While hotel bookings are bouncing back in the wake of the pandemic, guest satisfaction is down, according to J.D. Power’s 2022 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.
The company analyzed responses to over 150 questions about guests’ hotel stays taking place between May 2021 and May 2022, and evaluated the performance of 101 brands, according to a news release Thursday. This year, the study is based on responses from 34,407 guests.
J.D. Power found that while occupancy rates are trending towards those seen before the pandemic, guest satisfaction overall went down eight points on a 1,000-point scale from last year. The company said the change was primarily due to “dissatisfaction with cost and fees and guest rooms.”
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Why did guest satisfaction go down in 2022?
“The phenomenon we’re seeing this year tracks closely with the rise in average daily room rates since late 2021, putting hotel property owners squarely in recovery mode,” J.D. Power Hospitality Practice Lead Andrea Stokes, said in the release. “During the fielding period of the study – June 2021 through May 2022 – the average daily rate for branded hotels has risen 34.8%,” she added, citing CoStar Group’s data analytics firm STR.
Stokes said a large number of hotel owners and operators have been taking advantage of the recent surge in travel demand to recuperate financially, but that they did not invest in “upgrades and improvements during the pandemic.”
And while marks for guest room cleanliness were still relatively high, those for furnishings, décor, amenities in rooms and bathroom quality went down compared with 2021.
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Which hotels are guests most, least satisfied with?
The company also ranked the brands that saw the highest guest satisfaction in their segments. These are the brands that claimed the top spots:
- Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton
- Upper Upscale: Hard Rock Hotels
- Upscale: Hilton Garden Inn
- Upscale Extended Stay: Hyatt House
- Upper Midscale: Drury Hotels
- Upper Midscale/Midscale Extended Stay: Sonesta Simply Suites
- Midscale: Wingate by Wyndham
- Economy: WoodSpring Suites
Not every brand did as well, though. The brands that scored the lowest were:
- Luxury: Loews Hotels
- Upper Upscale: Sheraton
- Upscale: Element
- Upscale Extended Stay: Residence Inn
- Upper Midscale: La Quinta Inns & Suites
- Upper Midscale/Midscale Extended Stay: Sonesta ES Suites
- Midscale: Ramada by Wyndham
- Economy: Knights Inn
What else did J.D. Power find?
The company also found that guests gave employees high marks for courtesy, even as they are interacting less with workers such as front desk staff than before the pandemic during ongoing labor shortages. More guests are also paying extra for Wi-Fi than in 2019, J.D. Power said.