Customers have started scratching their travel itch again, but expectations aren’t being met. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) 2021-2022 Travel Study, satisfaction with airlines is flying in the wrong direction, hotels are not accommodating satisfied customers and car rentals can’t get back on track. Online travel agencies are the only sector to improve customer satisfaction, but not by much.
“Many people have ventured to travel for the first time since the pandemic hit, only to be met with poor service and dashed hopes,” says Forrest Morgeson, assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University and director of distinguished research at ACSI. “We see this with hotels, where the quality of amenities and catering services both dip below the customer experience criteria of 70. Anyone anticipating their travel experience would feel that on “normal” days of before the pandemic would likely walk away deeply disappointed. Although the desire to travel is on the rise, it may be time to adjust your expectations.
This study provides data on customer satisfaction across four travel sectors – airlines, hotels, car rentals and online travel agencies – based on surveys conducted from April 2021 to March 2022.
JetBlue grabs the top spot
After reaching its highest score, the airline industry is coming back to earth, as passenger satisfaction drops 1.3% to an ACSI score of 75 (out of 100).
JetBlue flies into first place, up 3% to 79. American and United, both up 3% to 77, climb into a four-way tie for second place with Delta and Southwest, which slip 3% each .
Alaska drops 3% to an ACSI score of 75, followed by smaller carriers (down 4% to 71) and Allegiant (down 3% to 70). The bottom of the industry belongs to ultra-low-cost carriers Frontier, which fell 3% to 66, and Spirit, which fell 5% to 63.
Hotels again suffer from declining satisfaction
The hospitality industry is once again facing the wrath of dissatisfied customers.
Overall guest satisfaction drops 2.7% to a score of 71, with more than half of leading hoteliers seeing ACSI drops of 4% or more.
Marriott becomes the industry satisfaction leader after improving 3% to 78. Last year’s leader Hilton finished second after falling 4% to an ACSI score of 76. Best Western was steady at 75, just ahead of IHG, which drops 5% to 74 Choice and Hyatt each get 73%, but the former is up 3% while the latter is down 4%.
Wyndham is flat at 69, followed by the large group of small hotels, which fell 7% to 65. The bottom of the industry belongs to G6 Hospitality (Motel 6), dipping 15% to an ACSI score of 56.
Alamo seizes the top spot among car rental companies
Satisfaction with the car rental industry drops 1.3% to an ACSI score of 75.
Alamo leads the pack, improving 4% to 79. Three brands are tied at 76: Enterprise (down 3%), Hertz (up 1%) and National (up 1%).
The dollar fell 3% to 75, ahead of Avis (74) and Budget (72), down 1% each. The group of small car rental companies comes next with a consistent score of 71. Thrifty is at the bottom of the industry, dropping 3% to 70.
Small online travel agencies are taking the lead in the industry
User satisfaction with online travel agencies increased overall by 1.4% to an ACSI score of 75.
The group of small online travel sites takes the top spot after rising 5% to 77. Orbitz comes next, with a 1% improvement to 76, followed by Tripadvisor, down 1% to 75.
Expedia’s namesake site and Travelocity both score 73, down 1% and 4%, respectively. Priceline remains at the bottom of the industry after tumbling 1% to 72.
The ACSI 2021-2022 Travel Study of Airlines, Hotels, Car Rentals and Internet Travel Services is based on interviews with 6,285 customers. Respondents were randomly selected and contacted by email between April 5, 2021 and March 25, 2022. Download the study, and follow ACSI on LinkedIn and Twitter at @theACSI.
No advertising or other promotional use may be made of the data and information contained in this release without the prior express written permission of ACSI LLC.
About the US Customer Satisfaction Index
The US Customer Satisfaction Index has been a national economic indicator for 25 years. It measures and analyzes customer satisfaction with more than 400 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, including various federal and local government agency services. Reported on a scale of 0 to 100, the scores are based on interview data with approximately 500,000 customers per year. For more information, visit www.theacsi.org.
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