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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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.