Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotels: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need
What’s in it for me?
A detailed guide helping to understand the concept of guest feedback, and guest comments in hotels, their significance, coupled with the ways the hoteliers like you can deploy to collect feedback from their guests and implement it that will skyrocket your business growth by delivering guest delights.
“Focus on how the end-user customers perceive the impact of your innovation – rather than on how you, the innovators, perceive it.”
Only one out of every 26 customers is likely to bring up their complaints. The other 25 customers will simply take their business elsewhere without a word. This means that it is important that you let a customer know they have a voice and that you will listen.
Hence feedback, no matter good or bad, big or small, is important in every sphere and every domain. But adding the word “direct” before feedback makes all the more difference. It might seem like a cliche when someone says, “Go, ask for it. Asking helps!” But this etiquette has been continuing since time immemorial and applies equally to the idea of hoteliers asking for feedback from their guests concerning their likes, dislikes, convenience, and the various improvements that they would want to see in a property! While mediums like online reviews, surveys, questionnaires, etc. can help to a great extent in this fast-paced world for obtaining the guests’ feedback, one should also not overlook the importance of customer feedback in its raw, ‘direct’ form. Hence having a proper guest feedback strategy for hotels is the need of the hour!
So, What’s the Difference Between Hotel Guest Feedback and Online Reviews?
Online Guest Reviews For Hotels:
• Publicly available so they can create social proof
• Increase travelers’ trust and confidence while searching where to book
• The best ‘advertising’ to continuously fuel sales and drive business growth
• Proactively learn at the right time, before guests’ experience becomes public and does any damage online.
• Control the overall flow of the relationship
• Collect both qualitative and quantitative data for your business growth
• Keep feedback and findings private
As you can see, both of these are incredibly significant to drive business growth and form the base on which the guest feedback strategy for hotels can grow
So which one is needed for your property?
The answer is both. Creating a system that makes it easier for your guests to share their feedback internally helps you capture guest sentiments at the right time while promoting more online reviews- this can be incredibly good for your business.
An example of hotel guests’ complaints and resolutions depicting a mid-stay hotel guest feedback sample
Let’s Dive into Guest Feedback
No man, machine, company, organization, or property can conduct their operations smoothly without hearing back or getting input from their customers. After all, what one is doing needs to be reviewed by the one for whom it is being done- the customers. Likewise, for a property guest feedback is vital to know how it is doing overall, what aspects of service need improvement, and whether or not the travelers’ expectations are being met or exceeded.
The A.C.A.F Guest Feedback Loop- A Strategic System
• Ask for customer feedback proactively
• Categorize the feedback to gain a contextual understanding that is meaningful for your property
• Act on the feedback (if needed) to implement changes to drive excellence
• Follow-up with guests who shared feedback with proactive responses
Guest Feedback: Past Vs. Present Scenarios
The shift is because the past methods are a little worn out now and have their limitations. But they are still used as preferred means of collecting feedback by the hotels. On the other hand, with technology and digitization, it can be easier for the guests and faster for the hoteliers to collect feedback, easier to categorize data, analyze trends, and is quicker for making changes.
Getting Guest Feedback: Types (Traditional & Modern)
Based on its types, guest feedback can be the following:
a. Surveys (NPS, CSAT)
b. Open-ended questions (through comment cards, feedback forms, verbal communication)
c. Specific Questionnaires
a. Online Surveys: Guests can be encouraged to take up online hotel guest surveys that help trace both the collective and individual opinions of the guests regarding the property and the quality of stay. Harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence and advanced technology, most of the brands are trying to know their guests as much as possible and to know what’s trending, what’s popular, what’s notorious, and what improvements are to be made. Thanks to the advent of these hotel guest satisfaction surveys to know your guests and their expectations closely!
b. Open-ended questions: Comment cards, feedback forms, verbal questions have been offered to the hotel guests from time-to-time to express their opinions about their stay.
c. Questionnaires: There is a subtle difference between a survey about hotels and a hotel questionnaire. A customer satisfaction questionnaire for hotels is a set of questions usually with an answer choice which might be later on used to conduct a survey. For instance, if a hotel wants to know the quality of staff service rendered, they might just be giving you the following options to choose from:
Traditional Methods of Collecting the Guest Feedback
These are more reliant on the “pen and paper” aspect:
1. Comment cards
2. Feedback forms
3. Staff notes
1. Comment Cards
○ A hotel feedback card is extremely user-friendly, highly recognizable, acting almost as a veteran in feedback collection.
○ Since it’s in writing, one is less likely to forget about compliments or complaints
○ A guest comment card for hotel can be time-consuming and restrict the guests from expressing themselves fully due to the lack of space.
○ Might not provide honest answers due to a certain bias and mostly because the guests are always in a hurry to leave without wasting much time on thinking about each answer.
○ Could be easily avoided or overlooked
○ Most people resort to the comment cards only if their stay experience is on the extreme side: exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. This can skew opinions as one can’t find a middle ground.
○ In the age of Customer-Relationship Management Programs and technology, this might come across as a pre-digital era leftover.
○ Might give rise to the problem of illegible or unreadable handwriting due to the guest being in a rush to leave.
○ Since it gives no data and insights into a guest experience, it is quite difficult to trace a certain pattern of behavior.
Boosting the Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotels
2. Feedback Form
○ User-friendly, widely used, and inexpensive
○ Provides an opportunity to engage and interact with both the new and repeat visitors.
○ Guest feedback form for hotel can be time-consuming and mundane.
○ Guess what? Some guests might even reject the offer of filling it in the first place.
3. Asking In Person/ Staff Notes
Thus, asking a hotel feedback question and taking notes by employing your personnel can help bridge the gap between your perception of the hotel as well as the guests’. Your property will always appear to be a “rockstar” if looked at from your perspective. But at the same time, direct guest feedback or asking helps to put things that have gone awry back on track and also aids in helping the guests get rid of certain misconceptions about your property. This is what a good guest feedback strategy for hotels is all about
A whopping 96 percent of dissatisfied customers won’t complain directly to you (though they will tell 15 of their friends about their experience). Like it or not, it’s your job to seek them out.
○ Helpful in providing that personal or friendly touch.
○ Allows both sides to express their emotions and gestures.
○ Can be useful in asking short, specific questions about an individual stay.
○ Helps to engage even if it hurts because there are chances for you to prevent your guests from venting out their frustration online.
○ Might render some guests nervous, especially if there is a person on the other side.
○ Might be a turn-off for those who don’t like communicating much.
○ Doesn’t allow the hotel to ask elaborate questions to the guests about their stay.
Modern Types: How to Give Feedback to Hotel
There is no denying the fact that technology has made things easier to a great extent. Almost gone are the days when guests would be subtly compelled (read bothered) by the hotels to adopt that “pen and paper” approach for providing feedback. Today, features like Guest Messaging and surveys act as papers and your fingertips as pens. In other words, a reform in the feedback collection modus operandi is highly discernible. Let us take a look at how these new tools for guest feedback strategy for hotels work:
a. Guest Messaging
b. Short surveys
a. Guest Messaging: Used by modern hoteliers around the world for collecting hotel feedback at every touchpoint in the guest journey, Guest Messaging is indeed a boon. With Guest Messaging, guest feedback is just a tap away and it can help collect feedback even at the pre-arrival and mid-stay stages. Unlike text messages, guest messaging does not overwhelm the guests and so it does not come with any obvious cons. However, care should be taken to use it with prudence!
b. Short Surveys
• NPS: Net Promoter Score a.k.a the NPS is a type of survey for hotel guests that gives out the percentage of customers rating their likelihood to recommend your property after their experience.
Here is a typical hotel customer survey example:
“On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate us?”
“On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our property to your friends, family, and colleagues?”
Boosting the Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotels
• CSAT: Customer Satisfaction surveys can gauge your customers’ satisfaction levels utilizing a rating scale for a broader understanding of whether or not your services are meeting their expectations. It can also make use of the Sentiment Analysis Technology wherein a guest simply needs to hit the answer to the question, “How was your experience” by tapping on a happy or sad emoticon. This is usually followed by a question, especially in the case of detractors: “Tell us what went wrong”
○ Short and sweet, requires a few taps and makes expressing oneself easier.
○ Cheaper and helps save money on postage.
○ With advanced methods, the responses are directly entered into the system, saving enough time for staff to focus on other vital aspects of the guest journey.
○ Results can be viewed in real-time for quick analysis.
○ Flexible, user-friendly, and accessible to the most target audience
○ Helps the respondents to express themselves fully without getting intimidated.
○ Has the potential to overwhelm guests sometimes by coming across as untimely and bothersome.
○ Cannot be accessed by the technically-challenged group. This might lower the overall response rate.
○ Might pose a difficulty in reaching out to the people with no internet access
○ Might lead to identity verification issues unless some actual good tools are used.
Typical Guest Survey: Why Guests Don’t Like Them/
What Your Guests See:
Displayed above is a typical guest survey example that puts you off the very instant you notice it! Would you even be interested in taking such an exhausting and seemingly endless survey?
Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotels: Mediums of Collecting Guest Feedback in the Modern World:
○ Instant way of asking for feedback and reaching out to your guests, especially while the experience is still fresh in their minds.
○ Increases the response rate of the guest survey and other marketing ventures.
○ Is more effective when personalized for each of your guests.
○ After check-in or during the stay, a well-meant email from the hotel’s side can work wonders in altering the guest’s perspective and aids in possible service recovery during the stay.
Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotels: Modern Mediums
2. Text Messages
○ Gets instant attention from the guests
○ Makes it easier to reach out for guest feedback collection
○ Bears the massive potential of sometimes overwhelming and frustrating the guests with repeated messages to a great extent.
3. Social Media Presence
○ Being used extensively, one does not have to learn anything to use social media.
○ There is a familiarity with various SM platforms.
○ Its extended reach is just undeniably incredible.
○ Being used by almost all, SM platforms are laborious to be managed without investing in useful tools
○ Feedback is open to viewing for all.
○ Difficult to have a follow-up dialog with guests, especially when it comes to addressing critical issues.
○ Negative feedback has the power to influence others and might even go viral, which, in turn, can mar the brand image.
○ Might not be accurate and can come from anyone without even staying at the property.
Importance of Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotels
1. Helps Enhance and Personalize the Guest Experience in Hotels
Kara was on a business trip and looking to book a good hotel that would allow her to carry on with her work unhindered by providing the necessary facilities. The hotel asked her a few relevant questions during booking. Once she checked-into the hotel, she was given the necessary details, along with the WiFi password. Her allocated room had a work desk with a view. They also informed her about the newly started conference room and the work cafe which she can use at a certain price. They also gave out details regarding the print and fax facilities that she can avail of with help from the personnel.
2. Helps Bridge the Gap Between the Guests and Hotels
Consider yourself as the manager of a property who knows it like the back of their hand. But accept the fact that direct guest feedback is a revelation as the aspects of your property like view, cleanliness, location, etc. that you consider to be top-shelf might not actually align well with guests’ perspective. For guests, your location might even seem obscure to some. To accept that you’re blindsided on certain things is a great way of keeping your eyes, ears and options open in order to bridge any sort of gap between you and your guests. One way of doing this is by collecting direct guest feedback.
According to you, there might be a need to install a vending machine providing quick access to the guests. However, according to your guests, refurbished rooms might be the need of the hour. In other words, some changes might just be uncalled-for.
3. Helps Up Your Marketing Game
Guest feedback for hoteliers brings a lot of benefits. If you can’t plunge directly into the gesture of offering extras to the guests and blaming it all ‘on the house’, grab this opportunity to upsell. For instance, if a honeymoon couple has booked a stay with you, offering them a honeymoon suite at a discounted rate with a movie night or a romantic dinner under the starlit skies as an add-on is a great way of upscaling your business. But how does direct guest feedback come into the picture here? These sweet gestures will surely result in direct guest feedback because guests are more likely to leave feedback, especially when they are either too happy or unhappy with their stay. Resorting to whatever method, traditional or modern, at this point calculatively will help in bringing up your feedback score.
4. Helps Identify Problem Areas And Aids in Instant Damage Control With On-Site Feedback
Guests have a perspective and that is something that matters the most at the end of the day. Your newly rolled out spa facility might be a great thing for you but for the guests, this might prove to be underwhelming or something that does not interest them at all. On the contrary, having no sugar sachets in the room for their coffee might infuriate the guests like anything. This might appear to be a minor thing, like not providing sugar sachets or extra towels, but this can conveniently act as a catalyst to escalate the problem further. Again, hotels can’t be expected to perform “perfectly” all the time. It is okay to make mistakes unknowingly as learning from these mistakes is an ever-continuing process and is all the more important. Thus, direct guest feedback can help identify the necessary problem areas and prepare the ground for future improvements.
Importance of Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotels
5. Helps Strengthen Relations With Past Or Repeat Customers
A guest stayed with a hotel and was asked about his overall stay during check-out by one of the staff members. While the guest responded positively to their overall experience at the property, one thing which he explicitly mentioned he didn’t like was the poor breakfast selection. The guest wanted more high-protein options for breakfast. Even though he was okay with that and wasn’t upset about it, the hotel took this seriously and the next time when the guest returned for a stay, to his utmost surprise, he witnessed an improved breakfast spread, this time with more high-protein options. He was happy to see the hotel honoring his feedback and beautifully implementing that.
Thus, there is a lot of scope for the hotel staff to observe their guests throughout their stay, like how a guest likes his/her coffee, how much is he/she fond of adventure, what he/she likes to shop, etc. Based on these details, hotels can personalize their stay and generate a lot of direct-cum-positive feedback which would eventually pave the way for positive and good reviews online.
6 Direct Guest Feedback Can Result in Positive Reviews Online
People review your property only when “they’re in the mood.” Usually, in cases where people are either highly impressed or hugely disappointed with their stay, they take to online platforms to vent it all out. But what about the average ones? Or, what about those who don’t feel motivated enough to leave you a review? Positive or negative, review count and guest rating also matter but positive reviews would make all the more difference. However, for this, you will be required to lure the guests or prod them enough to give you a review on TripAdvisor, Google, Expedia, Yelp, or any other online medium. So, while providing them with an exquisite and happening stay is a prerequisite, collecting the guest feedback is equally vital. Setting the precedent, guest feedback helps motivate the guests to take to online platforms and articulate their expressions in the best way possible, without getting intimidated or nervous. In the case of negative reviews, guest feedback can help resolve situations and possibly not even allow them to get converted into negative reviews online.
If your brand or business can assure dissatisfied customers that it’s taking their issue seriously, you can prevent three in four of them from venting their frustrations online.
Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotel Guests: Ways of Getting Useful Feedback From Hotel Guests
• Make sure to collect the email address of the guest from the very early stages.
• Capture the right email address. Make no mistakes!
• Keep the survey short, sweet, and personalized ( at least, to some extent)
• Reminding the guests in person about taking the survey can also help to a great extent.
• Come up with questions that are short and focus mostly on the experience, for instance, how was your stay, how was your interaction with the front desk, etc. You can leave all the awry details aside for a while
• To lure guests to fill the questionnaire, an email with a catchy subject would serve as a great reminder.
Best Stage in the Guest Journey For Collecting Feedback
One of the common questions asked by the hoteliers is “When should you ask the guests for feedback?” Usually, the answer is post-stay. While the stage of check-out is looked upon as a suitable phase for asking guest feedback and also makes sense to some extent, you cannot also overlook the accompanying factors that might just hinder your guest from taking up a survey. For instance, a guest rushing to catch a flight is not likely to take up a survey or fill a feedback form at the check-out. In this case, you can provide them a feedback card or link reminding them to take a survey later on. Similarly, families with kids might not have the patience to sit and fill in the survey form during check-out. So, giving kids a feedback form designed especially for them with crayons can be a good idea if you really want to do it.
Again, the possibility of collecting mid-stay feedback should not be overlooked as this helps compensate for a lot of things that might have gone awry. But all in all, post-stay is an ideal time for hearing from your guests. But remember to not stretch it for too long as the guests are less likely to respond once the stay and the related memories start getting stale.
Things to Consider When Designing A Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotels Or A Feedback System:
Typically when designing internal feedback we come with the mindset of “me-” I want to learn and improve “my business” – and we forget that it is guests who are investing their TIME to help us learn and promote: so although our tendency can be to maximize self-learning – we need to balance it and design it from the guests’ perspective.
1. Focus on your goals:
• Getting more reviews
• Getting more reviews and learning from guests directly through internal feedback (reviews and feedback combined) from guests who may not have been fully satisfied
• Have a measurable satisfaction score and areas that you can improve upon
2. Simplicity | your guests’ profiles (demographics): in either case, keep it simple and minimal while getting significant benefits- remember guests are investing their time to help you learn and promote your property.
3. Incorporating the feedback holistically: during the key stages of the guest journey
4. Avoid survey fatigue: review your guest journey and incorporate feedback at the right point.
This survey fatigue can occur in two key ways:
• Before taking the survey — overwhelmed by the sheer volume of requests for feedback, customers decide not to even begin your survey. The result is a drop in response rates as fewer customers decide to give you feedback. In a hotel’s case- consider the OTAs sending the guest the request for the reviews etc.
• During the survey — this happens after someone has started the survey and is usually caused by poor survey design such as including too many questions, a high proportion of open text fields, or asking the same question repeatedly. As a result, respondents can drop out midway through or lose interest and speed through, giving you inaccurate data.
Guest Feedback Strategy For Hotels: Typical client FAQs
A. Yes, they might. That is why it is advisable to engage with the guests at every touchpoint in a way by using the right mediums just so the feedback collection process blends in naturally with the guest journey. Guest Messaging can help ease the problem to a great extent by keeping it simple and attractively engaging for the guests. Again, it is recommended that the hotels should keep their survey short and sweet so that it does not become frustrating for the guests.
Time to Amplify Your Customer Feedback Strategy?
Hotel Guest Feedback is the key to financial success. Realizing the power and importance of collecting guest feedback, GuestTouch aids the new-age hoteliers with features that can help collect feedback on the go and at every vital touchpoint to enhance your brand name and to give you a 360° view of the guest experience at your hotel.
Our best-in-class technology and features have got you all covered! Engage your guests and get crucial feedback at every step of the guest experience journey at your property with our best-in-class tools!
So, no more sweating over how to get more guest feedback & more hotel bookings