Although the hotel industry is gradually recovering from the economic downturn, guest satisfaction with their hotel experiences continues to deteriorate as hoteliers fall further behind guest expectations. The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study revealed that overall guest satisfaction has declined 7 index points from 2011, to a rating of 757 on a 1,000-point scale. Relatively high levels of satisfaction with cost and fees mask significant declines in other areas, such as check-in/check-out, food and beverage, hotel services and hotel facilities.
It is not just room rates that affect customer satisfaction with cost and fees. More than one-half of guests use the Internet during their hotel stay, and charges for access can reduce satisfaction. Those guests that were charged an Internet fee reported an average cost and fees satisfaction score that was 76 points lower than those who were not charged a fee. Hotels that charge extra for this service are perceived as taking advantage of guests, given the number of places that offer Internet access for free.
Overall, 56 percent of hotel guests have a high opinion of staff, 34 percent have an average opinion and 10 percent have a low opinion of staff. Overall satisfaction is higher among guests with a high opinion of staff. These guests also are more loyal and are more likely to use various hotel services, such as a hotel restaurant.
Guests who book through an online travel agency tend to be more price sensitive, have lower levels of satisfaction with their stay, be less loyal to hotel brands and report more problems compared with guests who book through the hotel website or with the hotel directly.
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