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The World’s Best Hotel Chains for Every Type of Trip

J.D. Power’s annual list of the best hotel chains in the world based on its North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index finds that overall satisfaction with hotel chains is on the rise, with one key area of improvement across brands. The study highlights the best hotel chains for every type of trip, from economical and short stays to luxury and extended stay.

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Let’s look at the rankings.

The Best Hotel Chains

As with the rankings for airlines, J.D. Power bases its results on customer surveys. This year’s results are based on responses from 55,000 hotel guests who answered more than 150 questions about their experiences.

  • Economy: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham
  • Midscale: Wingate by Wyndham (for fourth consecutive year)
  • Upper Midscale: Drury Hotels (for 13th consecutive year)
  • Upscale: Hilton Garden Inn (for third consecutive year)
  • Upper Upscale: Kimpton Hotels
  • Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (for fourth consecutive year)
  • Extended Stay: Home2 Suites by Hilton
  • Upper Extended Stay: Staybridge Suites (for second consecutive year)

Overall, upper-end hotels saw the biggest gains in satisfaction. The upper midscale segment gained 12 points on a 1,000-point scale, while the luxury, upper upscale, and upscale segments earned seven-point increases. The remaining segments all saw a six-point increase.

Customers are happy with increasingly generous in-room perks hotels have added to their offerings. Guests’ satisfaction with rooms and hotel facilities satisfaction is increasing at a greater rate than anything else.

“Technology is becoming more pervasive in the guest experience, specifically in guest rooms,” the survey points out. “Adding capabilities has a clear association with higher guest satisfaction, but this plateaus as offerings become standard.”

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What Still Needs Improvement

The survey results indicate that while in-room experiences are a hit, service is behind. That’s not to say people are dissatisfied with hotel service generally, just that it doesn’t seem to be keeping pace with expectations set by technological perks.

“Years of capital investment in offerings such as higher-end televisions and in-room tablets have left their mark,” said Jennifer Corwin, Associate Practice Lead for the Global Travel and Hospitality Practice at J.D. Power. “Now, as hotels look to push customer satisfaction levels higher, their focus should turn to service areas, particularly when it comes to direct booking.”

This follows an overall trend of people, not just travelers, coming to expect a more personalized experience from brands. Widespread adoption of mobile phones gives companies more ways to provide highly targeted service to their customers, and people have become accustomed to seamless, intuitive service, particularly online. Hotels’ slow but steady improvement in this area suggests they are getting the memo but perhaps struggling to keep pace with those expectations.

Readers, have you noticed an uptick in your experience at chain hotels this year? With technology, or with service?

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By Carl Unger

Contributing Editor Carl Unger believes that every trip is worth taking. He loves an extended trip to Europe as much as he enjoys exploring the towns and landscape near home. Basically, you'll find him wherever there is good food, fresh air, and plenty of stories to bring home.

Carl has been writing for SmarterTravel since 2005. His travel writing has also appeared on USA Today and the About.com Boston travel guide.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "It's not revolutionary, but a small Moleskine notebook is my one travel must-have. It's great for noting things you want to remember and it takes up hardly any space in your bag."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Japan. I'd love to take a month off and visit the cities, temples, and countryside. I'm fascinated by the country's juxtaposition of ancient traditions and modern ambitions."

Travel Motto: “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” –Terry Pratchett

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window."

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