Hilton Passes Marriott in Customer Satisfaction, Hyatt Plunges

asciLogoIn the newest results (First Quarter 2009, released May 19, 2009), The American Customer Satisfaction Index is reporting that Hilton Hotels has passed Marriott Hotels in customer satisfaction.  The ACSI ranks different types of businesses each quarter in customer satisfaction.  This quarter they ranked hotels, airlines, cable television, fast food, and utility companies.  The hotel scores come out once per year.  You can read the full report at their website.

Hilton scored a 79 (a 1 percent increase) while Marriott scored a 77 (a 1 percent decrease).  Hyatt’s scores have plunged 5 percent since last year and now two budget brands (Choice Hotels and Best Western) actually scored higher.  Wyndham scored the worst of any hotel.  Here are the 2009 rankings from best to worst:

  1. Hilton
  2. Marriott
  3. Choice Hotels
  4. Best Western
  5. InterContinental
  6. Hyatt
  7. Starwood
  8. Wyndham

Overall, despite the rough times that hotels have faced in the last year, the average score in the industry remains unchanged.  However, that is mainly due to guest’s satisfaction with the budget hotels.  Both Choice Hotels and Best Western had a 7 percent increase since last year.

Our take:  Guest are certainly demanding more and it shows.  While it is great to see that overall satisfaction is unchanged, it is tough to see that the budget brands are passing the luxury hotels.  Once luxury brands lose guests to budget brands, it is very difficult to get them back.  What do you think?  Is your hotel losing guests to another brand?  Post your comments below!

TrueGuest Service Tips for Every Hotel!

Logo_Mark-Five_Diamond_Hospitality copy2We are very fortunate to be able to stay at some of the top hotels, including some amazing five diamond properties.  While your hotel may not have the staffing budget of a five diamond hotel, there are still plenty of service tips that everyone can learn from the five diamonds.

Here are some tips for providing five diamond service that does not cost much:

  1. Teach all of your associates the phrase ‘my pleasure’:  When a guest says ‘thank you’, associates at top properties always respond with ‘it is my pleasure’.  Other properties respond with ‘you’re welcome’ or ‘no problem’.
  2. Every associate must be guest focused instead of task focused:  At a three diamond hotel, a housekeeper held up the elevator that I was in to wait for her friend so they could go to lunch together.  The next day at a five diamond, an engineer who happened to be walking near an elevator saw me walking down the hallway and automatically pressed the elevator button.  The engineer was aware of my need as a guest.  The housekeeper was only aware of her own need for a lunch break.

What is Your Hotel’s Internet Reputation?

Ever watch someone under 30 book a hotel room?  They fire up the internet and go to a site like expedia.com or hotels.com and do a search of the city they are traveling to.  Then they narrow their choices to a handful of hotels that fit their budget.  Then the fun really starts.  People who have spent the last decade on the internet know how to get the most out of it.  No 25 year old is going to trust that 4 star rating that Expedia gave your hotel.  They don’t believe that your hotel was ‘hotel of the year’ for the last five years as stated on your website.  They are going to see what actual people (well, internet people anyway) have to say.

IE_logTheir decision to stay at your hotel starts with a quick review of your website.  Does it have a pool?  Check.  Steakhouse?  Got it.  Gym?  Ok.  They take your hotel into consideration.  But is it better than the hotel down the street that has the similar rates?

A quick Google search will tell them what they need to know.  They read the reviews on tripadvisor.com.  Maybe they check out yelp.com or read your Yahoo Travel ratings.  Oh, Mary from Iowa says your staff is rude and your food is lousy.  Three people say that your hotel lost their reservations and two people say that they were overcharged during their stay.

You just lost a reservation.

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Restaurant Menu Engineering

menuTake a break from working on your budget to catch up on a new law that will have a huge impact on your gross operating profit . As you may have already read, on September 12th, 2006 Governor Schwarzenegger approved a bill to increase the minimum wage. The bill calls for two raises to the minimum wage over the next year and a half as follows:

-On January 1, 2007, the minimum wage for California will increase from $6.75 per hour to $7.50 per hour.

-On January 1, 2008, the minimum wage for California will increase an additional 50 cents to $8.00 per hour.

To read the bill, click on the following link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/IWC/iwc.html

The biggest area the new law will impact is in the hotel’s food and beverage departments. Most restaurants only make a profit of about 10 percent. With server and bartender labor to increase 11 percent to $7.50, it could easily squeeze out the entire profit. Hotels with high benefits (especially high workers comp rates) will be hit the hardest. Now is the time to examine your menus and consider any price increases. There is a great article on menu engineering available at http://www.restaurantowner.com/public/330.cfm . There is also a menu engineering worksheet available for download to help you out. It is also a great time to examine your labor productivity. Make sure that you have a productivity number for each position and those numbers are used to forecast, schedule and report each week.

The earlier that you can prepare for the increase, the easier it will be to absorb the expense. It is critical to examine what positions that it will affect and have a plan for them. Typically any position under $10.00 per hour will be affected by this minimum wage increase. You may want to consider raising the wages on those positions immediately rather than waiting until January 1st. As the word about the minimum wage increase gets around, employees will start looking around to see what other hotels are paying. The hotels who wait until January 1st could risk losing some good employees to their competitors. Also, a large increase before the government requires could be a great boost for moral, especially in December when hotels are slow and work is scarce.

Link provided with permission from RestaurantOwner.com. For more information, visit http://www.restaurantowner.com/.