Based on 35,000 customer interviews conducted each quarter, the latest Market Metrix Hospitality Index (MMHI) has been released, measuring hospitality company performance.
With occupancy and revPAR falling in 2009, customer satisfaction held its own during a tumultuous year (+0.4 percent to 82.8 percent). Satisfaction with airlines increased slightly (+1 percent to 78.7 percent) but declined among rental cars companies (–0.9 percent to 78.4 percent). Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, Virgin Atlantic, and Enterprise Rent–A–Car ranked number one in hotel, airline, and rental car industry customer satisfaction, respectively in 2009.
With revenues plummeting in 2009, hotel companies focused on making their loyalty programs more attractive — and it worked. The percentage of rooms filled by loyalty program members increased 5 percent in 2009 (to 35 percent) which is a positive trend for hotels as these customers tend to spend a little more during their stay. The increase was higher among upscale casinos (+9.2 percent to 45 percent) and upscale hotels (+5.4 percent to 40 percent) with The Venetian, Novotel and SuperClubs posting the biggest gains.
Comparing Performance Across the Hospitality Industry
In 2009 Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, an Indian brand associated with ultra luxury hotels, earned the highest customer satisfaction score among all hotels (93.7 percent). Midscale without food and beverage (+0.5 percent to 84 percent) improved more than any other segment in 2009 with Drury Inns earning the top score (90.9 percent) and Lees Inns of America, Inc. showing the biggest improvement (+4.4 percent to 79.6 percent). Among all hotels, the brands with the biggest improvement include McIntosh Inns, Inc. (+8.1 percent to 75 percent), Red Carpet Inns (+6.3 percent to 79.9 percent) and Husa Hotels (+5.8 percent to 82.3 percent). Brands that did not fare as well include Gaylord Entertainment ( –4.9 to 83.6), and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts (–2.1 percent to 87.6 percent).
Passenger satisfaction with airlines improved slightly in 2009 despite the struggling economy. High volatility in fuel prices, indifferent service, labor problems, congested airports, and financial challenges have plagued the industry for a long time and even with the current improvement, airlines remain the lowest scoring industry in the MMHI. Virgin Atlantic (86.8 percent) was the top scoring airline for the second year in a row. British Airlines jumped from seventh to secnd place with an impressive gain (+5.5 percent to 86.1 percent) and JetBlue received the highest customer loyalty score with 83 percent of passengers stating they are very likely to book another flight on the airline.
The car rental industry continues to face a difficult operating environment with fewer people renting cars and rising costs. Increased excise taxes imposed by local and state governments and fleet reductions that decrease consumer options, have further impacted the perceived value of renting cars. Alamo (+0.9 percent to 77.4 percent) showed the biggest improvement in customer satisfaction while Thrifty (–2.8 percent to 76.6 percent) and Payless (–2.8 percent to 72.8 percent) showed the biggest declines. Enterprise continues their industry dominance with overall satisfaction and loyalty scores well above competitors.