With consumers often relying more on online reviews than traditional rating systems when selecting hotels, it is getting harder for hoteliers to ensure that reviews for their establishments are genuine.
The British Hospitality Association(BHA) recently called for more to be done to tackle fake and malicious reviews and provide greater transparency in current ratings systems. However, there have been limited methods for both hoteliers and consumers to verify is reviews are genuine and subjective. The Know, an intelligent mystery guest service for luxury and boutique hotels which provides establishments with detailed, confidential, qualitative insight and analytics, offers a worthwhile solution to this issue.
Mané Ryatt and Fiona Adams founders of The Know, commented: “All hoteliers love to receive positive feedback especially the direct guest forms that rate everything with the highest possible score and have a comment saying, ‘Everything was wonderful!’. But, is this really what good feedback looks like?
“To be able to refine their offering and exceed ever-increasing guest expectations, general managers and their teams need so much more than just a couple of sentences and a number rating.”
Mané and Fiona have identified the attributes that turn standard feedback in to actionable intelligence. These include:
Detail – Naturally, featuring fewer questions on an un-incentivised direct guest feedback form, means you’ll get a higher response rate, but it’s at the cost of gaining the required detail to effect change. A positive or a negative online review with minimum detail does little to inform future guests and help them chose your hotel over others.
Balanced – Feedback should be both positive and negative and guests should be encouraged to bring out both aspects. Hoteliers need to know what they are doing well so they can not only maintain but further enhance the high levels of service and roll out the initiatives to other hotels in their group. Too often online reviews only focus on the negatives. In addition, the ideal guest feedback covers the entire guest experience, from booking and check-in to departure with an equal amount of focus on each individual aspect.
Consistency – The very nature of feedback is that it is subjective. A consistent structure with leading questions is key to ensuring a common approach from respondents which will ultimately enable the hotelier to track progress over time.
Recommendations and suggestions – Guest reviews that provide recommendations and suggestions for changes hold incredible value. Guests are often frequent travellers of similar standard hotels and have a wealth of experience to share if incentivised to do so.
Real Paying Guests – Unverified review sites often feature a high number of fake reviews – both positive and negative – leaving hoteliers frustrated and readers confused and untrusting. Mystery guest suppliers often stay for a minimum period of time and don’t pay for their stay while hotel inspectors often come from the industry and have a different perspective from a real paying guest. The ideal guest feedback should come from real paying guests having a real stay experience for a standard period of time.
Confidential – The best feedback is guaranteed to be confidential, allowing the hotelier to fix any issues before the greater public become aware.
When feedback encapsulates all of the above aspects, the hotelier truly has the opportunity to use it as a tool for change.
For more information about The Know visit: https://www.theknow.club/