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Hotel Guest Feedback: The Key to Unlocking Guest Satisfaction

Dec 7, 2023 | Blog

Key Takeaways:

  • Defining Hotel Guest Feedback: Explanation of what constitutes guest feedback in the hotel industry and its significance.
  • Why feedback matters: How negative hotel reviews impact profits.
  • The 5 Most common hotel complaints: Immediate feedback would help fix these.
  • Types of Feedback: Overview of various forms of guest feedback, both direct and indirect.
  • Collecting and Analyzing Feedback: Strategies for effectively gathering and interpreting guest feedback.
  • Using Cell Phones for Hotel Guest feedback: Why this digital comment card is the best way.
  • Actioning Feedback Insights: How to translate negative experiences into tangible improvements and positive changes.
  • Conclusion and FAQ: Time to wrap it up.

Hotel Guest Feedback: The Key to Unlocking Guest Satisfaction and Success

According to Condor Ferries – as of 2023, there are 166,272 hotels and motels businesses in the United States. This represents a staggering 1.3 billion occupied room nights! This represents an increase of 7.1% from the previous year, highlighting a recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In today’s competitive hotel industry, providing a truly exceptional guest experience is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. If the visit is less than perfect, guests defect, or worse, defect and complain using online surveys. Furthermore, at the heart of delivering exceptional experiences lies a powerful tool: hotel guest feedback. By actively collecting, analyzing, and acting on guest feedback, hotels can unlock insights that can be used to improve guest satisfaction. In addition, the feedback can reduce defection, decrease online complaints, drive operational efficiency, and achieve business success.

What is Hotel Guest Feedback?

Hotel guest feedback encompasses any information, opinions, suggestions, ratings or complaints shared by guests regarding their experience at the property. This feedback can be gathered through various channels, and at different times including:

  • Direct feedback: In-person conversations, comment cards (yuck – there are at least 12 problems), email surveys, phone calls, social media mentions
  • Indirect feedback: Online reviews (e.g., Google Reviews, TripAdvisor), guest behavior data (room service orders, spa appointments), other social media listening

More on this later.

The Importance of Hotel Guest Feedback – Why it matters:

Collecting and analyzing guest feedback is crucial for several reasons, that can be put into two categories – Feedback to Improve and Feedback to Avoid:

Feedback to Improve

  • Isolating areas for improvement: Guest feedback provides valuable insights into what guests like and dislike about their stay. This means at any point in their stay from parking through to check out. Information like this is used to identify areas where improvements can be made, such as service quality, amenities, cleanliness, or room comfort.
  • Improving guest satisfaction: By tackling guest concerns and implementing changes based on feedback, hotels can create a more satisfying guest experience. This leads to increased loyalty, higher public ratings and repeat business.
  • Gaining a competitive edge: Hotels that actively solicit and respond to guest feedback can differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract future guests. Increasingly necessary when there is so much competition
  • Boosting online presence and reputation: Addressing negative feedback with speed helps to mitigate the impact of online bad reviews and maintain a positive online reputation.
  • Making data-driven decisions: Analyzing guest feedback can provide data to support decision-making across various departments, from marketing and operations to staff training and budget allocation.

Feedback to Avoid

Get customer feedback, act on it and avoid some of these disaterous implications. Consider these guest review statistics:

  • 76% of travelers surveyed were willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores from satisfied guests.
  • Properties that respond to more than half of their reviews increase their likelihood of receiving a booking inquiry by 24%, compared to properties that do not respond.
  • If pricing is equal, potential guests are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with higher guest survey ratings and positive reviews.
  • Boston University study found that 27% of responding hotels increased their guest rating by at least half a star within six months of their first management response.
  • A 2014 TripAdvisor study noted a connection between the rates of management responses with the average review rating a hotel receives. Properties responding to over 65% of the reviews they received saw an average review rating of 4.15.

Perhaps worst of all:

81% of travelers find online reviews important for a hotel and 49% will not make a reservation for a hotel that has zero reviews

We conclude that feedback from hotel guests, whether good or bad, is the key to a successful hotel, but it is not happening. The cause is not clear but the potential to improve is huge. Check out the original guest review impact article.

Before we dive into the types of feedback and what to use, let us review the top sources of complaints in the hospitality industry. Only by understanding these, can we implement feedback strategies to improve.

The Five Most Common Guest Issues That Cause Complaints

So why do guests decline to return to a hotel and what causes them to complain online? Obviously when guest expectations are not me – any of these sound familiar?

Unhappy hotel guest complaining to staff

Here are the top 5 reasons hotel guests complain and leave a negative review:

  1. Noise: This is consistently the most common complaint, with guests mentioning loud neighbors, thin walls, noise from outside the hotel (including traffic and construction), and noise from within the hotel (such as housekeeping or maintenance).
  2. Cleanliness: This includes dirty rooms, unclean bathrooms, dusty furniture, and unpleasant odors. Even small issues like cobwebs or stained carpets can negatively impact guests’ perception of cleanliness.
  3. Staff attitude and service: Guests expect courteous, helpful, and professional service from hotel staff. Rude or unhelpful staff members, slow service, and lack of responsiveness to requests are major contributors to complaints.
  4. Room temperature and water issues: Problems with heating or air conditioning, lack of hot water, or inconsistent water temperature can significantly disrupt a guest’s comfort and enjoyment.
  5. Wi-Fi connectivity: In today’s world, reliable Wi-Fi access is essential for many guests. Slow internet speeds, dropped connections, and limited data plans are frequent sources of frustration.

The Different Types of Hotel Guest Feedback:

Understanding the different types of feedback and how to collect them effectively is essential for maximizing their impact. We will list them out and offer some thoughts about the efficiency. Hint – we think most of these are not up to the job. Check them out below then see how they fit into the feedback strategy.

Types of hotel feedback

Direct Feedback:

    • In-person feedback: Encourage guests to share their feedback directly with staff members during their stay. This allows for immediate issue resolution and demonstrates a genuine interest in their experience. However relies on the ability of staff to understand, process and act. This is just not reliable enough and is not a reliable source of honest feedback.
    • Comment cards: Provide simple and easy-to-use comment cards in guest rooms and public areas, allowing guests to offer anonymous feedback. No, No, No. – such a bad idea.
    • Email surveys: Send automatic email surveys after guests check out to gather detailed feedback on their experience. Easy to use and integrate, but way to late to take immediate action and so many other reasons why this is a bad choice for feedback.
    • Phone calls: Conduct phone calls with a representative sample of guests to gain deeper insights and personalized feedback. Insightful, actionable, but very, very expensive.

Indirect Feedback:

  • Guest behavior data: Analyze guest behavior data, such as room service orders, spa appointments, and recreational activities, to identify patterns and preferences that can be used to tailor services and amenities. This is useful for market research and marketing strategies but does nothing to help immediate operations improvement.
  • Social media mentions / Online Reviews: Actively monitor social media mentions and engage with guests responding to both positive and negative feedback. Such a terrible idea – please don’t do this.
  • Reviews listening: Utilize listening tools to track conversations about your hotel and identify emerging trends or concerns. a truly horrendous idea and exclusively for qualitative feedback.

How to Collect and Analyze Hotel Guest Feedback:

We think there four main steps to the collection and analysis of the feedback collected.

  1. Develop a comprehensive feedback strategy: Define the goals of collecting feedback, choose the most appropriate channels, and implement a feedback process for guests to provide feedback.
  2. Invest in a digital comment card: Utilize dedicated software and a feedback program that uses the guest’s own cell phone to deliver feedback scores anywhere in the hotel.
  3. Take Action and review responses: Immediately respond to any issue or unhappy guest.
  4. Share insights with key stakeholders: Ensure all relevant departments within the hotel have access to and understand the feedback insights to facilitate informed decision-making.

In addition, we also suggest reading the Twelve Golden Rules for Getting Actionable Feedback.

Implementing Actionable Insights from Guest Feedback:

  • Inform the guest of your desire to get feedback: Deliver signage throughout the hotel requesting feedback

Hotel bedroom feedback request card

  • Recognizing and rewarding positive feedback: Publicly acknowledge and thank guests for positive feedback. Hotel managers to consider rewarding staff members who consistently receive positive feedback.
  • Implementing changes based on feedback: Use guest feedback to inform decisions about service enhancements, amenity upgrades, staff training programs, and more.
  • Tracking progress and measuring results: Regularly monitor key metrics like guest satisfaction scores, online reputation scores, and repeat business rates to track the impact of your feedback initiatives.

The Use of Cell Phones to Collect Feedback – Why it Makes Sense

In today’s digital age, where smartphones accompany modern travelers all the time, hotels have an opportunity to leverage the power of mobile feedback. By collecting quantitative feedback from previous guests ,hotels can gain real-time insights, enhance guest engagement, and improve overall operations. Let’s explore why hotels should embrace this new marketing tool.

Four great reasons to use cell phone feedback in hotels:

  1. Convenience and Accessibility: Collecting feedback through cell phones offers unmatched convenience and accessibility for both guests and hotel management. Guests can provide feedback at their convenience, eliminating the need for cumbersome paper surveys or waiting in line at the front desk. Moreover, the phone mechanism delivers a positive experience where guests can share their feedback anytime, anywhere, ensuring higher response rates and more accurate data.
  2. Real-Time Feedback: By utilizing cell phones for feedback collection, hotels can tap into the power of real-time feedback. Guests can share their experiences immediately after an interaction or stay, allowing hotel management to address any concerns promptly. This enables hotels to make swift improvements and rectify any issues before they escalate, leading to enhanced guest satisfaction.
  3. Increased Accuracy and Detail: Mobile feedback provides an opportunity for guests to articulate their experiences in more detail. With cell phones, guests can easily type out their thoughts, providing specific details about their stay, service quality, amenities, or any other aspect they want to highlight. This richer and more detailed feedback allows hotels to gain deeper insights and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.
  4. Anonymity and Honesty: Mobile feedback allows guests to express their opinions anonymously. This anonymity often encourages guests to provide honest and candid feedback without fear of repercussions. This means creating a safe space for guests to share their thoughts crucial for identifying areas of improvement. Many other benefits of anonymous feedback exist.

Hotel Guest feedback by cell phone

Case Studies:

To illustrate the power of hotel guest feedback, let’s consider two examples:

  • Case Study 1: Boutique Hotel Improves Guest Experience: A small boutique hotel implemented a comprehensive feedback strategy, including in-room and in restaurant surveys. By reviewing feedback, hotel operators identified a complaint about the limited breakfast options. In response, they expanded their breakfast menu to include more diverse and healthy choices. This resulted in a significant increase in happy guest satisfaction scores and glowing reviews.

Hotel restaurant feedback card

  • Case Study 2: Resort Chain Reduces Operational Costs: A large resort chain analyzed guest behavior data and social media to identify areas where they could optimize resources. In addition, by analyzing spa appointment data and guest sentiment, they discovered that a specific type of massage was underutilized. As a result, they reduced the frequency of this offering and replaced it with a more popular option. This resulted in reduced operational costs and increased guest satisfaction with the spa offerings.

Conclusion:

In today’s competitive hospitality landscape, collecting and acting on hotel guest feedback is no longer just a good practice, it’s a business imperative. Guest satisfaction surveys using traditional methods are just not enough. By prioritizing digital feedback and implementing a cell phone strategy, hotels can unlock insights to improve guest satisfaction. Furthermore, hotel staff can react in seconds to drive operational efficiency, and reduce complaints and defection. The output includes positive guest reviews and delivers more prospective guests to visit.

Furthermore – we have a complete guide that shares additional strategies for handling negative feedback on Yelp or Tripadvisor. Online guest reviews need special handling!

By enabling individual guest feedback, via cell phone – hotels can unlock methods that ensure guests have an exceptional experience.

FAQ Section

Q1: What is the most effective way to collect hotel guest feedback? A: The most effective way is through a combination of direct and indirect methods. Meanwhile realize that each have their disadvantages. A better way is to use a digital comment card that collects data via the guest’s own cell phone.

Q2: How should hotels respond to negative guest feedback? A: Hotels should respond promptly – this means within minutes and take steps to resolve the issues.

Q3: Can positive customer satisfaction feedback be used in marketing? A: Absolutely, positive feedback can be highlighted in marketing materials and any public platform to showcase satisfaction and the hotel’s reputation.

Q4: How important is technology in managing guest feedback? A: Technology plays a crucial role in collecting, analyzing, and acting on feedback.

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