Customer perceptions of the hospitality industry are even more important to hoteliers seeking to retain their guest base.
Market Metrix, a customer satisfaction market research firm, has launched the Market Metrix Hotel Index (MMHI), the most in-depth, industry-wide measure of hotel performance based on guest evaluations.
The MMHI covers hotel facilities and services in the United States, including measures of customer satisfaction and price sensitivity, as well as an innovative segment that correlates emotions with repeat business.
“To fully define the guest experience and better predict future behavior, satisfaction measurement must assess more than products and services,” says Market Metrix partner, Jonathan Barsky, Ph.D. “The emotions that a guest feels during a hotel stay are critical components of satisfaction and loyalty.”
Despite the obvious importance of eliciting positive emotional responses in guests, hotels have never measured and used consumer emotions as a management tool. Hotels generally ask customers for feedback on the process—the speed of guest check-in, for example—without ascertaining how that experience made the guest feel. “This breakthrough research will help us enhance our relationship with our guests,” says Sharon Smith, vice president, operations and brand management, Red Lion Hotels & Inns and Hilton Hotels Corporation. “By understanding how we are making our guests feel, we can more effectively develop positioning, brand pricing strategies and brand standards that will drive loyalty.”
The MMHI measures 16 feelings—including comfortable, welcome and secure—that have been linked to hotel guest satisfaction and loyalty. The index found that emotional preferences differ by industry segment. For example, feeling “pampered” is what attracts guests to luxury hotels, “practical” is essential for the economy customer, and feeling “secure” is more important for mid-price hotel guests. The index also found that hotels making the right emotional connection have customers that are more loyal and less price sensitive.
Data for the MMHI is gathered from the National Consumer Opinion Panel, composed of 15,000 hotel customers across the U.S. Panel members are interviewed quarterly about recent hotel stays. The results provide evaluations from all 50 states for more than 85 hotel brands. Market Metrix provides customer and employee satisfaction measurement services for hotels and resorts worldwide.