Predicting Hotel Guest Satisfaction Results for 2022
July is right around the corner, which, to those who eat, sleep and breathe the hospitality industry, means something crucial is approaching: the annual release of the JD Power Americas Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study. North.
While each hotel property likely has its own guest satisfaction metrics, the JD Power survey provides insight into a broader set of likes and dislikes that more than 30,000 guests clearly express when responding to more than 150 questions regarding hotel stay experiences.
Ahead of this year’s release, I’d like to take inspiration from the 2020 and 2021 survey results to forecast what sentiment might be like for 2022.
Some key findings from the 2020 index showed that customers placed a high value on cleanliness and communication, and rightly so as it was the start of the pandemic, when uncertainties were at their highest. .
Nearly all hotel brands and individual properties rolled out enhanced cleaning protocols, ensuring these practices were more visible than ever to show guests it was being done. Guests clearly appreciated this, as room cleanliness scores hit an all-time high in 2020 (8.53 on a 10-point scale).
On top of that, pre-arrival communication on these new protocols was something that customers saw as a necessity in an era of wary trust and comfort levels. When no pre-stay communication was made, overall guest satisfaction scores dropped by 66 points. Although hotel guests understood that certain amenities – such as dining facilities, public pools, fitness centers and spas – would be restricted, they wanted direct and honest communication about these during the pre-arrival phase.
As 2021 approaches, values, understanding and customer satisfaction have changed. Key findings from this survey indicated that limited food and beverage options, particularly breakfast, began to weigh on satisfaction scores.
“In all but one hotel segment, guests were particularly unhappy with the reduction in variety and quality – if breakfast was offered. Over the study dates, 36% of hotels eliminated buffet service,” the survey found.
We heard time and time again at various hospitality industry conferences in 2021 that guests expected these typical amenities to return, but some hoteliers were simply not ready due to staffing and cost issues. . Of course, we know that guests don’t always think about these behind-the-scenes challenges.
What guests appreciated in 2021 was the reduction in room rates as hotels had to do what they could to support occupancy. Up to a point it worked (more on that below), but then there were issues with maintaining housekeeping and dealing with unruly guests.
Now comes 2022. I don’t mean to jinx it, and I’ll note that I’m generally an optimistic person with a smile on my face, but this year I’m leaning towards the possibility of more austere survey results.
Going back to my earlier comment about declining occupancy rates in 2021, this has led some hotels to implement a rate game. Essentially, hotels have increased their rates to potentially reduce some of the occupancy and help reduce room processing time.
Once hotels did this, it was found that there wasn’t much pushback from customers despite them shelling out more money. But now we have inflation in the mix. Americans are also saving less money and burning through some, if not all, of their savings in a pandemic.
And the reality is that some hotels are still slow to bring back all the amenities offered on site. As customers continue to pay these inflated prices, I suspect their frustrations will increase, leading to lower customer satisfaction scores.
I have no doubt that the hotels are doing everything they can to restore operations to what they once were. However, each industry is still struggling to maintain staffing levels, which could still contribute to less than satisfactory scores, especially as group and business travel are back.
I hope, however, that customers will continue to be understanding and patient as the industry recovers.
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