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July 22, 2019

How to Engage Your Guests and Get Crucial Feedback

David Wang

2019 Guest Feedback Blog

It’s no secret that TripAdvisor and other online review sites have a great influence on booking decisions.

In fact, a study from New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism found that travelers are nearly four times more likely to select a hotel with higher review scores when prices are the same. Additionally, the same study showed that 76% of travelers are more willing to book a hotel with higher scores even if it costs more than its equivalent hotel with a lower rating.

In order to continuously improve your brand reputation and scores on TripAdvisor, Google and others, there are a few things to consider, like how and when to ask guests for reviews, but it all starts with providing great service.

In this article, we will show you different ways to engage guests with surveys, when to send them and what questions to ask.

Getting Feedback from Guests

Zingle works with hundreds of hotels and knows that getting guest feedback is a huge challenge.

There may be various reasons why some guests provide feedback and others don’t. It could be that they were too busy, had a solid experience not worth raving or complaining about or simply because the process takes too much effort.

It’s hard to change the first couple of reasons, but you can make the feedback process faster and more convenient for guests to increase the chances of getting feedback.

In-Person: During specific interactions like after a dining experience or during check-out, hotel staff asks guests how their stay was. This is a great method to create a personal connection with guests, but timing is key in this situation and it’s not easy to compile and measure responses over time. To avoid annoying guests, hotel staff needs to ask guests at the right time and in a conversational way. Strong responses — either good or bad — must be recorded in some way so actions can be taken when necessary.

Phone Calls: A designated staff member calls every guest that has checked in that day to ask them if everything is OK in their room and if they need anything more. This is another great way to connect with guests on a personal level, but it is tedious and takes a lot of manpower, and not every guest may be in their room or respond to a message. Recording feedback is also a challenge.

Feedback Cards: This is probably the oldest way of getting feedback. Comment cards are placed in guest rooms as well as handed out during check-out along with other placements throughout the hotel. Although old school, this method can be effective, but the printing costs associated with it can be high and it’s also a manual process to go through every feedback card to analyze the data and make decisions.

Emails: Survey emails are the most common method today and several companies help hotels automate this process and can aggregate and even benchmark results. Surveys are typically sent 24-48 hours after the guest has checked out of the hotel. Although convenient, the downside to this method is guests are well past their stay and response rates are often low.

Mobile Messaging: Sending guests a simple text message to get their feedback may be the most convenient and effective way to get guest feedback in real-time. When guests opt into text messaging, hotels can send a short and quick satisfaction survey mid-stay, which means the hotel is getting real-time feedback and in time to resolve issues before the guests leave. The SLS Las Vegas does a great job employing this approach.

When it comes to getting guest feedback, speed and convenience are key, but it’s a good practice to deploy multiple methods to ensure you’re reaching as many guests as possible.

The goal is not only to understand how you’re doing, but also to improve the service before guests leave and post negative reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Google, Expedia or the others.

If you’re only hearing guest feedback after guests post online, it’s far too late to salvage a bad experience and the damage will be done, impacting future bookings.

When to Ask Guests for Feedback

Most hotels only ask for feedback or a review after the guest has checked out. Although this is not wrong, there is a huge opportunity for hotels to get feedback while guests are still on the property. All of the strategies hotels use to get guest feedback should be deployed during the guest stay, not just after.

For example, when a guest checks into their room, a staff member should be reaching out either by phone or text message to ensure the room is satisfactory. This is the first encounter a guest has with their room and can set the mood for the rest of the stay. Ensuring the room is up to guest standards is extremely important and if something is wrong, the hotel can turn a negative into a positive with a fast response.

During the stay, hotels should also do a “mid-stay checkup,” which can be as simple as a quick call or text to a guest during their stay to again ask how things are going. This creates an opportunity for a personal connection and can uncover any potential issues that could be resolved.

By collecting guest feedback at the beginning and the middle of their stay, there should be no surprises when the guest is checking out. The end-of-stay survey is a great way to get an overall sense of guest satisfaction and the perfect time to solicit a TripAdvisor or other review if your guests are happy with you.

What Questions You Need to Ask Guests

The questions you ask on a guest satisfaction survey are tremendously important as it may or may not give you the information you need to make improvements. At the same time, you need to limit the number of questions to increase the likelihood that you will get a response. Don’t make it look and feel like a final exam. Keep it short and simple.

Here are some different types of questions to ask on your guest satisfaction survey:

Room Quality
• How clean was your room upon arrival?
• How well did housekeeping clean your room?
• How was the quality of the amenities in your room?

Service
• How friendly/polite was hotel staff?
• How quickly were you able to get service from staff members?
• How satisfied are you overall in your experience with our hotel?

Food
• How was the service at our restaurant?
• How was the food quality at our restaurant?
• How affordable was the food at our restaurant?

Loyalty & Promoters
• How likely are you to stay at our hotel again?
• How likely are you to recommend our hotel to others?

Lastly, don’t forget to leave a section in your survey for guest comments. Usually, those are the most interesting and useful nuggets of information you can use to follow up with the guest and make improvements based on written comments, rather than a simple rating.

Summary

Getting guest feedback can be a challenge, however, leveraging the right strategies and asking the right questions can help improve response and provide great insights that can be used to better take care of future guests. It also will likely lead to better online reviews.

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