Lost in Translation: Cross-Country Differences in Hotel Guest Satisfaction
By Gina Pingitore Ph.D., Weihua Huang Ph.D., and Stuart Greif M.B.A.
Sunday, 22nd September 2013
The reality of contemporary hotel operation is that hoteliers need to make comparisons across diverse countries regarding differences and similarities in guest satisfaction.

Noting the absence of studies that explain how to compare survey responses from hotel guests in different countries, we sought to address this gap by examining four issues critical to hoteliers.

Based on two years of data for nearly 200,000 guests from eight nations, our study found:

(1) While price and location remain uppermost as decision factors, residents of some countries give considerable weight to specific services;
(2) People in different countries do consider different factors in their determination of satisfaction;
(3) The effect of certain procedures on guests' satisfaction differs by country; and
(4) Residents of some countries generally express lower levels of satisfaction than those in other countries.

To ensure the reliability and consistency of our results, we evaluated results for two years individually (2010 and 2011) and then compared the findings between the two years.

Even after controlling for brand and key predictors of satisfaction, we found that guests from the United States provided the highest ratings; guests from Japan provided the lowest ratings; and ratings by guests from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. typically fell between these extremes.

The implications of our findings are that country differences must be accounted for when multinational brands are benchmarking or comparing satisfaction results across different market segments.

We provide recommendations on how to account for differences in international satisfaction scores so that hoteliers can more effectively use their benchmarking results and can train staff members to respond appropriately to international travelers' expressions of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Hoteliers should also be aware of these cultural differences when they host international travelers, who may have diverse satisfaction standards or who may be more (or less) likely to express pleasure than are guests from other countries.

Read the full report HERE
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