What can hotel chains learn from American Customer Satisfaction Travel Report 2020-2021
There are some very interesting observations from the American Customer Satisfaction Travel Report 2020-2021 report produced by theacsi.org, it is interesting to note the drivers of customer satisfaction in the hospitality sector through the years 2020 and 2021 given the disruption and new normal arising out of covid-19.
The report itself covers four industries – Airlines, Hotels, Car Rentals and Internet Travel Services (ITS) basically the entire ecosystem representing travel for leisure and business. Interestingly through the pandemic among the four industries, Airlines is the only one to keep customer satisfaction moving in a positive direction.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index a national cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction in the United States. The ACSI itself was co-founded by the Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality and Claes Fornell International Group.
Summary & key observations: learnings from the report is transferable to global hotel chains
– Overall guest satisfaction for Hotels declined by 3 ACSI points from 76 to 73 when compared to Airlines where 1 ACSI point was gained from 75 to 76
– The leaders (top 5-8 hotels) all have posted ACSI score decline of 3%
– The key influencers of guest experience continue to be as listed below:
o reservation process
o check-in process
o reliability of mobile app (minimal down time, crashes, lags)
o quality of mobile app/websites
o courtesy and helpfulness of hotel staff
– Interestingly the above influencers to the acsi score are exactly relevant to Airlines
– Internet Travel Services customer satisfaction declined by 2 ACSI points from 76 to 74
– The way Internet Travel Services added value was through functionality of comparison and filter tools, variety options, site generated recommendations, customer-generated reviews, cancellation policy.
5 things hotel chains & hoteliers can do to make the most of upcoming holiday season
o Encourage direct booking, provide convenience similar as ITS (comparison/ease).
Minimize distance between hotel and guest by reducing booking via ITS, use latest pictures, provide greater level of description, facilitate instant responses and make it easy to pay/modify. (Use the opportunity to learn more about guest)
o Pay attention, simplify website & mobile app, particularly reservation & check-in.
Focus on convenience- number of clicks to achieve a task, user experience/speed
o Provide control to guest to configure his/her own experience all the way from booking to beyond checkout. i.e., enable customization, let the guest choose how each day of the vacation is (including events/food/travel/experience so on).
o Innovate packages and products, apply ‘customer-centricity’ and hyper-personalize your offer based on specific/unmet needs of your customer segment.
o Loyalty Programs – develop unique transparent propositions for repeat customers