Amora Hotels is an independently owned hotel group based in Thailand, with seven hotels across the globe, including three in Thailand, two in New Zealand, and two in Australia. The flagship property, Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney, boasts 415 rooms, a world-class spa, conference and meeting space and the presidential suites necessary to service VIP guests.
Staff at the hotel takes great pride in the service and the amenities at the property. Abhishek Sinha, the Front Office Manager at the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney, says, “Our goal is to be the number one accommodation provider in our comp set. We want to have an edge in customer service and the product that we provide to our client base.”
When the hotel staff decided to closely manage its online reputation and began to dig into the hotel’s scores and online feedback, they were surprised by what they discovered. Guests felt that the rooms weren’t right for modern travelers and often complained about the lack of outlets in the rooms. In addition, the hotel trailed its comp set on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index so when prospective guests searched for hotels in Sydney, Amora Hotel Jamison was displayed after its competitors.
In order to beat the competition on TripAdvisor and to better serve its guests, the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney began a full floor-by-floor renovation of guest rooms in June 2014. They leaned very heavily on guest feedback to determine where to invest. Sinha says, “Each room now has a media hub where guests can plug in laptops, iPads, USB devices, and DVD players. They can also connect to bluetooth with their smart devices. We’ve brought the comfort of home for the modern traveler to each hotel room.”
When Sinha joined the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney staff in January 2014, he found that despite the renovations and technology updates, the hotel had only risen one place on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index. At the time, the hotel was using paper guest satisfaction surveys and checking review sites manually, which was time-consuming. The staff also didn’t have an easy way to see trends in feedback data to pinpoint specific ways to improve the guest experience. It was clear that to improve the hotel’s online reputation, the renovations alone were not enough.
Sinha already knew how crucial it is for hotels to operationalize guest feedback. He had used a traditional GSS service in a previous position to monitor his online reputation and respond to reviews. But since the service only covered a limited number of review sites and social media networks, Sinha decided to look for another solution. Sinha needed an industry-leading solution that was more focused on public-facing, user-generated content rather than long-form, private surveys. Also, since the TripAdvisor Popularity Index is based primarily on the quality, quantity and recency of reviews, Sinha needed a way to get more of his guests to write reviews online. To fill these needs, Sinha decided to sign up for Revinate’s solutions for Online Reputation Management and Post-Stay Surveys.
When Sinha started Revinate service on July 1, 2014, the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney was at #56 on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index. In August, it rose to #41. By the writing of this article in September, the hotel was at #35. “Everyone was shocked. We never expected to improve so quickly,” says Sinha.
The massive jump in ranking can be largely attributed to Sinha’s decision to move away from traditional GSS and take a modern look at the practice of collecting guest feedback. With Revinate Post-Stay Surveys, when guests respond to requests for feedback, the comments are automatically submitted to TripAdvisor, thereby increasing the hotel’s volume of reviews. In addition, the hotel found that by soliciting reviews, their feedback was more positive. Sinha says, “We found that when we began soliciting reviews from guests, the ratings we got were higher than the ratings we got organically.”
The Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney was also able to improve the guest experience by actively using Revinate’s Online Reputation Management solution, which gathers a wide range of feedback from all over the internet and analyzes it, allowing Sinha to spot areas for operational improvement. “Each month, we look at the trending topics on the dashboard. When there are negative topics, we dig deep and see where we can improve the guest experience,” says Sinha. For example, through Revinate’s sentiment analysis technology, Sinha discovered that guests were dissatisfied with the check-in process. “We didn’t realize before that guests thought the check-in process was too slow. But after seeing the data I worked with the front desk to make our operational procedures more efficient,” he says. Now, the hotel gets positive remarks about speed of check-in.
Sinha also enjoys the additional social media features that come standard with Revinate’s solution. He says, “One of the best parts of Online Reputation Management is the social search feature. I wasn’t getting this with the other online GSS provider, and I’ve never heard of this functionality in my fifteen years in hospitality. We can put in keywords for our area, and get all social media mentions pulled up, allowing us to target promotions based on what people are looking for,” Sinha says.
As a final point of differentiation from the other online hotel guest survey provider, Sinha noted that with many traditional GSS services, each hotel gets a limited number of logins. With Revinate, Sinha can give access to his entire staff. “Revinate is very user-friendly, and it has become a cornerstone of our operations. Everyone, from housekeeping to the kitchen brigade, has his or her own login and uses Revinate to track feedback pertaining to his/her particular function. Each department makes its own goals based on the data we get with Revinate. That’s incredibly powerful for us,” Sinha says.
The Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney has shown that moving away from traditional GSS isn’t as scary as many hoteliers think. In fact, this hotel’s focus on user-generated, public feedback has helped it gain a big leg up on competitors who are adhering to a more traditional guest feedback strategy. “Overall, Revinate is just outstanding. I think everyone in this industry needs it,” says Sinha.
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