I ignored the new hotel loyalty satisfaction survey from JD Power & Associates when it came out last week, but it seems to be getting a lot of play now, so let’s go over why it does not tell you anything useful.
This isn’t simply one of those “these things are subjective” or “it depends on whom you ask” kinds of criticisms.
The survey is just fundamentally silly. That begins with the factors that go into their ranking:
- account maintenance/management (23%)
- ease of redeeming points/miles (22%)
- ease of earning points/miles (18%)
- reward program terms (16%)
- variety of benefits (16%)
- customer service (5%)
The most heavily-weighted factor in the rankings — nearly a quarter of it — was ‘account maintenance’. That just doesn’t strike me as the single biggest factor in how valuable a hotel loyalty program is. Note that this is separate from “customer service” which is its own category though worth just 5% of the survey’s weight.
This survey is about earn and redeem only, not about how well a program treats you (elite benefits) and strangely for something focusing only on redemptions it cares about ease of redemption but not the value of what you’re redeeming for.
Meanwhile they draw such strong conclusions from a pretty small sample. They surveyed about 2900 people, down over 20% from last year’s sample size. And that lets them conclude that Delta Privilege and Hilton HHonors are the best. We don’t have the underlying data set, but how many of those 2900 could have been familiar with Delta Privilege?
Here’s their bottom line:
La Quinta Returns is judged a better program than Starwood’s, Hyatt’s, and Fairmont’s. The results themselves can be considered self-negating.
Also worth noting and generally not mentioned by media covering these awards is that JD Power sells its research to the subjects of its award rankings and sells companies the right to market their winning of these awards.