Three and a half years after the coronavirus pandemic brought the hospitality industry to a standstill, hotel management companies have begun to pour resources into renovations, maintenance and staff augmentation – and the results are striking.

The recently unveiled JD Power 2023 North America Third Party Hotel Management Guest Satisfaction Benchmark indicates that these investments are already yielding significant dividends, particularly in terms of guest room quality and staff service satisfaction.

In a remarkable turnaround, staffing – which had long been a source of frustration for hotel management companies – has now evolved into one of their strongest assets.

Andrea Stokes, the hospitality practice lead at JD Power, observes this shift with optimism, stating: “In the span of a year, staffing has gone from being the biggest pain point for hotel management companies to one of the greatest strengths.”

Despite ongoing labour shortages, this transformation underscores the industry’s recent commitment to intensify recruitment and training efforts. Guest-staff interactions constitute a pivotal aspect of the hotel experience, and guests are clearly recognising the improved service quality.

Key findings from the 2023 benchmark

The 2023 benchmark offers critical insights into the hospitality landscape, including:

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Anticipation reigns supreme

When it comes to guest interactions with hotel staff, the most crucial performance indicator is the ability to anticipate guests’ needs.

Across all evaluated third-party hotel management companies, hotel staff excelled in meeting this expectation in an impressive 82% of guest interactions.

Lobbies and common areas await transformation

Guests now seek modern and unique designs for hotel lobbies and common areas. But only 13% of branded hotels under review currently meet these criteria, highlighting substantial room for improvement.

Rise of EV charging stations

While excellent Wi-Fi and abundant USB ports remain the top technology features guests desire, the availability of EV charging stations is increasingly influencing hotel selection and satisfaction.

Surprisingly, 19% of hotel guests express the need for an EV charging station, but only 6% have actually used hotel-provided EV charging services.