Data and analytics provider JD Power’s 2023 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study finds that investments in hiring staff pay dividends for hoteliers.

The study measures overall customer satisfaction based on performance in six areas: communications and connectivity; food and beverage; guest room; hotel facility; staff service and value for price.

The performance of 102 brands is benchmarked across nine market segments and is based on responses from 33,754 hotel guests for stays between May 2022 and May 2023.

High scores for hotel staff linked to low problem incidence

Overall satisfaction with hotel staff is 701 (on a 1,000-point scale), making it the single highest-scoring factor in this year’s study.

Hotel staff also play a key role in avoiding and resolving problems, with 86% of hotel guests saying they experienced no problems during their stay.

The importance of a perfect lobby

Guests’ experience with hotel lobbies and common areas can positively affect overall satisfaction, but this plays out differently in various hotel segments. Among luxury hotel guests, for example, it is important to have a lobby that is modern and unique. In upscale hotels, particularly upscale extended stay hotels, guests are looking for a lobby that is welcoming and inviting.

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Value remains crucial to guest satisfaction

Value for the price paid in quality of service received is the highest priority for hotel guests. Overall satisfaction among guests who rate the value for the price paid of their guest room as excellent or perfect (on a scale of poor to perfect) is 302 points higher than among guests who do not.

Some of the hotel brands that ranked highest in the study’s segments are the Waldorf Astoria, Hard Rock Hotels, Hyatt House and Trademark Collection by Wyndham.

JD Power hospitality practice lead Andrea Stokes comments: “Hotel hiring continues to increase, and leisure and hospitality is the “rock star” among industries reported in monthly US Bureau of Labour Statistics employment figures.

“This boost in hotel staffing is showing up in the form of high customer satisfaction scores. Staff service is now the highest-scoring factor in this study across all hotel segments from economy to luxury, underscoring the critical role that frontline staff play in defining the guest experience.”

Hoteliers must ensure that they provide fair pay and working conditions to retain talented staff and avoid workers’ strikes. Los Angeles recently saw thousands of hotel workers on strike, including cooks, housekeepers, waiters, dishwashers, bellhops and front-desk agents.