritz-Carlton earned the highest score in the history of J.D. Power's study.

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