Guest feedback surveys can help hoteliers gain insight into the guest experience. They can provide a great deal of information about the general guest experience and the hotel property. They can also be targeted to capture more specific feedback on items like recent renovations or the quality of a breakfast buffet. But, a guest feedback survey is only helpful when you can get a significant number of your guests to take the time to complete it. Here are a few ways you can improve the performance of your guest feedback survey.
How to optimize your hotel survey
For the highest possible completion rate, you need to optimize the overall structure of your survey. Here are a few things to think about:
1. The right length
Aim for 5-10 minutes, under 25 questions. A good survey is long enough to harvest useful information, but not so long as to bore customers into abandoning it.
2. Grab attention
Ask the interesting questions in the beginning of the survey to grab guests’ attention.
3. Logical flow
Survey questions should follow a logical pattern, to avoid confusion. Try this: Follow the booking/stay process from start to finish to trigger guests’ memories. Surveys with higher completion rates also tend to group questions according to topic, like housekeeping or amenities.
4. Use at least one review-style field
A review-style field encourages guests to focus on just the things that stood out during their stay. If something doesn’t make it into the review, it didn’t make a lasting impression. This allows you to pare down the length of the survey and be more selective about the questions you include. For example, instead of including a laundry list of the same questions about housekeeping and amenities, you can focus your multiple choice questions on items like recent renovations or areas where you want to track improvement like the check-in process. For some other reasons why you should consider using a review-style survey, check out this recent blog post.
5. Check reporting
If certain questions have lower answer rates, ask why. Maybe the questions are not relevant to your guests, or maybe they are phrased in a way that is confusing.
How to compose effective hotel survey questions
Speaking of phrasing, how you structure individual questions is just as important as the overall structure of your survey. In addition to achieving a high completion rate, questions that are easy to understand can give you more accurate survey results. Here are some points to consider when composing your questions:
It’s important to compose guest satisfaction survey questions that will make guests give genuine answers. For example, instead of asking, “How did you like our state-of-the-art check-in kiosk?”, which can be leading, let the guest make the call: “How would you rate your experience with the check-in kiosk?”
2. Don’t use industry jargon
Instead of saying “OTA,” for example, use “third party reservation site,” or “online travel agency.” Your guest may not be familiar with industry jargon and as a result may become frustrated or confused.
3. Avoid questions stated in the negative
A question starting off like this, “I would not prefer a completely automated check-in process” is confusing. If a customer wanted to answer, “Yes, I would prefer a completely automated check-in process,” he or she would have to make “disagree” the answer. Instead, use a direct, positive statement with which the guest can agree or disagree: “I would prefer a completely automated check-in process.”
4. Only ask one question at a time
For example, don’t ask about both the pool chairs and the towels in the same question. The guest could make statements that mean either the pool chairs or the towels, and your survey results won’t be clear.
5. Remember: You need to use this feedback
Ask yourself about each question: If you received an answer to this, could you use it and act on it? If not, how valuable is it to you? Think about how you plan to use the results.
How to ask your guests for feedback
Many hoteliers worry that soliciting feedback from guests could be perceived as pushy or rude. This is certainly a valid concern, but it can be very effective if done in the right way.
Try asking your guests to complete a survey at checkout. Remind guests that you care about them by saying something like, “We try each and every day to deliver the best possible guest experience. If you could take a couple of minutes to fill out this quick survey, we’d love to hear your thoughts on what we’re doing right, as well as our opportunities for improvement.”
Sometimes guests are totally happy to leave feedback, but they just need a reminder to do so. Sending each guest an email to solicit feedback a day or two after he or she checks out can drastically increase your survey response rates.