HILTON SCORES WITH J.D. POWER

Three Hilton brands — Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites — were tops in their segments in the most recent guest satisfaction ratings done by J.D. Power and Associates. Hilton Garden Inn took top honors in the midscale full-service segment, while Embassy Suites was tops in upscale and Homewood Suites in extended stay.

Other segment winners were Ritz-Carlton, luxury; Drury Inns & Suites, midscale limited-service; and Microtel Inns & Suites, economy/budget. Both Hilton Garden Inn and Microtel ranked highest in their segments for the sixth consecutive year.

J.D. Power surveyed more than 47,000 hotel guests and used seven measures to determine overall guest satisfaction: reservations, check-in/check-out, guestroom, food and beverage, hotel services, hotel facilities and costs and fees. Issues with staff attitude and staff service were the most frequently mentioned problems by hotel guests, especially those staying in luxury properties. One in five luxury hotel customers said they experienced a significant service issue during their stays.

“With the hotel industry rapidly approaching product and price parity, the key differentiator between a good hotel experience and a truly outstanding one is the quality of service delivered by the hotel staff,” said Linda Hirneise, executive director of the travel practice at J.D. Power.

The company also surveyed hotel guests on several important traveler issues, including the environment, safety and no-smoking policies. Most of those questioned said they willingly participate in hotel green programs if they are made aware of them. And 86 percent of those who don't participate say they would if offered a reward to do so.

Nearly all hotel guests (97 percent) say they feel safe while traveling in North America. The figure falls to 66 percent for hotel guests traveling outside of North America. More than 80 percent of respondents said they prefer a smoke-free environment in hotels.

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