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The best Marriott in North America? HarborCenter, company says

Terry and Kim Pegula’s Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter is the top-performing full-service hotel in the entire Marriott chain in North America, besting more than 335 others in customer satisfaction for over a month based on detailed ongoing surveys of hundreds of guests.

The 12-story hotel that is atop the HarborCenter sports, entertainment and parking complex is ranked No. 1 among all full-line Marriott hotels, less than one year after it opened at Canalside. The hotel scored far higher than the average full-service Marriott flagship hotel in overall satisfaction and staff service – two benchmark measures that the company pays close attention to when evaluating its properties.

“We are proud of the staff service score,” said Huseyin Taran, the hotel’s general manager. “The location of the hotel and the condition of the hotel, you may not be able to control as a manager. But staff service, that’s what shows you the service in this hotel is extraordinary.”

Like many hospitality firms, Marriott routinely and randomly polls its hotel guests, asking a select number of them at any given time to complete a detailed 35-question survey following their stay. The individual hotel never knows who has been chosen by the computer system, which also limits any traveler to only three surveys in any year no matter how many times they may stay in a Marriott hotel.

The questions – which cover arrival, departure, room cleanliness, hotel condition, fitness center, overall experience and staff experience – are scored on a scale of 1 to 10, with anything below 9 considered a bad score by Marriott. The system then calculates the percentage of answers for each category that are either a 9 or a 10, resulting in a total score.

Consumers are constantly being surveyed, so the scores and rankings are moving targets. HarborCenter officials said the Pegulas had set a goal of being among the top-ranked hotels from the beginning. The Buffalo hotel has been consistently among the top five since January, and has been No. 1 for nearly a month.

Out of 931 completed surveys, the HarborCenter hotel scored 76.4 out of 100 for overall guest satisfaction, compared with the brand average of 59.2 throughout North America. For staff service, it earned 87.3, versus the brand average of 75.3.

The 205-room high-end hotel, which also boasts its own restaurant in the seventh-floor lobby, plus meeting and conference space, and views of downtown Buffalo and the waterfront, also beat out other local hotels in downtown Buffalo in social media mentions, as measured by research system Medallia.


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