Is Your Mystery Shop Program Working?

By Jesse Boles Executive Director of Operations, FreemanGroup | April 29, 2012

To find out whether your hotel's mystery shop program is enabling you to measure service levels in a way that is useful to your team and bringing about tangible results, ask yourself five questions.

1. Is it based on relevant logic?

You know your mystery shop program is working when results are revealing the things you don't know rather than the things you do know.

Mystery shops should focus on the things that are hard to see or observe. How are your employees behaving in complex situations?

An outdated mystery shop model focuses on the obvious things that anyone walking through your hotel would notice. These things might include employees in poorly fitting uniforms, burned out light bulbs, damaged carpet-things you see every day on the job.

The logic behind truly modern mystery shop platforms allows you to measure complex behaviors. Rather than simply record whether the wait time at check-in exceeded five minutes, modern mystery shop programs require mystery shoppers to record real wait times and details such as whether or not the front desk agent apologized when wait time standards were not met, whether anyone was working the line, whether refreshments were offered, etc.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.