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J.D. Power Report Issued by Cornell Demonstrates the Financial Benefits of Hotel Guest Satisfaction

An industry white paper issued by Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) demonstrates the clear connection between guest satisfaction and hotels’ financial results. Conducted by researchers from J.D. Power and Associates, the study, “Making Customer Satisfaction Pay: Connecting Survey Data to Financial Outcomes in the Hotel Industry,” is available at no charge from the CHR’s website at The hospitality research was written by Gina Pingitore, Dan Seldin, and Arianne Walker, all of J.D. Power and Associates. In a survey of over 4,000 guests at an upscale hotel chain, they found that fulfilling certain key performance indicators is essential to hotel guest satisfaction.

“When we focused on the connection between measurements of customer satisfaction and hotel financial outcomes, we discovered the importance of four key performance indicators,” said Pingitore. “Guests who were satisfied on all four of these indicators rated the hotel as delivering outstanding service. In turn, those highly satisfied guests reported far greater ancillary spending than those who were merely pleased with their stay.” Pingitore is the chief research officer for J.D. Power; Seldin is a director in the firm’s corporate research and marketing sciences department; and Walker is director of U.S. automotive research.

The key performance indicators that emerged from the study are fundamental to hotel operation. They are: the reservation was accurate, check-in was completed within five minutes, no problems were experienced during the stay, and no billing errors occurred. Guests who experienced all four of these performance indicators were most likely to grant the hotel a top guest satisfaction rating.