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Over the past several years, hoteliers have made tremendous strides in meeting the needs of guests. Previous issues that proved to be bothersome, such as booking reservations, check-in/check-out and other fees, no longer cause friction for travelers.

According to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates, guests are now more satisfied than they’ve been in seven years with their home-away-from-home experiences at the nation’s hotels.  In addition, since 2012, this happiness ratio has jumped 20 points, even with guests not minding that that are now being charged 5 percent more for their rooms and services.

The study also found that the happiest travelers are those who examined online hotel reviews and articles about their chosen hotels prior to booking.

However, it wasn’t all good news. One area where guests are still dissatisfied is Internet usage and availability.  Slow Internet speeds; lack of availability and spotty connectivity caused the most dissatisfaction for guests.  In addition, being charged for Internet usage, especially when it is free in so many public places, turned off many guests.

We would like to congratulate the top hotels from this study, which include:

  • Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (for a fourth consecutive year)
  • Upper upscale: Kimpton Hotels
  • Upscale: Hyatt Place
  • Midscale full service: Holiday Inn (for a third consecutive year)
  • Midscale: Drury Hotels (for an eighth consecutive year)
  • Economy/budget: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham
  • Upper extended stay: Homewood Suites
  • Extended stay: TownePlace Suites

While this news is certainly encouraging for the hospitality industry, we believe that it is a sign that more can be done when it comes to innovations.  From enhanced usage of mobile solutions to next-generation concierge services, it is possible to make guest even happier with technology.

Just as technologies evolve at a rapid pace, so too can hoteliers when it comes to being on the cutting-edge of delivering services that completely reduce all friction for guests and builds long-term brand loyalty – which is often hard to establish and maintain in the travel industry.