In this press release by market research leader Market Metrix, customer satisfaction has declined in the second quarter of 2009 by a slight -0.2. The article says that 154 of 274 hotel companies received lower MMHI (Market Metrix Hospitality Index) satisfaction scores when compared with the first quarter of 2009. MMHI is an index based on interviews with 35,000 customers. The article says that budget cuts are playing a role in the customer satisfaction scores. According to the article, the main issues were the following:
• Value: Guests felt like they were getting less for their money.
• Welcome: Guests did not feel as welcome.
• Pampering/Entertained: Guests felt less pampered and less entertained.
• Guestroom: Satisfaction with rooms decreased due to issues with beds, furniture, and functional lights.
The lower satisfaction scores is not surprising given that hotels are run very efficiently even in good times, so cut-backs in labor would likely manifest itself in decreased service. ‘Pampering’ feelings would likely be an emotion seen at upscale and lifestyle hotels, who have suffered the biggest RevPAR losses and staff cutbacks.
It is interesting that guest satisfaction has declined for value, especially since rates have decreased significantly for the industry. In an effort to avoid heavy discounting, hospitality leaders have stressed selling packages with value-adds. Also, travel deals are everywhere and heavily promoted. However, even with the large discounts, consumers do not believing that they are getting a good deal. It could be a reflection of the tough times, high unemployment, and the trend of frugal travelers.