Indian hotel chain tops satisfaction rankings
With occupancy and average revenue falling in 2009, customer satisfaction held its own during a tumultuous year (+0.4 to 82.8), according to the latest annual Hospitality Index published by customer feedback company Market Metrix.
Satisfaction with airlines increased slightly (+1.0 to 78.7) but declined among rental cars companies (-0.9 to 78.4). India-based Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, Virgin Atlantic, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car ranked number one in hotel, airline, and rental car industry customer satisfaction, respectively in 2009.
With revenues plummeting in 2009, hotel companies focused on making their loyalty programs more attractive — and Market Matrix says it worked. The percentage of rooms filled by loyalty program members increased 5 percent in 2009 (to 35%), which is a positive trend for hotels as these customers tend to spend a little more during their stay. The increase was higher among upscale casinos (+9.2% to 45%) and upscale hotels (+5.4% to 40%) with The Venetian, Novotel and SuperClubs posting the biggest gains.
Comparing performance across the hospitality industry
In 2009, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, an Indian brand associated with ultra luxury hotels, earned the highest customer satisfaction score among all hotels (93.7). Midscale without food and beverage (+0.5 to 84.0) improved more than any other segment in 2009 with Drury Inns earning the top score (90.9) and Lees Inns of America, Inc. showing the biggest improvement (+4.4 to 79.6). Among all hotels, the brands with the biggest improvement include McIntosh Inns, Inc. (+8.1 to 75.0), Red Carpet Inns (+6.3 to 79.9) and Husa Hotels (+5.8 to 82.3). Brands that did not fare as well include Gaylord Entertainment (-4.9 to 83.6), and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts (-2.1 to 87.6).
Passenger satisfaction with airlines improved slightly in 2009 despite the struggling economy. High volatility in fuel prices, indifferent service, labor problems, congested airports, and financial challenges have plagued the industry for a long time and even with the current improvement, airlines remain the lowest scoring industry in the MMHI. Virgin Atlantic (86.8) was the top scoring airline for the second year in a row. British Airlines jumped from 7th to 2nd place with an impressive gain (+5.5 to 86.1) and JetBlue received the highest customer loyalty score with 83% of passengers stating they are very likely to book another flight on the airline.
The car rental industry continues to face a difficult operating environment with fewer people renting cars and rising costs. Increased excise taxes imposed by local and state governments and fleet reductions that decrease consumer options, have further impacted the perceived value of renting cars. Alamo (+0.9 to 77.4) showed the biggest improvement in customer satisfaction while Thrifty (-2.8 to 76.6) and Payless (-2.8 to 72.8) showed the biggest declines. Enterprise continues their industry dominance with overall satisfaction and loyalty scores well above competitors.
Market Metrix Hospitality Index – 2009 Winners
Oberoi Hotels and Resorts 93.7 Luxury
Kimpton Hotels 92.1 Upper Upscale
Hyatt Summerfield Suites 90.2 Upscale
Barcelo Hotels & Resorts 82.9 Midscale w/ F&B
Drury Inns 90.9 Midscale w/o F&B
Jameson Inns 85.6 Economy
Wynn Las Vegas 92.0 Upscale casino
South Point Hotel Casino Spa 87.6 Casino
Four Points 90.2 Hotel Brand Web Site
Hotwire.com 78.6 Hotel Travel Web Site
Virgin Atlantic 86.8 Airline
Enterprise 81.9 Car Rental
Disney Vacation Club 89.8 Timeshare Accommodations
Based on 35,000 customer interviews conducted each quarter, the Market Metrix Hospitality Index (MMHI) measures hospitality company performance. The annual MMHI Awards calculate their results by STAR segment, AAA classification, Brand, SMSA, industry averages, performers in the top 10% and other classifications.