The new study provides 2013 customer satisfaction benchmarks for 24 lodging chains serving business and leisure travelers in the United States. The study includes a diverse array of hotel properties—from luxury, upper-upscale and upscale to midscale and economy offerings.
Guests who choose luxury accommodations show a strong preference for Marriott’s signature JW Marriott hotels (83 on a 0 to 100 scale) over Hyatt Hotels’ Grand Hyatt (77). While ACSI research shows that upscale properties tend to do better in guest satisfaction than midrange or economy hotels, Grand Hyatt meets—rather than exceeds—the hotel industry’s average score of 77, as reported by the ACSI in June.
Marriott’s midscale brand, Fairfield Inn & Suites, rises to the top among all lodging types with a customer satisfaction benchmark of 84. The next closest midscale chain, Hilton’s Hampton Inn & Suites, scores 81, while the lowest scoring in the category, Wyndham’s Ramada Inn, is well behind at 69.
“While Marriott and Wyndham show fairly consistent levels of guest satisfaction across their portfolios, for Marriott the good news is that its properties turn in the best scores across all lodging types in which it competes,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and Chairman. “By contrast, all Wyndham brands are average to below average for guest satisfaction, with the exception of Days Inn, which has a solid lead in the economy category.”
In the upper-upscale category, Marriott goes head-to-head with Hilton and Hyatt. At 82, Marriott Hotels & Resorts enters a three-way tie for the lead with Hyatt Regency and Hilton’s Embassy Suites. Rival brand Wyndham Hotels & Resorts trails behind at 77, just ahead of Starwood’s upper-upscale offering Sheraton at 76. Likewise, Marriott’s Courtyard is tied for first in the tight field of upscale hotels, matching Hyatt Place at 79 and inching ahead of Hilton’s Doubletree and Hilton Garden (78 and 77, respectively).
The Wyndham family of hotels—upscale, midrange or budget—is near the bottom of the 24 major chains, albeit higher than competition in economy with Days Inn at 74 easily beating sister property Super 8 at 66 and Choice Hotel’s Econo Lodge at 59.
For hotels, the ACSI measures 10 customer experience elements—from ease of making a reservation and check-in to food services, in-room entertainment and staff courtesy. Among the five lodging types, reservation and check-in processes function well, with scores ranging from 84 for economy to 90 for luxury properties. Ratings for loyalty programs, Internet service and staff courtesy show little variation for midscale through luxury. In fact, staff courtesy for luxury brands ties that of midscale chains at 86. Guest satisfaction among hotel types varies the most when it comes to room cleanliness and comfort, food services and hotel amenities.
“As expected, luxury hotels come out on top and economy properties at the bottom across nearly all aspects of the customer experience, according to their respective guests,” says ACSI Director David VanAmburg. “There is opportunity, however, for midscale and upscale properties to create services that offer guests an experience that compares well with upper-upscale and luxury hotels by focusing on the most salient aspects: room quality, food quality and on-site amenities such as pools, fitness rooms and business centers.”
The hotel brand study complements and expands ACSI’s coverage of the hotel industry, updated in June 2013, which gauges customer satisfaction with each hotel corporation’s complete portfolio of lodging types—upscale, midrange and budget. For 2013, Marriott captures the lead with a 5% gain to 82, followed by Hilton (unchanged) at 80 and Hyatt (+4%) at 79. Despite a 3% increase, Wyndham remains well behind the leaders with a last-place score of 72.