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Last week, Hotels.com released their most recent HPI--Hotel Price Index--a bi-annual survey of hotel prices in major cities across the world. And if you thought your last hotel stay was kinda expensive, you're totally right, room rates are really going up.
The HPI , which tracks the real prices paid per hotel room room, per night (and not the hotel's advertised rates) on Hotels.com, found that room rates increased 3 percent around the world during 2013, when compared with 2012. That might seem small but remember, they're talking about hotels in 85 countries.
Interestingly, rates in North America increased by 3 percent as well while Europe increased slightly by 2 percent. Latin America and the Caribbean jumped 5 percent while Asia, where we've seen a monster hotel boom in recent years, was down 2 percent.
But when it comes to where U.S. hotel guests paid the most is when things get interesting.
To no surprise, a recent study revealed that travelers from different nations are satisfied by different services and amenities. Yeah, we know.. shocker!
But, these differences and preferences are important to understanding the big picture of hotel operations. Check this out:
Guests in all nations looked at location first... And most said price was the number-two item for selecting a hotel. But guests in Italy put reputation in second place, and those from Spain relied on their previous experience as the second criterion. Package deals were important for hotel guests in Japan, but not for those from other nations.
The answer? TRUE.
We tend to do a lot of griping here about hotel WiFi--the cost of it and the speed of it--but there's another reason why guests may leave a hotel ticked off--noise.
Online hotel reputation management experts, ReviewPro, have found that noise is the most common complaint in online hotel reviews for 20 cities. And you know what? We totally believe it because we've found ourselves using the white noise app on our phone more frequently during hotel stays.
ReviewPro did some serious number crunching and review-site trawling to come up with these findings. They analyzed 2,532,461 consumer reviews published during the prior 12 months for 5,683 hotels in the following cities: Athens, Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Cape Town, Dublin, Istanbul, London, Lyon, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico City, Milan, Moscow, New Delhi, Paris, Rome, Saint Petersburg and Sydney.
Interestingly, Cape Town had the best average online reputation followed by Melbourne and St. Petersburg. London and Rome, however, were below average. Eep. But also, not surprising.
After noise, complaints about elevators and smells ranked 2nd and 3rd. After that, air conditioning and heating systems were also given twice as many negative mentions as WiFi.
According to a study conducted by J.D. Power, hotel guest satisfaction is the highest it's been in seven years after two years of declining scores.
The study was rather extensive, considering seven factors across seven segments, all of which saw increased satisfaction: reservation, check-in/check-out, guest room, food and beverage, hotel services, hotel facilities, and cost and fees in the luxury, upper upscale, upscale, midscale full service, midscale, economy/budget, upper extended stay, and extended stay markets.
What's impressive to us about these high scores is the fact that this spike has occurred in spite of steadily increasing rates. According to Forbes, hotel rates have rose 5% this year alone, and we know all about those pesky add-ons like resort fees. Interestingly enough, the study does not go into any particular reasons for the customer satisfaction increase. Rather, it rates properties individually across the aforementioned categories. The reason on a whole, it seems, is still somewhat of a mystery.
That said, it does bring up a few correlations from the data that seem to be associated with happy guests. For example, the study said that a guest's level of interaction with the hotel staff was directly tied to their satisfaction, finding that those who had four or more interactions were the most pleased about their stay. The study also goes out of its way to mention that an interaction with the check-in staff is not included in that number. It seems that, despite this contributor's best effort to advocate for face-to-face check in, people are getting along just fine without it.
We know you love you some room service, whether it's a quick snack, breakfast, or one of those nights you don't feel like dealing with anyone. But man, should the hotels just do us all a favor and call us suckers up front when we place the order, or should they wait until checkout?
Yes, the day of the deal is indeed past us, a fact proven by a recent TripAdvisor room service survey that compared the costs of common items and services that travelers purchase when staying in a hotel. The survey looked at the prices of items such as a club sandwich, an airplane bottle of liquor, a can of coke, a bottle of water, peanuts, and dry cleaning.
Among U.S. cities in the survey, Denver and Dallas came in as the best value while Vegas and Honolulu were the most expensive. You could expect things such as the latter, but there were some surprises, like the fact that New York City has the cheapest peanuts and an airplane bottle of vodka is approaching $19 in Vegas (Okay, maybe we’re more annoyed than surprised by that).
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"How do you choose a hotel? By the quality of service? The view? What your friends might think? How about the water pressure in the shower?"
These are questions Boston-based, global PR firm Brodeur Partners is trying to answer via a new market research study, dubbed the "Hospitality Relevance Audit," that "looks into the heart of what really matters in online conversations about hotel choice."
The firm conducted the study with the help of the technical wizardy of MavenMagnet, a company whose knack is "leveraging the power of online conversations."
The study analyzed ten popular hotel brands based on a unique "Conversational Relevance(TM)" scale . It quantifies A) how much people are talking about a brand and B) how impactful and positive that conversation is; sifting through more than 18,000 "online conversations" (wait, are they spying on us?!) from May - October 2012 across social networks, profiles, forums, news sites and blogs.
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The latest J.D. Power & Associates report on hotels is out and it's kinda troubling.
The 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study measures overall hotel guest satisfaction across seven different types of hotels--ranging from luxury to economy/budget and extended stay. Within those groupings, seven key measures are also examined ranging from reservations to hotel services and most importantly, costs and fees.
This year, the overall guest satisfaction rating has slid down to 757 (out of a 1,000-point scale), down about seven points from last year. That doesn't sound too bad but J.D. Power points out that guest satisfaction with check-in and check-out, food and beverage, hotel services and hotel facilities are at new lows since 2006. Also, guest satisfaction with the guest room has sunk to within one point of its lowest level in the past seven years.
Making all this new research even grimmer is that hotel rates are rising--meaning that we hotel guests are getting charged more for worse service. Ugh.
Well it looks like all our hotel WiFi bellyaching the other week paid off. In addition to getting tons of awesome feedback from you all here on the site and over on our Twitter page, another major resort brand is now in the process of switching to free wireless internet for all guests.
We're talking about Disney.
Having polled over 10,000 hotel guests over the past year on the amenities they would most like to see added to all Disney hotels, free WiFi (not surprisingly) came out at the top of the list. And while the company alleges that they had planned to install it all along (yeah, yeah), they've now committed to rewiring all the resorts stat.
Yesterday we dished on a new survey that said online reviews are mostly positive but today with the release of the newest J.D. Power and Associates annual hotel survey, overall guest satisfaction has apparently dropped off. Huh?
But wait, it gets even more confusing. The survey also reports that guest satisfaction with room rates and fees have increased as have occupancy rates. This actually strikes us as strange because we've been seeing a lot of silly new fees implemented at hotels lately, coupled with the usual suspects like resort fees, internet charges and parking. But apparently, you all don't mind about that.
However, you are displeased with the other parts of your hotel stay from the hotel facilities and operations to services. But there could be a reason for that.
Motel 6 really wanted to know what we thought of this room
We always had Motel 6 down as a wham, bam, thank you kinda place to stay. You pays your $35.99 (one person), you gets your (grubby) room key, and the next morning you high tail it outta there, hoping you left the cooties in the bed.
That’s what we did recently, anyway, at the Motel 6 in Pueblo, Colorado. Our room smelt odd, the covers were pretty grim, they tried to charge us more than they should have (they allocated us a studio rather than a room, when we’d asked for a room) and it was, all in all, not the nicest motel we’d ever been in.
The next day, we didn’t even bother handing in our key at reception. We just got the hell out (along with the local gun show folks, who’d been filling the beds the night before).
We thought no more of it until the next day, when we got an email from Motel 6, asking us to fill in a survey about our stay. Which we ignored.
Then, five days later, we got another email. This time it said, plaintively:
We noticed that you did not have time to complete the survey. We are concerned that you may not have responded because we have somehow failed to live up to your expectations. At Accor Hotels, we are committed to providing a superior guest experience to each and every one of our customers. Please take a few minutes to tell us how well we met your expectations.
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We got this room at the Affinia Chicago for $159 a night. And we liked it!
A new report released by J.D. Power & Associates says hotel guests are more satisfied this year with their hotel stays and hoteliers have reasonable room rates to thank for that.
Because of the recession, hotels have had to drop room rates and as we've known here at HotelChatter for quite some time, when we get good deals on rooms, we're happier guests. Also thanks to the recession, hotels have had lower occupancy levels so more guests have gotten room upgrades at check-in. J.D. Powers' Mark Schwartz told the LA Times:
“If occupancy is lower, we find satisfaction with the speed of check-in is higher,” he said. “Guests are spending less time in line, are less likely to face overbooking and are more likely to be able to get an upgrade because more rooms are available.”
And guests are probably happier because hotels are rolling out all sorts of new amenities and services to keep them happy, from free WiFi to wine-tastings to cool in-room technology and upgraded lobby cafes.
Now that we've had a chance to pour over Conde Nast's Readers' Choice Awards, we noticed an Oregon hotel that didn't pop up when we wandered through the Oregon Hotel Trail. The Stephanie Inn, say CNT's readers, is the third best hotel in the country, after the Chicago outposts of the Ritz-Carlton and The Peninsula.
So what makes it so special? Good question: CN Traveler doesn't spell out any details. And the survey is just a numerical ranking, leaving us curious as to what makes the Stephanie so praiseworthy. On Tripadvisor, reviewers come to a consensus:
This Inn is probably great if you can pay $600/night for a view room. It is also great if you like a lot of pretension. You will see more people here in slacks than in beach clothes and we were definitely the youngest people there.
The Stephanie certainly has a great view of Haystack Rock, but aside from that, we're just not seeing the appeal. Also, how can a hotel not have online reservations??