Hotel Guest Loyalty: Creating Social Customer Intelligence
By Ashish Gambhir Co-founder , newBrandAnalytics | October 23, 2011
More than any other industry, hospitality has been transformed by social media. Not that long ago, hotels assessed customer satisfaction using traditional forms of feedback - such as customer surveys, printed comment cards, inbound emails, website comments, etc.
But times have changed dramatically. As the volume of feedback from these traditional sources continues to decline - response rates from these channels have fallen from 50% in 2007 to 28% in 2011 - mentions per brand, region, and even unit (or product) per year on social feedback channels are increasing exponentially.
Customer satisfaction can no longer be relied on as a metric to predict loyalty. The presumption has been that satisfied guests will remain loyal. Research shows, however, that customer satisfaction does not always equal customer loyalty:
- 40% of satisfied customers switch suppliers without hesitation (Forum Corp).
- 65%-85% of customers who choose a new supplier claim to be satisfied to very satisfied with the former supplier (Harvard Business Review).
- 85% of customers claim to be satisfied, yet willing to switch to other suppliers (University of Texas).
These statistics are compelling, clearly indicating that even for the best-of-class service provider hotels, there is a strong need to look well beyond customer satisfaction scores and take a deeper-dive into what truly drives loyalty: The guest experience. Mining and analyzing online feedback gives great insight into the guest experience. What's driving repeat stays? What's causing guests to defect? Are they recommending your hotel? Why or why not?
Hotels Need to Take a Deep Dive into Online Guest Feedback
Hotels, for the most part, are not online asking questions about the hundreds of factors that impact a guest's experience, such as: location, room amenities and comfort, cleanliness, service, staff, maintenance, and parking. Instead, customers are tweeting, posting, and blogging their opinions about these topics based on their own motivation in unsolicited forums.