“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
These wise words from Winston Churchill in 1939 still ring true today, and they’re especially true in the hospitality industry. If you’re passionate about your work and proud of your team, criticism can hurt. But if guests don’t bring issues to your attention, you might not know they exist and won’t be able to resolve them.
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Fortunately, if you manage the guest experience expertly, most guest feedback will be positive – and that’s a lot more pleasant for guests and employees alike. To help you prevent negative reviews and earn more of those coveted five-star reviews, here we share tips, strategies, and tools for taking control of direct guest feedback.
Today, most customer feedback is either shared directly with a property in the form of in-person comments and post-stay surveys or indirectly on public channels like online review sites and social media. Feedback can be very broad, such as a property rating on Booking.com, or very specific, such as detailed remarks shared in a guest survey.
Guest feedback provides a strong indication of guest satisfaction and loyalty and often covers the full range of the hotel guest‘s experience, from check-in to check-out and everything in between. For this reason, it‘s actively solicited by many hotels and closely scrutinized as a key performance indicator (KPI) for guiding improvements.
Why is guest feedback important?
Guest feedback matters to hotels – and all other types of lodging businesses, from B&Bs and inns to hostels and short-term rentals – because happy guests are more likely to become loyal guests, whereas unhappy guests are more likely to stay elsewhere.
Not only that, but unhappy guests may become detractors, voicing their opinions in public forums like online reviews. This can be damaging to the property’s reputation and can deter other travelers from booking. On the other hand, happy guests may become promoters or advocates, sharing their positive experiences in online reviews and recommending your property to others. Good reviews can boost the property’s reputation and encourage more travelers to choose it for their next stay.
Guest feedback is a gift. As a hotelier, you can’t be everywhere at all times, so you rely on guests to share what they’re thinking, experiencing and feeling. These insights can help you with service recovery and identify any changes necessary to prevent detractors and create more advocates.
How can hotels use feedback?
Guest feedback serves two main purposes:
- It works as an operations tool – revealing your guest sentiments and indicating what you’re doing well and where improvements are needed to earn guest satisfaction and loyalty.
- It also serves as a marketing tool, helping convince travelers to choose your property. Positive guest reviews can be showcased in email marketing, across OTA channels, and on your website.
The marketing power of reviews cannot be overstated. In a 2019 survey of Tripadvisor users, 81% said they always or frequently read reviews before booking a place to stay. And 79% said they are more likely to book a hotel with a higher rating when choosing between two otherwise identical properties.