Guests write reviews for one of two reasons. They were either surprised and delighted by their experience with your hotel because their expectations were exceeded, or they were surprised and disappointed because their expectations were not met. In either case, these reviews are valuable learning experiences for your staff members. By paying attention to what your guests are saying about your hotel online, you and your staff can get a better picture of what you’re doing right and where you have opportunity to improve.
Here are some ways to operationalize guest feedback to increase your level of guest satisfaction, and ultimately, improve your hotel’s reputation.
1. Read reviews in weekly meetings
Try using a positive sandwich to boost staff morale and get them focused on caring about guest feedback. Start with a good review, follow with a negative review, and end with a glowing review. Talk about the areas where your hotel is doing well. Discuss any consistent themes, positive or negative. For example, maybe your hotel’s check-in is remarkably fast, but your bellhops need to be a little more friendly.
2. Celebrate review wins
When a customer goes out of his or her way to write a fantastic review, it means your hotel and every staff member he or she encountered exceeded expectations. Glowing reviews should be celebrated! Be sure to call out any staff members mentioned in good reviews. This is also a good basis for a potential incentive program—consider implementing bonuses or an annual raffle program for staff members mentioned by name in positive guest feedback.
3. Train staff to ask for reviews
While some hoteliers may be hesitant to solicit guests to leave reviews or fill out a guest experience survey, our clients see an average increase of 57% in review volume when they ask for reviews. As we’ve stated previously, the trick is to pick the right time to ask. Train staff to ask guests to leave reviews upon checkout, or at other staff-guest touchpoints, especially if the interaction has been a positive one. You could say something like, “I’m so glad we were able to resolve this for you today. We want every person’s stay with us to be a special experience, and we monitor our TripAdvisor feedback carefully. If you have a couple of minutes when you get home, would you mind going online to let us hear your thoughts on what we’re doing right, as well as our opportunities for improvement?” It also helps to send a post-stay email to every guest, soliciting feedback.
4. Use reviews as training exercises
Nothing prepares staff for troubleshooting guest complaints better than real world examples. Use both positive and negative reviews to run training exercises with staff. Ask each staff member: What was done right here? What could have been done better?
5. Respond to online reviews
Show past guests and prospectives that you care about them by responding to online feedback. For more details, check out our guides on how to respond to different types of reviews: Positive, negative, and mixed.
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