Despite rising room rates and higher hotel occupancy, guest satisfaction with the hotel industry is up, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2005 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, released last month. The study queried nearly 37,500 guests who stayed in a hotel between December and May, checking on their satisfaction with hotel facilities, food and beverage, costs and fees, reception, guest rooms and hotel services.
According to the survey, consumers rank the top 10 luxury brands as (in order) Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Park Hyatt Hotels, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts, Sofitel, Loews Hotels and W Hotels. The top 10 upscale brands are (in order) Omni Hotels, Embassy Suites Hotels, Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels, Doubletree, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts and Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts.
Omni is noteworthy for vaulting from fifth place in its segment last year to first this year. The study's authors credit Omni's push to offer a convenient in-room experience, such as being the first upscale brand to offer free wireless Internet access in guest rooms. In the luxury segment, Four Seasons repeated its first-place ranking this year.
"As the travel industry continues to rebound from the post 9/11 slump, hotel chains have benefited from the ability to invest significant funds to renovate guest rooms, enhance room amenities and improve food and beverage offerings," said Linda Hirneise, a partner with J.D. Power. "The key is adding the kinds of value-added services guests really want."