J.D. Power and Associates recently released its 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study that is based on more than 53,000 guests who stayed in a hotel between May 2009 and June 2010. This article focuses on guest problems, naming noise as the number one complaint among hotel guests.
J.D. Power and Associates continues to observe that high levels of customer satisfaction are dependent on problem prevention, rather than problem resolution. That is not to say that service recovery is not required when a guest experiences a significant problem; however, it is more difficult to achieve the satisfaction level of those guests who don’t experience a problem in the first place, than for guests who experience problems that are eventually resolved.
The chart below illustrates the differences in satisfaction between guests who did and did not experience a significant problem during their stay. The scores are based on a 1,000-point scale and reflect the industry average across hotel segments based on the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.
Across the industry, overall satisfaction is 144 points higher when guests did not experience a significant problem (781), compared with when they did (637). While there is a significant gap in satisfaction among the guests for whom the problem was resolved (705), compared with those for whom the problem remained unresolved (582), satisfaction still falls significantly below that of guests who did not experience a problem in the first place.
While it is possible to so impress and exceed a guest’s expectations during recovery that they are more satisfied after recovery than if they never had a problem, these are rare occurrences. We certainly would not advocate creating false problems in order to heroically swoop in and solve the problems for guests as a business model, but it does reinforce the important opportunity recovery represents. It makes a statement to guests about your brand and how you value their business.
You might wonder, what are the most frequently occurring problems that guests cite?
Across the industry, the top three problems guests cited are:
- Hotel/room maintenance
- Heating ventilation and AC problems
The chart below summarizes the top three by segment. The top three problems cited in the economy/budget segment, for example, are: room cleanliness (28%), room smell (28%), and hotel/room maintenance (27%).
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Stuart Greif is VP and general manager of the global travel and hospitality practice for J.D. Power and Associates.