It’s the middle of July, the peak of summer and the so-called “high season”. Hotels around the world are fully booked and struggling to keep up with the inflow of guests, operating at close to if not at full capacity.
During high season, there is an increased demand which drives up nightly rates for hotel bookings. With higher rates also comes higher expectations as guests have a different perception of value due to the increased price levels. This can sometimes make it difficult for hotels to keep up with the expectations, especially considering that hotels are often fully booked and the staff is working at full capacity.
With all of this in mind, it would be easy to forget about operations such as responding to incoming feedback online. However, this is an extremely important time for hotel managers across the globe to continue actively engaging with guest feedback. Here are four reasons why:
1. More guests = More feedback = More impact
We understand, your hotel is fully booked for nearly all of summer and has an occupancy rate that exceeds the other seasons. Collecting and responding to feedback might be the last thing on your mind. But think about it, if your hotel is now hosting more guests than ever before, it will also likely receive a higher volume of reviews and feedback coming in. If you have a larger number of bookings during the three summer months, it would mean that these three months will have the largest weighted impact on your overall ratings and reputation online considering that the volume of feedback is likely to be larger. If you’re not actively engaging with the higher volume of feedback, you’re missing out on a large chunk of feedback that will have a decisive effect on your online reputation.
Nearly 95% of all consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Remaining active and responding to feedback will continue to show you guests that you truly care about your guests and at the same time impact your reputation for future bookings.
2. Detect and solve problems before it’s too late
By reviewing all incoming feedback, you will more easily detect and solve problems that could affect future bookings. Picture this: the busiest time of the year is finally over and you’re starting to catch up on reviews. You immediately detect that the breakfast standards dropped and multiple guests shared the same negative feedback regarding the buffet. Sure, you can resolve the problem now and fix it for future bookings, but wouldn’t it have been better to resolve it three months ago before thousands of more guests had the same experience? By continuing to review feedback on a daily basis, you’ll more easily detect any problems and issues, giving you enough time to solve them before they affect a large number of guests. If the housekeeping standards are dropping, guest feedback will notify you of it and you can quickly work on an improvement. Here, tools such as In-Stay chat may also be beneficial with detecting and solving issues in the fastest way possible.
3. Keeping up with expectations
As previously mentioned, during high season you’re likely to experience increased guest expectations due to higher rates, busier staff and a greater number of leisure compared to business travellers. It’s almost inevitable that you won’t be able to satisfy as many guests as during a normal month. How does this relate to feedback? Well, the guest journey doesn’t end the minute the guest checks out. Instead, it continues and the guest experience can continue to be shaped. A negative guest experience can often be salvaged by a smart and empathetic response. Offering an apology for not meeting their standards or offering any form of compensation can lead to meeting the guest expectation and them giving you a second chance.
4. Invite your guests back for their next visit
Guests love it when you reply to feedback. It makes them feel seen, appreciated and cared for. This applies to negative as well as positive feedback. By getting back to the guest and ensuring that any issues were resolved, they will be more likely to come back another time. As for positive reviews, replying to feedback will only reaffirm the guest’s positive mindset and encourage them to come back, building loyalty along the way. Use reviews as an opportunity to thank the guests for the stay and warmly welcome them back for a future stay.
With all of that said, we are by no means suggesting for you to drop everything you’re doing and focus all your attention on responding to feedback. Rather, we’re suggesting that by continuing to keep an eye on incoming feedback, your hotel will experience happier guests and better ratings in the long-run. You may even be able to detect problems that can improve hotel operations, improving efficiency in other areas.
Continue to stay motivated and try to keep in mind that pushing through the next few weeks and actively engaging with your guests will shape a successful next quarter for your hotel.
Net Promoter, NPS®, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.