This HotelWorldNetwork article summarizes three customer satisfaction studies this year: The J.D. Power and Associates 2009 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study, the Market Metrix Hospitality Index, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index from the University of Michigan.
The author points out that the results of the studies differ, probably due to the different timeframes and methodology.
- Market Metrix saw a drop in quarterly satisfaction scores since the recession began.
- J.D. Power saw that guest satisfaction scores improved year over year.
- University of Michigan’s ACSI showed improvement in the industry overall, but indicated mixed results among different brands.
The article stresses that despite budget cuts, guest satisfaction and service levels can still be maintained.
Claes Fornell, head of ACSI, points out that economy hotels do better in customer satisfaction in a recessionary environment and says that the lower price only has a small effect on customer satisfaction, but the level of service quality plays a bigger role. Choice Hotels, which mostly holds economy hotels, for example, showed a 7% change year over year. Global Hyatt had the largest decrease out of the major chains shown in the ACSI Hotels chart and showed a -5.1% change.
Interestingly, Fornell says that guest satisfaction is an indicator to economic recovery. He says that guest satisfaction scores are highly correlated to financial results and stock prices. Obviously, correlation does not mean causation.
It seems obvious to me that service levels are being cut across the industry. For example, some luxury chains are letting hotels drop a star-rating. The article suggests that satisfaction numbers could still be up, since either brands were able to cut without affecting service or the service was just better due to shorter lines and waits.
As the tough times continue on and staffing levels are still reduced, will the hotel industry still show improved guest satisfaction scores overall? It does not seem sustainable. However, most companies have economy hotels in their portfolio as well as luxury hotels.
Hotel World Network Article: http://www.hotelworldnetwork.com/guest-relations/surveys-staff-service-indicators-satisfaction