Ritz-Carlton Breaks J.D. Power Satisfaction Record; Hyatt, Starwood Absent

by John Harper

Ritz-Carlton blew through the all-time record for hotel customer satisfaction in North America this year, as reported Tuesday by consumer research firm J.D. Power and Associates. Hyatt and Starwood properties are both absent from winnings.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. Photo by Ritz-Carlton.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. Image by Ritz-Carlton.

The Ritz earned top marks in the consumer survey for the fourth year in a row, as the chain’s satisfaction score climbed 14 points from last year, to 902 out of 1000.

Ritz-Carlton is at the top tier of Marriott’s brand group, and rooms can cost well above $500 per night.  It is possible, however, to pay using points rewards and free nights from both Ritz-Carlton and Marriott’s reward programs and card welcome bonuses.

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As with the most comfortable mattress rankings, many of the biggest U.S. hotel brands are absent from this year’s customer satisfaction winnings.

  • In the Upper Upscale category, hotels just below the top “Luxury Category,” Kimpton Hotels beat out Omni, Embassy Suites, Marriott Hotels and Hilton Hotels and Resorts.
  • In the Upscale segment, Hilton Garden Inn bested Hyatt Place, Courtyard by Marriott and SpringHill Suites.
  • Drury Hotels beat out Marriott’s Fairfield brand and Hampton Inn and Suites in the Upper Midscale Segment.
  • Wingate by Wyndham topped La Quinta, Best Western and AmericInn atop the Midscale category.
  • Marriott’s Residence Inn, long the standard-bearer in extended stay hotels, finished last of four hotel chains rated in the Upper Extended Stay segment, behind Hyatt House, Homewood Suites by Hilton and winner Staybridge Suites (Intercontinental Hotel Group).
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton and Marriott’s TownePlace were first and second in the basic Extended Stay segment.

J.D. Power scientifically surveys consumers who have stayed in hotels using 150 question paid surveys. The group says it collected surveys from over 55,000 hotel guests this year.

Guests are also growing nonplussed by new technology offerings, the survey found, as amenities are becoming standard and impacting satisfaction scores less than in recent years.

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Satisfaction in the overall survey reached an all-time high, but travelers this past year were less impressed with hotel customer service.

“The big takeaway from this year’s data is that hotels need to turn their attention to service offerings,” J.D. Power Spokesman Brian Jaklitsch wrote in a summary of the findings. “Satisfaction with (both) product and service offerings continues to go up — but (it’s) happening at a slower pace with service offerings.”

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3 comments

Mfb123 July 24, 2018 - 2:45 pm

Wow, I really don’t understand Hotel market segments. For example, I don’t consider Hilton to be “upper upscale”, in fact, I don’t even consider it to be a direct competitor to Marriott- I consider it a competitor to Sheraton or Holiday Inn (I do however consider Conrad to be upper-upscale). Also, I consider “boutique hotels” like Kimpton to be in their own segment. In regard to the ratings themselves, I can’t believe Residence Inn would come in 4th. I’m not saying they are wrong and I am right, I just don’t get these rating or categories.

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Christian July 25, 2018 - 7:50 am

Agreed. I don’t know enough about how these rankings were set, but some just don’t make sense. Also, while these are supposedly scientifically valid, I’d like to know if the raw data is publicly available and where exactly JD Powers makes their money.

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John July 25, 2018 - 10:59 am

The segments have to do with comparably priced hotels. They essentially cluster the hotels by price, normalized based on fluctuations between different markets. Extended stay is broken out separately, with the different expectations that come with those accommodations.

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