It’s one of the great ironies of social networking that companies, in this case hotels, hire top marketing research firms and pay them big bucks to determine customer needs and levels of satisfaction.
Instead, the hotels should really spend more time reading the comments posted to their sites or blogs and get no-cost, real-world, real-time insights from the groundswell, the community.
In this case, AOL Travel reports that guest satisfaction with hotels was higher this year than last, and that in spite of the dismal economy, many hotel chains sustained “relatively high levels of customer satisfaction.”
The information comes from a JD Power and Associate’s 2010 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.
The report also listed the top-five desired amenities for hotel guests:
• Wireless Internet access
• Complimentary breakfast
• Bedding and pillow choices
• Pillow-top mattresses
• Free parking
But a quick glance at the comments accompanying the AOL article says much more.
One writer wrote that she “could care less about wi-fi.”
What she wants is a “good size room, a jacuzzi tub, and free breakfast that is better than just pastry, and powdered milk for your coffee. An exercise room is good too. And a heated indoor pool.”
Another make it clear he will stay in no hotel “unless the windows open a few inches.” Forget the pillows and mediocre breakfasts, he says, “give me an open window.”
While Wi Fi Internet access does seem to be a priority among guests, one comment asks the hotels to stop “picking our pockets” and make it free, while another said he had to sit in the parking lot of a local cafe to get reliable Wi Fi because the hotel’s was too spotty.
None of these attitudes apparently made it into the study. And it’s odd that location and price didn’t show up, considered critical in choosing a hotel.
Then of course there’s the basic question, why does anyone go to a hotel in the first place?
The obvious answers are travel, business and emergency, think medical treatment or funeral.
But Quadriga, a smart communications company serving hotels, says that one key reason is simply to have more “me,” time and to catch up with friends over a drink.
And that’s immeasurable hotel satisfaction.