Hotel S:t Clemens is an award-winning, smaller family-owned hotel in Visby, Sweden. They have 30 rooms split into five houses, connected by two cozy, beautiful courtyards. The eldest house is from the 1600s while the newest is from the 1920s. Right next door to the hotel you find the ruins of S:t Clemens Church from the 1200s. The hotel is centrally located in Visby, making it an ideal point for guests that want to see and explore as much as possible of the town, located on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.
Carl, Hotel Director of Hotel S:t Clemens, was kind enough to answer a few questions on how the hotel manages to achieve such excellent customer satisfaction and how they utilise Loopon to achieve their goals.
First of all, what would you say makes Hotel S:t Clemens unique?
We want to make the guests’ stay into an experience. Our central location in Visby is ideal for just that. We keep the charm of the town of Visby. For example, the rooms are renovated in a 1800s and early 1900s style. The wallpapers are Swedish and a lot of the furniture is from auctions across the island.
In Visby, the people and the houses are close to each other. At the same time there is a relaxed and open atmosphere which is difficult to find in a bigger city. This is also what we want our guests to experience. We therefore focus a lot of our time towards finding the best staff and creating a real culture where we take care of the guests in a natural, honest and warm way. It should be pleasant and cozy to enter the hotel and it should be pleasant and cozy to work at the hotel. If the employees enjoy working, the guests will enjoy their stay and vice versa.
We have high staffing for a relatively small amount of rooms, allowing us to view the guest in a way that it's tough to do otherwise. At the same time we’re few enough to almost always get the chance to meet all guests personally. If you’ve stayed here once before I will recognise you the next time you walk through the door.
Guest feedback is of course an important topic. How do you try to integrate guest feedback for daily and monthly decision-making?
At a so-called seasonal destination like Visby it’s difficult to make monthly analyses. We do, however, work with analysing and evaluating each year. During the second half the year we’ll analyse thoroughly and then we specifically look at Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and guest feedback in order to identify new trends and areas of improvement. In general, thinking long-term is key. We do our planning with the purpose of having a better hotel in both one year and in ten years from now.
Guest satisfaction is always priority number one in everything that we do. We don’t make any savings or other decisions whatsoever if we see that we may risk it impacting the guest satisfaction negatively. Instead, practically all changes, small or large, are based on us identifying the changes as able to increase the guest satisfaction in any way. Our high guest satisfaction also affects us positively in that we perform well turnover-wise if you compare to the rest of the market, which shows that we clearly see all efforts towards improving guest satisfaction as having a positive overall impact.
In which way do you use Loopon in order to improve your Guest Satisfaction?
We use Loopon primarily for two main things: feedback and analysis. By using Loopon we receive feedback directly from the guests and can see if something is not working or if we need to make improvements. It allows us to notice things that we may not have noticed ourselves. We then also use Loopon to complete more detailed analyses where we can see trends in NPS (Net Promoter Score) and other areas of our hotel.
Sometimes it’s useful to complete more semantic analyses of the feedback texts from the guests, to identify patterns that don’t always show up in numbers and diagrams. A couple of years ago we did such an analysis where we looked at which adjectives were mostly used to describe different parts of the guest experience at the hotel. Here we were able to identify a new and interesting pattern. Location was perfect, the service was excellent but breakfast was just “good”. The breakfast definitely stood out. There were rarely complaints about the breakfast but it wasn’t often praised with superlatives like the personnel or location was.
If the experience is going to be fantastic we have to strive towards making each part of the experience fantastic. We therefore initiated a project to improve the breakfast from “good” to “fantastic”. With a little bit of help from an external perspective we evaluated the breakfast, brought in a few new things, bought new porcelain and changed the presentation of the food. Half a year later the word breakfast was associated with much more positive adjectives in the guest feedback. Now the breakfast was also “fantastic”.
How has Reputation Management helped Hotel S:t Clemens succeed over the years?
Although we've always had a high score on OTAs, such as Booking.com, we've seen a continuous improvement over the years. Today we are happy to have a score of 9.4 out of 10 on Booking.com.
What's your favourite thing about Loopon?
The main reason why we chose to work with Loopon is because Loopon takes care of the guest surveys automatically and also get a lot of the guests to publish their reviews on TripAdvisor. You get happy guests if you meet or exceed their expectations. In order to do so, the guests must have the right expectations to start with. Nothing makes this easier than by having other guest reviews online, which is why online reviews are the be-all and end-all for delivering an exceptional guest experience.
Are there any particular trends that you’re paying special attention to in 2019?
The main thing that is happening right now within guest satisfaction is there are reviews being written on many different OTAs (Online Travel Agencies). First it was mainly TripAdvisor, then Booking.com and Expedia came. Now reviews are written on Facebook and Google too. How this affects the guest’s behaviour when booking is difficult to see but we’re keeping our eye on it.
Something else that is very close to us is sustainability, a topic that we've been working on for years. Today it isn't very easy to reach out to potential guests regarding our sustainable profile but we have noticed that when the guests reaches the hotel and realises that we have a strong focus on sustainability and being environmentally friendly, it helps with making the guest feel at home and that they've made a good choice in hotel. This in turn leads to a more satisfied guest and a higher online score than if we hadn't focused as much on sustainability.
Finally, do you have any other tips for hotels trying to improve their guest satisfaction to the same standards as Hotel S:t Clemens?
If you want happy guests, you have to focus on making the guests happy. Create a product that the guests want. Outside of that, it has a lot to do with your interactions with the guest. Build a culture with your staff where they give service from the heart and have the freedom to give the guests the care and time that they need to truly feel taken care of. If you manage to do that, everything else doesn’t have to be perfect. A small miss in cleaning can often be compensated by with a warm smile from the reception.
A big thank you to Carl from Hotel S:t Clemens and hopefully other hoteliers can draw learnings from their excellence.
Do you also want to improve your guest satisfaction? Get in touch with us at Loopon to get started!