Hotels Get Report Card

Hotel guests rank wireless Internet and free breakfast as must-have amenities, and prefer smoke-free rooms by a wide majority.

These are findings from the just -released J.D. Power and Associates 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, which also finds guest satisfaction improved this year over last in all segments of the hotel industry.

"Many hotel chains were able to sustain relatively high satisfaction levels during the previous 12 months, despite contending with revenue declines and cost pressures caused by the economic downturn," says Mark Schwartz, director of the global hospitality and travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates, in a prepared statement.

Hotel brands that ranked highest in their respective areas in the study are The Ritz-Carlton (luxury), Omni Hotels & Resorts (upscale), Hilton Garden Inn (mid-scale full service), Drury Inn and Suites (mid-scale limited service), Microtel Inns & Suites (economy/budget) and Homewood Suites (extended stay).

Other key findings in the study include that 58 percent of hotel guests now make their reservations online, up from 54 percent last year. And they are most likely to book on the hotel brand's website.

Schwartz says twice as many guests experienced problems with their reservation when booking through independent sites as compared to hotel brand websites.

The top-five desired amenities for hotel guests are wireless Internet access, complimentary breakfast, bedding and pillow choices, pillow-top mattresses and free parking, the survey finds.

Seventy-seven percent of guests say they use Wi-Fi rather than cable Internet connections in their guest room.

"Trending indicates that guests are starting to expect wireless Internet access in their hotel rooms," says Schwartz. "In today's digitally connected world, being able to use mobile devices or computers without interruption is considered a comfort of home that should extend to the hotel experience."

Hotel guests also indicated by a vast majority (87 percent) that they prefer a smoke-free environment.

The study is based on responses from more than 53,000 guests who stayed in a hotel between May 2009 and June 2010.

For all the hotel brand ratings, click here.

Photo, pspechtenhauser, flickr
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