Starwood reinforces its luxury status in business traveller survey

Travel News 01 Oct 2015

Business Travel News (BTN) conducted an annual Hotel Brand survey to identify buyer’s preferences and trends in the market. This year’s results have shown that Starwood Hotel & Resorts brands topping the satisfaction levels among customers with Westin brand and Hyatt Hotels’ Hyatt Place garnered the highest overall scores from travel buyers. 

The keys to the performance lies in the themes of wellness, design and modern amenities proved to be the connecting thread that leads to high performance. In recent years, Westin has appealed to travellers looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road with its health-conscious Super Food menu, its new Sleep Well menu, its Fresh by The Juicery juice program, its workout gear-lending program and its Run Concierges.

During the past year, Westin has focused on workspace offering, which features Media:scape by Steelcase smart technology, video-conferencing and seamless connectivity.

Hyatt Regency made its debut in the survey. The brand received high marks for quality of sales staff, consistency of offering, corporate rate programs and quality of data.

While brands in the upper-upscale tier continue to make strides in appealing to corporate travellers, it’s worth noting that overall scores for every brand, except new-to-the-list Hyatt Regency, dropped from 2014. The change might reflect the movement away from the segment as rates have risen in recent years.

Though the upscale tier is comprised of both full-service and select-service offerings, travel buyers ranked three select-service brands highest in the segment.

Hyatt Place improved from its No. 3 slot in 2014 and earned the highest scores for quality of sales staff, consistency of offering, physical appearance of hotel facilities, quality of business and personal amenities and overall price/value relationship. Hyatt Place properties offer large guest rooms, a 24/7 food menu, free Wi-Fi and free hot breakfast, and many locations offer complimentary parking.

The brand is in the process of removing scripts from the check-in process, allowing front desk staff to make a more personalized connection with every guest. Starwood Hotels & Resorts performed strongly again in this segment, as two of its specialty select brands, Aloft and Four Points by Sheraton, took the No. 2 and No. 3 slots, respectively.

Aloft improved from fifth place, while Four Points improved from 10th. The newer of the two brands in both age and its urban-inspired design, Aloft offers free Wi-Fi and Apple TV in all guest rooms, as well as an open lobby with a bar and grab-and-go cafe. Aloft is currrently testing programs that will allow guests to control the air conditioning and lighting and even brew a cup of coffee all from a smartphone. Starwood’s third-largest brand, Four Points scored top points for its corporate rate programs and helpful and courteous service. It was the top brand in BTN’s 2011 survey but has failed to crack the top three in recent years.

Though not among the top brands overall, Radisson, at No. 7, bested other brands in the two meetings-focused categories.