Receiving criticism—constructive or not so constructive—is a vital part of running a business. It helps you understand your hotel’s strengths and weaknesses. And managing guest feedback effectively could mean the difference between a mediocre reputation and a great reputation.
So, what do you do with guest feedback and how do you make the most of it? Let’s break it down into three steps: respond, analyze and take action.
What is Guest Feedback?
Simply put, guest feedback is the responses you receive from guests detailing their experience with your hotel business. This feedback can come in the form of online reviews, email survey responses or anonymous suggestion boxes in your hotel, for example. Feedback can also be positive, negative or neutral.
Disgruntled guests may leave feedback you feel is unwarranted. But it's important not to take it too personally — even when it may feel like a dig at your (or your colleagues’) hard work.
In fact, how you respond to negative feedback has the power to transform your business’ reputation. For example, a calm, collected response demonstrating your commitment to resolving the issue shows would-be guests that while things can and do go wrong, you care and can be relied upon to fix situations.
Why is Guest Feedback Important?
Guest feedback is also an invaluable insight into the performance of your business. Most hoteliers would agree that the day-to-day running of a hotel can be hectic. And that means you may miss things that guests immediately pick up on.
Having your customers communicate their thoughts, positive and negative, helps you put things right. Taking feedback seriously is equally important, as it shows guests that you’re dedicated to improving. Not resolving feedback can mean losing valuable customers to competitors.
But here’s the clincher: according to Expedia, there is a 72% chance that customers will value guest ratings over a hotel’s brand when choosing where to stay. That means more reviews = more business.
11 Ways to Gather Guest Feedback for Maximum Insight
Hotel guest feedback comes in various forms and through multiple channels. Here are the main types of customer feedback:
Customer satisfaction surveys are sent to guests after they have checked out to gather customer feedback on their experience.
Guests often leave reviews on popular travel and hotel review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp or Google Reviews.
Physical or electronic forms available at your hotel for guests to fill out during their stay or at check-out.
The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Guest Feedback
Responding to guest feedback is a critical aspect of managing your hotel’s reputation. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to responding to guest feedback:
Respond promptly: Have a routine and a response time target in place so that new reviews are replied to as soon as possible.
Personalize responses: Use the guests’ names in your responses and reference points of their review in your response. This is a great way to show guests that you’re all-ears.
Apologize and acknowledge concerns: Be accountable for things that have gone wrong with a guest’s stay. Showing them that you’re sorry and are willing to put it right demonstrates that you care.
Take the conversation offline: For more detailed or sensitive issues, invite the guest to continue the conversation offline. Provide contact information or direct them to a customer service representative.
Ignore feedback: Conversely, ignoring guest feedback demonstrates that you are indifferent to their feedback. Guests may feel snubbed or ripped off.
Respond defensively: Refrain from responding defensively or arguing with guests, even if the feedback is negative or seems unfair. Maintain a calm and respectful tone.
Use templated responses exclusively: While templates can be useful for efficiency, avoid using them exclusively. Tailor responses to each guest's specific feedback to demonstrate genuine engagement.
Don't make promises you can't keep: Be cautious about making promises that the hotel cannot fulfill. Ensure that any commitments made in responses can be realistically implemented.
Make Guest Feedback a Priority
The benefits of responding to guest feedback are numerous, from improved guest satisfaction and loyalty to enhanced reputation and competitive advantage. Best of all, guest feedback gives you a way to continually improve, fix problems as they occur and work on weaknesses.
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