Although the most important factors affecting hotel customer satisfaction can vary from one traveler to another, many individuals prefer nearly the same things. Among the top three factors are cleanliness, appearance, and price. Further down the list are the availability of non-smoking rooms, hotel ratings, and distance from attractions. Pools, free breakfasts, and an airport shuttle service are further down yet. Atmosphere and a friendly staff may also be a key factor in hotel customer satisfaction for some guests.
Generally, the first thing most travelers look at when it comes to hotels is the level of cleanliness. While this is somewhat related to appearance, a hotel may have a rough exterior, but be meticulously maintained on the inside. Therefore, the two are considered separate. Cleanliness, as it relates to hotel customer satisfaction, not only applies to the general condition of the hotel room, including the bathroom, but the hotel's common areas as well.
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Non-smoking rooms are also a preference of many hotel guests. Tobacco smoke odor in a room can be an uncomfortable experience for non-smoking guests, and the smoke still lingers even after the smoker has left the area. For non-smokers, who are generally more sensitive to the odor, it plays a major part in the decision in where to stay, especially if there is a hotel in the area that has non-smoking rooms available. Nearly every hotel has some such rooms, but they may fill up quickly, especially during busy travel times.
A hotel rating can also be a preference among some travelers, especially for those looking for specific amenities. Generally, a star rating system is used, with one or two stars noting a hotel with just the basic amenities and maybe a limited restaurant. A three-star hotel generally offers a full-service restaurant and possibly room service. Four star and five star hotels are generally luxury properties that cost the most, but also offer the best overall quality.
Closely related to hotel ratings is atmosphere. How distinct the hotel is, how inviting the hotel and staff are, opportunities for relaxation and refinement all lead to the hotel's atmosphere. For some individuals, this may be even more important than price.
Location is another important factor in hotel customer satisfaction and can often lead to major differences in pricing. For business travelers, having a hotel in a downtown area close to offices, as well as places to eat and relax, is important. Families on vacation may prefer a hotel next to a ski resort, theme parks, a national park or other such attractions. The closer to the attraction the guest is, the more they often can expect to pay, especially when comparing similar hotels.
Some of the minor features regarding hotel customer satisfaction pertain to amenities that help guests to relax even more. These are things such as pools, breakfasts, and even a shuttle service to the airport. While these things may be nice to have, they are not considered vital for many travelers.