The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is praising the results of annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released Tuesday by the University of Michigan. The hotel sector received a score of 75 percent customer satisfaction in the first quarter of 2006 - the highest grade since the index began in 1994. After several years of scores hovering at 72 and 73 percent, this record-level grade for the hotel sector is a 2.7 percent increase over last year and higher than the average score of 74.1 percent for companies in all industries.
The ACSI tracks and measures household consumption experience across 10 economic sectors and rates 41 industries on a zero-to-100 scale. About 20,000 consumers were surveyed during the first three months of this year.
“Hospitality and service is the very lifeblood of our business,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joseph A. McInerney, CHA. “Our industry is focused on continuing to raise its standards and service to exceed customer expectations. The latest ACSI survey—a highly regarded economic indicator—shows that customer satisfaction is rising to record levels at hotels.”
AH&LA Chairman Joseph R. Kane, Jr., CHA, group president of Cendant Hotel Group and president/CEO of Days Inns Worldwide, Inc., said that the association has taken the lead in strengthening the hotel industry’s top line revenues and bottom line profits by promoting the reemergence of true hospitality service.
“I’ve regularly referenced the fact that from 1994-2004, the hotel/lodging sector ACSI score dropped nearly 3 percent and challenged all sectors of the lodging industry to commit to delivering the best customer service of any business,” said Kane. “We launched the ‘We’ve Got the Spirit’ campaign to raise awareness of this fundamental element of our profession and to provide AH&LA members with the latest training strategies to deliver exceptional customer service. We are empowering hotel employees to strive for excellence and to create a memorable guest experience - a key to guest retention.”
“As we get ready to kick-off the summer travel season, the ACSI results send a strong message that America’s lodging properties are raising the bar for guest expectations,” said Kane.