Travel Industry Satisfaction Climbs: Which Companies Are Leading the Field?

April 27, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Customer Satisfaction | Customer-Centric | Loyalty & Rewards Programs | Personalization | Top Brands | Travel & Hospitality

Airlines are enjoying the highest reported customer satisfaction score since 1995, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The index for airlines rose to 75 on ACSI’s 100-point scale, which is a 6-point boost over a 2-year period, and an improvement of 4.2% from last year.

Despite relatively strong gains by a handful of airlines, a couple of them held the average down. Spirit turns out to be the worst offender, with a customer satisfaction score of 61, down 2% from last year. Frontier, with its score of 63, slipped 5% from the previous year. United actually improved a couple of points year-over-year, though its score of 70 remained in the bottom rung. It’s difficult to ascertain how much impact the recent PR crises had on respondents, though separate data indicate that these scandals have led United to its lowest consumer perception in a decade.

Meanwhile, the winners in this category were JetBlue, which improved 2 points to a leading score of 82; Southwest, which stayed flat at 80 points; and Alaska, which registered a small 1% boost to 78. Allegiant improved a considerable 9%, up to 71 points this year, as did American, which raised its score by 6% to 76 points.

Within the airline industry, customers were most satisfied with the ease of the check-in process (82) and the ease of making a reservation (82), and least satisfied with seat comfort (71).

Hotel Customer Satisfaction

The overall hotel industry recorded an improvement of a couple of points from last year to a general score of 76.

Among hotel companies, Hilton (81) remained in the lead for the second consecutive year, followed by Hyatt (80), which gained a point to tie for second place with Marriott, which remained flat. InterContinental (78) showed the biggest improvement with a 3% gain. G6 Hospitality (Motel 6) was the most poorly rated again this year, with an index score of 65 points. Super 8, meanwhile, is the lowest-rated brand (63).

As with airlines, hotels got high marks for ease of making reservations (86), check-in (85) and courtesy and helpfulness of staff (83), with customers less pleased about the quality of food services (74) and loyalty programs (73).

Internet Travel Services

Internet travel services fared the best overall in customer satisfaction with an industry average of 79 points. Expedia led the way with 80 points, reflecting a 4% increase over 2016, and tied with the aggregate of smaller brands.

Orbitz (Expedia) was next (78), while Priceline suffered a 5% decline (to a score of 77).

Similar to airlines and hotels, customers of internet travel services were most satisfied with the ease of booking and payment (84). Customers were least satisfied with the usefulness of site-generated recommendations of other travel services (75) and loyalty programs (74).

About the Data: The ACSI report is based on interviews with 8,660 customers on airlines, hotels and internet travel services, chosen at random and contacted via email between April 18, 2016 and March 19, 2017.


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