Are Luxury Hotels Always Better?

For the hotel industry, the ACSI measures 10 customer experience elements—from ease of making a reservation and check-in to food services, in-room entertainment and staff courtesy. Across five lodging types (economy, midscale, upscale, upper upscale, and luxury), reservation and check-in processes function well, with scores ranging from 84 for economy to 90 for luxury properties.

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Ratings for loyalty programs, Internet service, and staff courtesy show little variation for midscale through luxury. In fact, staff courtesy for luxury brands ties that of midscale chains at 86. Guest satisfaction among hotel types varies the most when it comes to room cleanliness and comfort, food services, and hotel amenities.

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As expected, luxury hotels come out on top and economy properties at the bottom across nearly all aspects of the customer experience, according to their respective guests. There is opportunity, however, for midscale and upscale properties to create services that offer guests an experience that compares well with upper-upscale and luxury hotels by focusing on the most salient aspects: room quality, food quality and on-site amenities such as pools, fitness rooms and business centers.

Read more about the hotel industry in the ACSI October 2013 e-newsletter article, Marriott Hospitality Shines in New Hotel Brand Study.

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Can Hotels Make Guests Happy Across Diverse Brand Portfolios?

For several years, the hotel industry has been a fairly steady performer when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to ACSI research. From 2008 to 2010, guest satisfaction with hotels was stable at 75 (on a 0 to 100 scale). Next came three straight years at 77—a record high for the industry, but middling compared with the national ACSI average of 76.5.

The hotel industry’s flat trend, however, masks differences in the customer experience offered by some of the biggest names by market share in lodging. More upscale hoteliers tend to dominate the category, with Marriott in the top spot this year at 82, followed closely by Hilton 80. Budget-conscious chains such as Choice Hotels (75) and Wyndham Worldwide (72) comprise the lower end of the industry.

But many of these corporations are home to diverse lodging brands—from upscale resorts to midrange business-oriented properties to family-friendly budget brands. For instance, Marriott owns JW Marriott, a luxury hotel chain, alongside Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, a midscale brand. Hilton, also know for its resorts, offers Hilton Garden Inn, an upscale property with appeal to both business and leisure travelers.

Next month, the ACSI will uncover the customer satisfaction differences—or lack thereof—among two dozen of the most popular hotel brands that come under the aegis of Choice Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, and more. The new study has the potential to reveal strengths and weaknesses within the brand portfolios of major hotel chains, as well as facilitate comparisons between competitors at the brand level.

 Read About ACSI Hotel Brand Study  »