J.D. Power Survey: Cleanliness, Communication Drive Guest Satisfaction

TROY, MI—The J.D. Power 2020 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study found that meeting guest expectations for cleanliness and proactively communicating with guests prior to arrival continue to be critical drivers of guest satisfaction.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly amplified the importance of hotel cleanliness, it has historically been an important focal point for hotel guests,” said Andrea Stokes, hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “In fact, satisfaction with guestroom cleanliness has been climbing steadily for many years, as most hotels already adhered to very high housekeeping standards. The other critical variable for the industry right now is proactive communication with guests—both about the specific steps hotels are taking to protect guests and about any service and amenity limitations due to COVID-19. As we continue to take the pulse of travelers during the pandemic, the ability of hotels to clearly manage guest expectations, both pre-stay and at the property, will be key to maintaining high satisfaction during this difficult period.”

Key findings of the 2020 study include the following:

  • Guestroom cleanliness scores reach record high: Guest satisfaction with the cleanliness of their room increased for a fifth consecutive year, reaching an all-time high rating of 8.53 (on a 10-point scale) in 2020. Room cleanliness is a key driver of satisfaction, as the overall satisfaction score among guests who said they are “delighted” (rating of 10 points) with the cleanliness of the guestroom averaged 942 (on a 1,000-point scale) vs. an overall satisfaction score of 829 among those who were merely “pleased” (rating of 8-9) with the cleanliness of their guestroom.
  • Pre-stay communications create essential opportunity to build trust: Overall satisfaction scores fall 66 points, on average, when no pre-stay communications are received. Based on a separate J.D. Power pulse survey conducted in April, hotel efforts to inform travelers about their specific cleaning and sanitization protocols are among the most important actions hotels can take to make travelers feel comfortable.
  • Need to be up front about limitations: Many hotels across North America are still operating under capacity restrictions and limitations regarding dining areas/restaurants, public pools, fitness centers and spas. It is essential that hotels use pre-stay communications to address any limited services and amenities as well as guest safety requirements. Based on J.D. Power data collected since the beginning of the pandemic, hotel guests understand the challenges faced by the industry and value direct, honest communication now more than ever before.

Study Rankings
The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:

  • Luxury: The Luxury Collection
  • Upper-Upscale: Wyndham Grand Hotels
  • Upscale: Hyatt House
  • Upper-Midscale: Drury Hotels (for a 15th consecutive year)
  • Midscale: Tru by Hilton
  • Economy: SureStay Hotels by Best Western

The 2020 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study, now in its 24th year, analyzes guest responses to more than 150 questions regarding hotel stay experiences and benchmarks the performance of 102 brands across six market segments. This year’s study is based on responses from 37,843 hotel guests for stays between May 2019 and March 2020.