How to Drive Bookings, Improve Operations, and Personalize the Guest Experience

In Appreciation of Guest Feedback

By Chris Campbell Chief Tracking Officer, Review Trackers | December 11, 2016

In a 2012 feature article for The Week magazine entitled "Confessions of a Hotel Insider, " Jacob Tomsky, who describes himself as having "worked in hotels for more than a decade," wrote down some of the standard front desk lies. Like: "All rooms are basically the same size." And: "My pleasure."

For any executive or staffer who has seen or handled his own share of guest interactions, Tomsky's list is worth a chuckle. Some may even nod in agreement and admit to being guilty as charged. But between "Of course I remember you! Welcome back!" and "I'm sorry the bellman made you uncomfortable, I will certainly alert management," there was a line/lie that caught my attention, "I appreciate your feedback."

If this is (still) a laughing matter in your organization, you have a problem. No matter what form it takes - online reviews and ratings, social media comments, guest survey responses, customer data from your hotel's CRM, unprompted guest emails and phone calls, call center notes - guest feedback has quickly become one of the most important sources of information for driving bookings and improving operations in the hotel industry. And it should be taken seriously and appreciated by everyone in your organization, from the C-suite to the front line.

In a world where travel consumers are exposed to a seemingly unlimited number of lodging solutions, what others say about your hotel or how they rate their experience can spell the difference between you and the competition. For hotel executives, guest feedback has also become a critical topic of conversation in the boardroom, especially in a marketing climate that's increasingly data-driven.

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The Importance of Diving Deep Into Guest Feedback

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.