Business travelers once again rated relative newcomer Hyatt Place as the best of its tier in a 2013 Hotel Chain Survey, while the upper mid priced and mid priced tiers saw two Wyndham brands earn their first finishes at the top.
Hyatt Place emerged as the top upscale brand for the second year in a row. It improved its overall score by more than three-tenths of a point and earned the top rating in all but one criteria.
The reason for Hyatt Place not making a clean sweep was Carlson’s Radisson brand, which earned top marks for its meeting facilities. Radisson also improved its score by almost a half a point, more than any other brand in the tier. Javier Rosenberg, Carlson Rezidor’s executive vice president of owned and managed hotels and COO of Radisson in the Americas claimed that the increase is attributed to the increase of the brand’s aggressive overhaul strategy. Radisson has removed a number of below-standard brands over the last several years, and will have completed renovations of 75 percent of its portfolio by the end of the year, he said.
“We’re continuously pushing up our standards, and we see the effects and positive results,” Rosenberg said, adding that Radisson was the most improved upscale brand in J.D. Power and Associates’ North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study this year.
For the second year in a row, Hilton Garden Inn walked away with the second-highest score in the tier. Global head for the brand Adrian Kurre cited as reasons for its continued strong performance ongoing lobby renovations to make them more of a connecting area rather than the “light, bright and airy” design that had previously dominated the brand. About 300 of the brand’s 500 North American hotels will complete their renovations by the end of this year, he said.
The brand has also improved its breakfast service and, within the past few weeks, they introduced an in-room coffee program with plans to include Keurig coffee makers in all the rooms, he said.
Last year’s winner of the upscale brand tier, Hilton’s Embassy Suites, fell to seventh place in the merged tier. However, like all the other brands in both the upscale and mid priced tiers, its scores were up year over year.
In the case of performance, the upscale tier is currently one of the strongest in the United States, according to Smith Travel Research. The firm projects that the upscale average daily rate will increase by 4.4 percent year over year in 2013 and by an additional 4.6 percent in 2014, a higher increase than all the other tiers except luxury. STR projects U.S. upscale occupancy will also increase by 1.1 percent this year and by 2.7 percent in 2014, an increase comparable to the luxury tier.