Labor Day weekend travelers may want to take note that guests who make hotel reservations ahead of time are much more likely to be satisfied with their hotel stay than those who don`t. Yet, booking reservations on the Internet may not necessarily result in a lower room rate, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2003 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study(SM) released today.
The study finds that while Internet reservations continue to rise dramatically, guests who made hotel reservations on the Internet in the mid-price and extended stay segments paid between 2 and 5 percent more than those who booked through traditional routes. Since 2002, the percentage of Internet bookings has increased by double digits.
“Doing your homework when booking a hotel, whether by calling the hotel directly or booking online, can certainly pay off in terms of getting the best rate and in helping to ensure you`re satisfied with what the hotel provides,” said Linda Hirneise, partner and executive director of the hotel practice at J.D. Power and Associates.
The study also finds that hotel guests who make reservations prior to arriving are significantly more satisfied with their stay. This is particularly evident in the economy/budget segment where 30 percent of guests—more than twice the percentage of other hotel segments—do not make reservations ahead of time.
“Even if guests call to make a reservation just an hour before arriving, they know what to expect in terms of room availability, rate and features, and this dramatically increases satisfaction with their stay,” said Hirneise.
Another significant finding of the study is that the importance that guests place on hotel security and safety has increased in every segment in the study in 2003, while satisfaction with it is flat or declining.
“While this doesn`t mean safety measures are declining among hotels, it does mean that the expectations of guests in this area are rising,” said Hirneise. “The general increase of uneasiness among travelers since September 11, along with events such as the recent East Coast blackout, tend to contribute to rising guest expectations that hotels make security a priority.”
Despite continuing economic challenges in the travel industry, overall guest satisfaction continues to improve in the upscale and mid-price limited service segments. The economy/budget segment, however, suffers from declining satisfaction overall.
Luxury Segment: After two years in second place, The Ritz-Carlton takes a commanding role in the luxury segment, leading in every measure of guest satisfaction (which includes pre-arrival/arrival, guest room, food and beverage, hotel services, and departure). Thirty-six percent of Ritz-Carlton guests say their experience was above expectations, which is higher than for any other brand in the segment.
Embassy Suites ranks highest in the upscale segment for the third consecutive year, leading the segment in the pre-arrival/arrival, guest room, food and beverage, and complimentary breakfast factors. Embassy Suites is followed closely by Renaissance Hotels and Resorts.
// Mid-Price Full Service Segment: Hilton Garden Inn ranks highest in the mid-price full service segment, with top ratings for pre-arrival/arrival, guest room, and hotel services.
// Mid-Price Limited Service Segment: SpringHill Suites ranks highest in the highly competitive mid-price limited service segment, with top ratings for pre-arrival/arrival, guest room, hotel services, and departure.
// Economy/Budget Segment: Microtel Inns & Suites ranks highest among economy/budget hotels for the second consecutive year, leading the segment in the pre-arrival/arrival, guest room, hotel services, and departure factors.
// Extended Stay Segment: Homewood Suites by Hilton ranks highest in the extended stay segment, with top ratings in the segment among all factors contributing to overall satisfaction.
// The 2003 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses from 12,850 guests who stayed in a hotel between January and June 2003.
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors, including market research, forecasting, consulting, training, and customer satisfaction. Media e-mail contact: [email protected] or [email protected]
No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates, www.jdpower.com.
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