Jul302012

Upper Upscale Hotel Brand Ratings in J.D. Power 2012 Guest Satisfaction Study

Upper upscale is the sweet spot in my hotel travel. These are the hotels where loyalty programs play a valuable role in reducing the cost of hotel nights while maximizing the hotel loyalty program member’s potential for receiving complimentary room upgrades due to loyalty program elite status.

J.D. Power & Associates conducts an annual North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction survey each year. The 2012 report published last week is the 16th annual report.

The value of the J.D. Power & Associates 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study is the ranking of hotel brands by market segment. Conde Nast ranks hotels in its annual Gold List of the World’s Best Places to Stay. Freddy Awards rank hotel loyalty programs. J.D. Power offers a consumer ranking for hotel brands.

I do not place a great deal of value in most hotel and loyalty program awards, but I do like to follow trends and when the same hotel, hotel brand, hotel chain or hotel loyalty program consistently ranks high or low among guests, then there is a pattern of quality that I tend to notice and experience with actual hotel stays.

J.D. Power & Associates compares hotel brands by seven market segments in their 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study.

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

Upper Upscale Hotel Brands

This Loyalty Traveler post takes a look at the 9 hotel brands in the Upper Upscale hotel brands listed in the J.D. Power survey. These are the hotel brands with sufficient properties to be rated. STR 2012 US Chain Scale lists 32 hotel brands in the Upper Upscale market segment. Most of the upper upscale brands in the STR US chain scale list have fewer than 40 hotels in the U.S.

image

Source: JD Power 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study.

Nine hotel brands are rated in the J.D. Power Hotel Guest Satisfaction survey. The numerical index is too complex to analyze, so I’ll look only at the JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings for each hotel brand.

Power Circle Rating Legend

5 circles = Among the Best

4 circles = Better than Most

3 circles = About Average

2 circles = The Rest

Upper Upscale Hotel Brand Ratings for 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction

 

  • Omni Hotels & Resorts (Omni) = 5 circles
  • Embassy Suites Hotels (Hilton) = 4 circles
  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts (Marriott) = 4 circles
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts (Hilton) = 3 circles
  • Renaissance Hotels (Marriott) = 3 circles
  • Westin Hotels & Resorts (Starwood) = 3 circles
  • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts (Hyatt) = 3 circles
  • DoubleTree by Hilton (Hilton) = 2 circles
  • Sheraton Hotels & Resorts (Starwood) = 2 circles

Firstly, Omni Hotels has a five circle rating.

My first thought: Why is there no rating for Kimpton Hotels? There are 58 Kimpton Hotels in the USA. There are only 44 Omni Hotels in North America.

Many of the other brands like Embassy Suites, Hilton and DoubleTree, Marriott, Westin and Sheraton have 200 to 400 hotels in North America. Renaissance is likely the next closest brand to Omni in a list of fewest North American hotels with around 82 hotels in the US and Canada. Hyatt has about 125 hotels in Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Resorts.

Travelers might want to consider Omni Hotels the next time their hotel deals come up on the Daily Getaways.

Embassy Suites, about 220 hotels mostly in US, receiving a 4-circle rating is no surprise given the average hotel guest is receiving a two-room full suite at an Embassy Suites.

Elite status is the other way to get a suite with your hotel stays at upper upscale brands without paying a higher rate. I find Embassy Suites to be higher than the average price for a comparable upper upscale hotel in many places. The large room space is nice, but you often pay extra for that space.

The added complimentary amenities of an Embassy Suites stay is a popular feature of this brand.

Complimentary Breakfast at Embassy Suites

A big advantage for Embassy Suites that likely results in a higher rating is complimentary hot breakfast and cooked to order. Free breakfast is not a feature for all guests at any of the other upper upscale brands in this JD Power survey.

DC-Day 2 059

Embassy Suites Washington D.C. cooked to order breakfast sign.

Embassy Suites also has an evening reception with hot appetizers and complimentary beverages.

The main drawback for me of Embassy Suites are the number of children. I made a previous comment on my blog about the swimming pool always being full of kids at Embassy Suites hotels. A representative from Embassy Suites contacted me to ask which hotel I was referring to with my comment.

All the Embassy Suites I have been in over the past four years are loaded with kids playing in the swimming pool.

My Embassy Suites visits tend to be on weekends when rates are low and many other travelers are finding the same deals. Embassy Suites can be a great deal for family travel with free breakfast, free evening social, large rooms and a swimming pool for the kids.

Marriott Hotels & Resorts coming out as 4-circles compared to 3-circles for Hilton, Renaissance, Westin and Hyatt is an interesting result to me as a loyalty traveler. I think this ranking would probably get some adjustment with loyalty benefits taken into consideration, however, Marriott Rewards also consistently ranks highest in many other travel awards surveys for hotel guests.

Hotel Guest Room (JD Power 2012 Survey rating)

5 circles

  • Omni Hotels

4 circles

  • Marriott
  • Hilton
  • Embassy Suites (Hilton)
  • Westin (Starwood)

3 circles

  • Hyatt
  • Renaissance (Marriott) 

2 circles

  • DoubleTree (Hilton)
  • Sheraton (Starwood)

Westin, Hyatt and Hilton score high for guest rooms. So what brings the overall score down for these two brands?

Cost is where Hyatt and Westin ranked lowest with only a two-circle rating, along with Sheraton Hotels. People think Westin, Sheraton and Hyatt are expensive.

Hotel Facilities (JD Power 2012 Survey Upper Upscale hotels rating)

5 circles

  • Omni Hotels

4 circles

  • Marriott
  • Renaissance
  • Embassy Suites (Hilton)
  • Westin (Starwood)
  • Hyatt

3 circles

  • Hilton

2 circles

  • DoubleTree (Hilton)
  • Sheraton (Starwood)

Hotel Facilities generally receive high ratings in the upper upscale brands. DoubleTree and Sheraton are the low rated hotels.

I have not been to enough Omni Hotels to determine if I agree with their 5-circle rating for facilities. I liked the facilities with a game room and multiple pools and pool bar at Omni Interlocken.

Aspen-Beaver Creek-CO 051

Omni Interlocken, Broomfield, Colorado

 

Hotel Food & Beverage (JD Power 2012 Survey upper upscale hotels rating)

5 circles

  • Omni Hotels
  • Embassy Suites (Hilton)

4 circles

  • Hilton

3 circles

  • Marriott
  • Renaissance (Marriott)
  • Westin (Starwood)
  • Hyatt

2 circles

  • DoubleTree (Hilton)
  • Sheraton (Starwood)

These are interesting results for Food & Beverage. Is Embassy Suites really better or is it a better ranking due to free breakfast.

Food and beverage is a category where I would be interested in seeing how Kimpton Hotels ranks since restaurants are a major emphasis of the Kimpton Hotel chain.

The JD Power annual hotel guest satisfaction survey is an interesting read, but kind of like the Freddies, FlyerTalk awards, Conde Nast Gold List hotels and other surveys, I find that each hotel stay is different for me and I do not place much value in any hotel brand or loyalty program survey.

I have had great hotel stays at all these brands and some disappointing stays at all these brands. All that really matters to me is how I feel about the specific hotel after my stay.

Loyalty Traveler original post link: http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2012/07/30/upper-upscale-hotel-brand-ratings-in-j-d-power-2012-guest-satisfaction-study/

Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Pingbacks

Comments are closed.