And it’s not just because they’re rich…

The results are in, and no hotel brand in the U.S. brings higher guest satisfaction than Ritz Carlton. In J.D. Power’s annual Guest Satisfaction Index, the Ritz Carlton hotel brand set a new record for highest guest satisfaction in the entire history of the survey, measured by a variety of different stay based categories. This begs the question: what is Ritz Carlton doing so right, and who else is close?

Metrics

Ritz Carlton scored 902 out of a possible 1000 points in the J.D. Power Satisfaction Index. This record survey figure bested an industry average of 825 points, in a year which saw the largest gains in how customers feel about the products being offered, rather than actual service. Ritz Carlton edged out second place Four Seasons due to higher ratings in the reservations, food and facility categories. JW Marriott came third in the luxury segment, followed by Waldorf and Loews. In the next lowest category of luxury, classified as “upper upscale”, Kimpton Hotels somewhat unsurprisingly placed first, followed by Marriott Hotels, Embassy Suites, Hyatt Regency and Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Intriguingly, across all categories, Marriott ranked amongst the very highest for ease of reservations.

Anecdotes

Ritz Carlton has been famous in anecdotal terms of guest satisfaction for many years, thanks to the discretion given even to entry level hotel employees. There are countless stories of important guests, leaving important briefcases behind – and without question, an employee hops in a cab, or even catches the next flight to ensure the briefcase is returned in a timely manor. Perhaps it’s special flowers to signify a special occasion or a box of chocolates from a local favorite shop, but it’s the personal touches which all employees are allowed to indulge which seem to set the Ritz Carlton ethos apart in the U.S. luxury market.

Thoughts

What makes a great hotel room, or great hotel stay? As the travel world moves to mobile booking, endless metrics and automated, impersonal check in, it’s the personal touches and signs of care which continue to separate hotels which choose to invest in the X factor of “human touch”. Easy booking methods are a great way to set the mood, but it’s how discretionary matters, those things that don’t show up on any spreadsheets, are handled which win the satisfaction and return loyalty of guests around the world. It’s interesting to see hotel facilities play such a large tiebreaker in this J.D. Power study, and will be an interesting category to monitor, as many hotel chains bolster their fitness, and more importantly, wellness offerings across all brands. Congrats to Ritz Carlton on the win.

Featured image courtesy of the Ritz Carlton San Francisco.