Travel & Hospitality

For travelers today, it’s (still) all about value—but what do they value in a hotel?

By Kelly McGuire, Russell Evans, Satvika Ananthanarayan, and Brandon Rufer

Feb. 13, 2024 | White Paper | 8-minute read


Mismatched expectations led to an industrywide hospitality satisfaction crisis in 2021 as labor shortages and pandemic restrictions constrained hotels’ ability to deliver service at pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, demand surges and rising inflation occasionally resulted in historically high average daily rates that are still rising.


Hospitality executives have been carefully watching traveler behavior over the last few years to detect how it continues to change and identify what the expectations of the “new traveler” might be. The overarching question these days is: Are hotels able to deliver the same value as they did prior to the pandemic? As a follow up to our 2021 study, “Leveraging guest feedback to navigate return to travel,” we decided to tackle this question.


We began by analyzing changes in guest value perceptions in the U.S., by chain scale, from 2019 to 2021 and from 2021 to 2023. We also drilled down into what features of the stay experience are most important to guests and how U.S. hotels performed in these categories. What we learned will help hoteliers go beyond mentions and sentiment on review sites to understand which topics merit real investment to deliver better stays.

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