Market Metrix: Hotel Customer Satisfaction Up

With the industry showing real signs of a recovery, customer satisfaction among hotels improved in the first quarter of 2010 (+0.4 to 83.3). Customers were also happier with their car rental experiences (+0.8 to 79.2). But satisfaction with airlines declined by 3 points (–3.0 to 75.7) representing the steepest fall since the devastating events of 9/11. Drury Hotels, Jet Blue and Enterprise Rent–A–Car ranked number one in hotel, airline and rental car industry customer satisfaction, respectively in the first quarter of 2010.

With more people traveling and occupancy rates starting to rise, the climate in the hotel industry is improving. Guests are feeling the difference. Product, service and emotions scores are up. Scores for feeling “Welcome” increased more than any other measure (+0.6 to 84.4) in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. With continued discounts and low rates, scores for “Value for price” also increased significantly (+0.3 to 82.4). The mood upswing is even apparent in casino customer’s “Perceived Odds of Winning” with Circus Circus Hotel & Casino and Flamingo Las Vegas posting the biggest jumps in this important consumer perception.

Comparing Performance Across the Hospitality Industry

Nearly all hotel segment improved their satisfaction scores in the first quarter with casinos (+1.0 to 83.1) and midscale without food and beverage (+0.9 to 84.1) showing the biggest gains. Among all hotels, the brands with the biggest increase included Hawthorn Suites (+7.3 to 89.6), Holiday Inn SunSpree (+7.2 to 87.2) and Borgata Hotel and Casino (+4.0 to 90.3). Brands that did not fare as well include Taj Hotels (–4.6 to 81.7), Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino (–4.3 to 80.4), Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts (–3.5 to 82.6).

Passenger satisfaction with airlines dropped sharply with most airline scores declining. Only Frontier (+1.4 to 80.2), US Airways (+1.3 to 72.5), and AirTran (76.9 to +0.2) improved their scores in the first quarter. American posted the biggest decline (–2.4 to 71.2) dropping it from 8th to 12th place among all major carriers. Jet Blue (82.8) was the top scoring airline outscoring second place Frontier Airlines by a comfortable margin. High volatility in fuel prices, indifferent service, labor problems, congested airports, and financial challenges continue to plague the industry.

Consumer satisfaction with rental cars improved in the first quarter (+0.8 to 79.2). Extending their winning streak, Enterprise posted the highest satisfaction score (–0.3 to 81.9), although Alamo (+2.2 to 81.4) was close behind in second place. Avis posted the biggest decline (–2.3 to 77.1) dropping the brand from fourth to seventh in the industry ranking. Although more people are renting cars this year, the car rental industry continues to face a difficult operating environment with increased excise taxes imposed by local and state governments and fleet reductions that decrease consumer options.

For the full list of Market Metrix Hospitality Index 2010 Winners, see: http://www.marketmetrix.com/en/default.aspx?s=news&p=Q1-2010

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