Report: The Best and Worst Hotel Chains in America

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As travel continues to heat up again, you may be thinking about booking a hotel sometime soon. Which one will you choose?

The recently released American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Travel Study 2021-2022 shows how customers ranked U.S. hotels in surveys conducted from April 5, 2021, to March 25, 2022.

Which Hotels Provide the Best Customer Experience?

Graded on a 100-point scale, major hotel chain customer satisfaction was down 2.7% industry-wide during the period ACSI measured. 

“Many folks ventured out to travel for the first time since the pandemic hit only to be met with lackluster service and dashed hopes,” Forrest Morgeson, assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University and director of research emeritus at the ACSI, says in a news release. “We see this with hotels, where the quality of amenities and food services both dip below customer experience benchmarks of 70. Anyone who anticipated their travel experience would feel like the ‘normal’ pre-pandemic days are likely coming away sorely disappointed. While the desire to travel may be up, it might be time to adjust your expectations.”

With that being said, in the one-year period ACSI measured, customers gave the hotels’ mobile apps and check-in processes higher marks than they did the year before.

Here are some key findings from the report:

  • Marriott claimed the top spot, rising 3% compared to last year.
  • Hilton tumbled 4% but still managed to come in second place.
  • G6 Hospitality (Motel 6) suffered a 15% plunge, the steepest decline in the latest data.

Let’s take a look at the hotel chains with the best and worst rankings, according to customers.

Here Are the Best and Worst Hotel Chains in America

ChainLatest Score% Change From
Previous Year
Marriott783%
Hilton76-4%
Best Western750%
IHG75-5%
Choice733%
Hyatt73-4%
Average71-2.7%
Wyndham690%
G6 Hospitality (Motel 6)56-15%

How Clark Saves on Hotel Costs

Money expert Clark Howard puts a heavy emphasis on what customers say about any hotel where he considers staying.

But, of course, he also considers cost. Balancing good reviews against cost has led Clark to two booking sites he uses the most.

“I have a big bias toward Priceline,” Clark says. “I use Hotwire for maybe 10-15% of my bookings, but almost everything else is on Priceline.”

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A Priceline feature Clark says not enough people use is the “blind booking” option that allows you to get a lower rate by choosing a hotel without knowing its name. That may sound scary, but he says it’s not a big deal if you’re willing to do a little research.

First Go to Priceline

At Priceline.com, Clark says you can get some hints on where you’ll likely stay by doing a little legwork before you book.

“What I do is I book four-star hotels or higher that have an approval rating of 80% or higher from people who’ve stayed there,” Clark says. 

With the Priceline process, you’re able to pick what side of town you’ll be on and get an idea of which hotels are in the area, Clark adds.

Once you’ve whittled down your list to hotels most likely to be those Priceline has listed, you can learn more by doing a little more research on other travel websites.

Go to Other Travel Booking Sites … Then Back to Priceline

Clark says to make a list of the few hotels that may be your destination. “Then go read on TripAdvisor what people say about them.”

If you’re satisfied with the customer reviews of all your likely candidates, you can book with confidence if you’ve found the best price on Priceline.

Want to learn more about this money-saving process? Here’s how to book with Priceline and Hotwire.

More Hotel Resources From Clark:

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