Hotel Management: Strong occupancy and higher ADR lead to lower guest satisfaction?

MarketMetrixWEBGreat post today from hotelmanagment.net: the higher the ADR and occupancy, the lower your guest satisfaction scores will be.  From the article:

Global customer satisfaction with hospitality experiences continued to decline during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to new data released by Market Metrix.  Customer satisfaction scores declined two tenths of a point in the Americas during the fourth quarter, and seven tenths of a point versus the same period a year ago. Scores also declined in Europe. Strengthening occupancy and higher prices during this period appear to be the likely reasons.

We easily spotted this trend starting in about 2008.  As soon as the economy struggled and hotel rates plummeted, guest satisfaction shot right up.  Many of the numbers reported by JD Power were record highs.  It turns out that people love a great deal.  From the article:

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JD Power: Following Two Years of Declines, Hotel Guest Satisfaction Increases to a Seven-Year High

JD Power LogoThe new JD Power 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study have just been released.  After two years of declines, hotel guest satisfaction increases to a seven-year high.  From the press release:

Overall guest satisfaction averages 777 on a 1,000-point scale, up 20 points from 2012. This marks the highest satisfaction index score for the hotel industry since the introduction of the current study methodology in 2006. Satisfaction has increased in all seven factors, with the largest increases in reservation, cost and fees, and check-in/check-out.  

“The fact that guest satisfaction has turned a corner is great news for an industry that has struggled to sufficiently meet guest expectations in the past few years,” said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “Many hotel chains are finally benefitting from the long-term investments they have been making to improve their properties in terms of staffing, rooms and facilities. Furthermore, cost and fees satisfaction has increased while the factor has simultaneously declined in relative importance to overall satisfaction across all segments, indicating reduced price sensitivity among guests. These are all positive changes for the industry.”

Once again, The Ritz-Carlton claimed the top spot for the luxury brands.  Here are the top ranking hotels by division:

Hotel Guest Satisfaction Posts a Huge Decline in JD Power 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Survey

Overall guest satisfaction has declined to 757 (out of 1000) in the most recent JD Power Hotel Guest Satisfaction rankings, a drop of 7 points since last year.  A decline is to be somewhat expected as hotels continue to post higher and higher average room rates.  However, the JW Power survey really shows some key areas of struggle.  From the press release:

“However, guest satisfaction with the underlying experience has deteriorated much more than this score suggests, as relatively high levels of satisfaction with cost and fees mask declines in other areas of the guest experience. Satisfaction with check-in/check-out; food and beverage; hotel services; and hotel facilities are at new lows since the 2006 study and satisfaction with guest room has declined within one point of its lowest level in the past seven years.”

The problems are much more than high rates and poor internet.  Surprisingly, only 56 percent of hotel guests have a high opinion of the staff.  From the press release:

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Tripadvisor.com’s Reviews Called Into Question

If you have been following our blog for a while, you probably remember an article that we posted a little over a year ago on how to maintain your hotel’s internet reputation.  In the article, we stressed how important it is to check out your hotel’s reviews on various websites like tripadvisor.com.  We also praised tripadvisor for allowing hotels to recover guests by contacting them after they post a poor review and we suggested that you work to improve your tripadvisor rating.

trip-advisor-logo-tnIt appears that many hotels have taken our advice to far and are now manipulating their tripadvisor ratings by posting fake reviews.  Check out this terrific article by Jason Cochran titled ‘Is TripAdvisor.com One Big Joke?’  His article mentions that tripadvisor has had to place disclaimers on at least 92 hotel pages because they believe the hotels ‘may have attempted to manipulate our popularity index by interfering with the unbiased nature of our reviews’. 

The authors provides some great tips for people to interpret user-review sites.  One tip he has is ‘If a hotel’s managment consistently responds to negative reviews, take it as a promising sign that testifies to their attention to service’. 

Continue maintaining your hotel’s internet reputation!  But do it legitimately please!