Travelers' Declining Satisfaction

Travelers' Declining Satisfaction

The customer satisfaction index for airlines is at 63 percent, its lowest level in seven years and even lower than the IRS at 65 percent, according to a customer satisfaction survey released by the University of Michigan. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), on a scale of 1 to 100, is up overall for all the industries by a small margin, but the score for airlines fell by three percent. Delta’s ACSI fell eight percent to a less than stellar 59 percent. Citing Delta’s recent struggle and emergence from Chapter 11, the report states, “…it is very difficult to reduce labor costs and increase customer satisfaction.” United had an even larger reduction in satisfaction — down 11 percent to 56 — and is the lowest scoring airline. The report goes so far as to say that numbers such as these — in the 50s — are not sustainable and that although Delta and United may be out of bankruptcy, they are facing more problems with passengers and, “Unless these problems are resolved, the future does not look bright.” Southwest was the bright star in the report with a three percent rise to 76, leading airlines in passenger satisfaction and profitability. Continental Airlines also gained in customer satisfaction.

Airlines were not alone in falling satisfaction — the ACSI for hotels is down five percent to 71, the lowest score since 2002. Marriott is the exception here with a five percent increase to an impressive 79 percent — that hotel’s best score since 1994. Cites the report, “While the hotel’s guests consider value for money about the same as last year, they deem the quality of Marriott’s services to be significantly improved.”

Earlier this year, about 20,000 people were asked to rate their level of satisfaction as customers of companies in a variety of industries, including airline and hotel. Those surveyed were asked questions about overall satisfaction, intention to be a repeat customer and perception of quality, value and expectations.

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