Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Swinburn

John Swinburn

Executive Director, Mystery Shopping Providers Association

John Swinburn is Executive Director of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), a position he has held for eleven years. In this role, he has developed a keen understanding of the crucial importance to a company's image, and to its bottom line, of regularly measuring and successfully managing the customer experience. Several of the association's member companies specialize in hospitality industry customer experience measurement and management, giving him the opportunity to learn about industry-specific issues related to hotels' customer experience. That access, coupled with a career in association management spanning more than thirty years—many of which have been spent in various components of the hospitality industry—has given him a unique perspective on the ways in which both organizations and individuals perceive and respond to hotel brands. During his tenure with MSPA, Mr. Swinburn was instrumental in launching an annual industry operating ratio survey, the results of which member companies can use as benchmarks for their own financial and operational performance. "I am a firm believer in the concept that 'what gets measured gets done' and it just makes sense that the mystery shopping industry, which is all about measurement, should have its own internal measures to ensure good performance," he says. Mr. Swinburn was involved in the process which transformed MSPA from what had been a primarily North American association into a global organization with four distinct and largely autonomous geographic regions serving the North American, European, Asia-Pacific, and Latin American markets. Prior to forming his own association management company, Challenge Management, Inc. (which includes MSPA as a client), he served as executive director of what is now the International Association of Venue Managers and as senior vice president and chief operating officer of what is now the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. Earlier in his career, while employed by two Chicago-based association management companies, he served as executive director of several trade associations and professional societies. Mr. Swinburn graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor of arts degree. He took graduate level courses at Sam Houston State University.

Mr. Swinburn can be contacted at 972-406-1104 or info@mysteryshop.org

Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.