Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts ranked highest luxury hotel chain in guest satisfaction for 2021. This is according to JD Power’s 2021 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study, now in its 25th year, which analyzed guest responses to more than 150 questions regarding branded hotel stay experiences. The study also benchmarks the performance of 104 brands across six market segments. This year’s study is based on responses from 32,963 hotel guests for stays between May 2020 and June 2021.
Covid-19 unarguably raised expectations for travelers when staying in hotels and resorts. Frontline hotel staff had to wear masks and also enforce mask mandates, reminding guests which services were temporarily unavailable due to the pandemic and putting their own health at risk daily. There was also a significant labor shortage in hotels.
Despite these challenges, hotel workers still managed to keep guests happy. The hotel industry overall maintains a strong overall customer satisfaction score, according to the survey.
In addition to Ritz Carlton’s commitment to cleanliness, the hotel chain also offered flexible cancellations for travelers booking a stay at the hotel. Ritz Carlton also launched contactless service, so guests could check-in for their stay through mobile or web, including offering a new and improved app. Ritz Carlton still offers best-rate guarantee, meaning if you find a better rate at the hotel on another site, they will match that rate.
JD Power’s 2021 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study also revealed Hard Rock Hotels ranked highest Upper Upscale brand, while AC Hotels ranked the best in Upscale.
Additional key findings of the 2021 study:
- Hotel staff, flexible cancellation policies save the day in crisis: Overall hotel guest satisfaction across the study is 830 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is unchanged from 2020 and 10 points higher than in 2019. The strong performance is driven in large part by the overall hotel staff experience, which increases slightly in 2021. Hotel guests also had higher satisfaction with value for money, reflecting the reduction in room rates many hotel properties undertook to stimulate demand.
- Satisfaction with breakfast declines: One area that is a major drag on customer satisfaction in the study is breakfast. In all but one hotel segment, guests were particularly dissatisfied with reduced variety and quality—if breakfast was offered at all. Through the study fielding dates, 36% of hotels eliminated buffet-style serving.
- I want my smart TV: During the pandemic, consumers stuck at home increased subscriptions to a variety of streaming entertainment services. It is not surprising, then, that the study shows an increase in demand for smart TVs in hotel rooms. Hotel “need to haves” that have grown the most in importance since 2020 are smart TVs (+9 percentage points), balcony/views (+6 percentage points) and healthy living/wellness amenities (+5 percentage points).
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