Market Metrix, a provider of market research services for the hospitality industry, has released the results of the Market Metrix Hospitality Index for the first quarter of 2006. Drury Inns, JetBlue Airways and Enterprise Rent-A-Car ranked number one in hotel, airline and rental car industry customer satisfaction, respectively.
This is the first time that Drury Inns has won top honors in customer satisfaction for the hotel industry. With higher satisfaction scores than much pricier hotels, guests rave about the personal treatment they experience with such comments as “the front desk clerk remembered me by name, and that was a great feeling” and “they called me sir even though I was wearing blue jeans and a flannel shirt.”
One of the key measures used by Market Metrix to evaluate brand loyalty is called Loyalty Program Effectiveness. This measure identifies the amount of influence a loyalty program exerts in hotel selection. Some guests will go to great lengths to stay at a hotel that contributes to their member benefits while other programs are less effective in their mission to persuade guests and change behavior.
Evaluating annual results for this measure shows that it has grown in importance over the last several years. In 2002, 32 percent of guests said that the loyalty program was a key factor in deciding where to stay; in 2005, 34 percent of guests said that it was a key factor. The most effective program in the industry, and the most improved, is Hilton HHonors. HHonors program effectiveness has grown from 34 percent in 2002 to 39 percent in 2005. Marriott has the next highest effectiveness at 38 percent. Cendant’s has seen the largest decline (7 percent) over the same period, though some of that decline may simply be confusion over the merger of various smaller programs into the cross-brand TripRewards program.
The top ten brand programs are all part of just three hotel companies: Hilton Hotels Corp. (Hilton HHonors), Marriott International (Marriott Rewards) and Choice Hotels International (Choice Privileges). Homewood Suites, a Hilton brand, ranked first in Program Effectiveness with 40.5 percent. This indicates that 40.5 percent of HHonors members who stay frequently at Homewood Suites said their membership was “Very important” in selecting where to stay. Hilton Garden Inn was second and Fairfield Inn by Marriott was third.
The Market Metrix Hospitality Index is a quarterly report of customer satisfaction with hotel, airline and car rental companies based on 35,000 in-depth consumer interviews. The MMHI ranks top hospitality brands by industry and, for hotels, by categories such as luxury, mid-price and economy.