The Best and Worst Hotel Chains in America

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The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a massive blow to the hotel industry, as many people stayed home for much of the past year.

But as travel heats up again, you may be thinking about booking a hotel sometime soon. Which one will you choose?

The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Travel Report shows how customers ranked U.S. hotels in surveys conducted from April 2020 to March 2021.

Which Hotels Provide the Best Customer Experience?

Customer satisfaction with the major hotel chains was down nearly 4% industrywide in the one-year period ACSI measured. According to the report, “The guest experience for hotels shows across-the-board deterioration during the pandemic.”

Here are some key findings from the report:

  • Hilton claims the top spot despite tumbling 4%, the second-largest drop from the previous year’s rankings.
  • Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt led the industry in customer satisfaction one year ago, but those are the three chains that suffered the steepest declines in the year since.
  • Five of eight major hotel companies have ACSI declines of 3% or higher.

Let’s take a look at the hotel chains with the best and worst rankings, according to customers. They’re ranked on a 100-point scale.

Here Are the Best and Worst Hotel Chains in America

Hotels2021 Scores% Change From
Previous Year
Hilton79-4%
IHG780%
Hyatt76-4%
Marriott76-5%
Best Western75-1%
Choice71-3%
Wyndham69-4%
G6 Hospitality (Motel 6)662%
All Hotel Chains (Average Score)733.9%

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.”

A Priceline feature Clark says not enough people use is getting 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.

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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 4-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.

Then Go to Other Travel 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? Learn more about booking with Priceline and Hotwire.

More Hotel Resources From Clark:




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