Of the 53 hotel brands rated by 368 corporate travel buyer respondents in the survey, only nine had total scores that were lower than they were in 2013. Scores were flat at three brands and up across the rest. Unlike the 2013 Hotel Chain Survey, in which scores generally were up year over year in the lower tiers but down in the higher tiers, the 2014 showed improving buyer satisfaction in all tiers. Many of the highest increases included upper upscale and luxury hotel brands making up for their drop last year. At the same time, buyers are facing a challenging hotel negotiating season, with the average corporate negotiated hotel rate in the United States for 2015 projected to increase between 5.5 percent and 6.5 percent year over year, according to analysis by Bjorn Hanson, a clinical professor at New York University's Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management. At the same time, however, hotels this year are investing more capital back into their properties than ever before, which Hanson suspects is a key factor among the score increases. "The hotel industry sought and was granted forgiveness from travelers for the period when rates were not keeping up with inflation," Hanson said. "Consumer expectations increase at the same time, and the properties are improving at the same time these rates are going up." Get the full story at Business Travel News and/or access the digital version of the survey at Business Travel News