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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.