A Complete Guide to Managing Guest Feedback in Hotels

Bryan Michalis
Bryan Michalis
Updated
February 22, 2024
/
Published
December 20, 2023
A Complete Guide to Managing Guest Feedback in Hotels

Receiving criticism—constructive or not so constructive—is a vital part of running a business. It helps you understand your hotel’s strengths and weaknesses. And managing guest feedback effectively could mean the difference between a mediocre reputation and a great reputation.

So, what do you do with guest feedback and how do you make the most of it? Let’s break it down into three steps: respond, analyze and take action.

What is Guest Feedback?

Simply put, guest feedback is the responses you receive from guests detailing their experience with your hotel business. This feedback can come in the form of online reviews, email survey responses or anonymous suggestion boxes in your hotel, for example. Feedback can also be positive, negative or neutral.

Disgruntled guests may leave feedback you feel is unwarranted. But it's important not to take it too personally — even when it may feel like a dig at your (or your colleagues’) hard work.

In fact, how you respond to negative feedback has the power to transform your business’ reputation. For example, a calm, collected response demonstrating your commitment to resolving the issue shows would-be guests that while things can and do go wrong, you care and can be relied upon to fix situations.

Why is Guest Feedback Important?

Guest feedback is also an invaluable insight into the performance of your business. Most hoteliers would agree that the day-to-day running of a hotel can be hectic. And that means you may miss things that guests immediately pick up on.

Having your customers communicate their thoughts, positive and negative, helps you put things right. Taking feedback seriously is equally important, as it shows guests that you’re dedicated to improving. Not resolving feedback can mean losing valuable customers to competitors.

But here’s the clincher: according to Expedia, there is a 72% chance that customers will value guest ratings over a hotel’s brand when choosing where to stay. That means more reviews = more business.

11 Ways to Gather Guest Feedback for Maximum Insight

Hotel guest feedback comes in various forms and through multiple channels. Here are the main types of customer  feedback:

Surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys are sent to guests after they have checked out to gather customer  feedback on their experience.

Online reviews

Guests often leave reviews on popular travel and hotel review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp or Google Reviews.

Feedback forms

Physical or electronic forms available at your hotel for guests to fill out during their stay or at check-out.

Social media

Guests may share their experiences on social media platforms, tagging your hotel in their posts.

Email communication

Guests may directly email with their feedback or comments.

Customer comment cards

Physical cards placed in guest rooms for guests to provide feedback on their customer journey.

Face-to-face interaction

Direct communication with staff during the stay, such as at the front desk or through interactions with hotel personnel.

Phone surveys

Follow-up phone calls from your staff to gather customer feedback on the guest's experience.

Mobile apps

Your hotel’s mobile app that guests can use to provide feedback and suggestions.

In-room tablets

In-room tablets where guests can submit feedback on their experience or what could have improved their customer experience.

Guest forums

Online forums or community spaces where guests can share their experiences and suggestions.

Infographic: 11 Ways to Gather Guest Feedback for Max Insights

Clever Methods for Putting Guest Feedback to Use

So, you’re collecting guest feedback, but how do you put it to use? The good news is there are lots of ways to use your guests’ opinions and critiques. Let’s look at a few:

1. Identify areas for improvement

Analyze feedback to identify specific areas where you can improve your product or  services, amenities or overall guest experience.

2. Staff training

Use feedback to identify training needs for staff members. This could include customer support, customer service training, communication skills or specific technical skills.

Operational changesImplement operational changes based on guest feedback to address issues and enhance overall efficiency.

3. Enhance customer service

Identify patterns in guest feedback to improve customer service processes and ensure a positive interaction with guests.

4. Personalization

Use guest preferences and feedback to personalize your services, creating a more tailored and enjoyable experience for individual guests.

5. Marketing and promotion

Highlight positive feedback in marketing materials to build trust and attract potential guests. Positive reviews can serve as powerful testimonials.

6. Online reputation management

Respond promptly and professionally to online reviews, both positive and negative, to show that your hotel values guest feedback and is committed to addressing concerns.

7. Website and booking platform updates

Make necessary updates to your website and booking platforms based on feedback to improve the reservation process.

8.Invest in facilities and amenities

Allocate resources to improve or add facilities and amenities that guests have consistently mentioned in their feedback.

9. Employee recognition

Recognize and reward staff members who consistently receive positive feedback, fostering a culture of excellence in customer service.

10. Sustainability initiatives

Introduce or improve sustainability initiatives based on guest feedback, reflecting a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Effective Strategies for Guest Feedback Management

Getting your customer feedback management down is crucial if you want to make the most of it. Here are seven ways you can manage your guest feedback:

1. Implement multi-channel feedback collection

Collecting customer feedback through various channels ensures a comprehensive understanding of guest experiences. This includes surveys, online reviews, social media and direct communication.

2. Monitor feedback in real-time

Implement tools and systems for real-time monitoring of guest feedback. This enables you to address issues promptly and provide immediate solutions.

3. Create a guest feedback loop

Inform guests about the actions taken based on their feedback. This not only shows responsiveness but also keeps guests engaged.

4. Encourage anonymous feedback

Some guests may be more comfortable sharing their opinions without revealing their identity. Suggestion boxes, for example, enable guests to share feedback anonymously.

5. Train staff on feedback handling

Train staff on how to handle guest feedback. Ensure that they respond professionally, empathetically and with a commitment to addressing concerns.

6. Implement a guest satisfaction index (GSI)

Develop a guest satisfaction index to quantitatively measure overall satisfaction. Use this index to track performance over time and set improvement goals.

7. Utilize technology to streamline feedback collection

Use technology such as smart checkout to guide guests to leave a review on TripAdvisor or Google through a brief, customizable survey.

See how Ali’i Resorts increased its star rating from 3.5 to 4.6 on Google since implementing Canary’s Checkout solution.

The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Guest Feedback

Responding to guest feedback is a critical aspect of managing your hotel’s reputation. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to responding to guest feedback:

Do:

     
  • Respond promptly: Have a routine and a response time target in place so that new reviews are replied to as soon as possible.
  •  
  • Personalize responses: Use the guests’ names in your responses and reference points of their review in your response. This is a great way to show guests that you’re all-ears.
  •  
  • Apologize and acknowledge concerns: Be accountable for things that have gone wrong with a guest’s stay. Showing them that you’re sorry and are willing to put it right demonstrates that you care.
  •  
  • Take the conversation offline: For more detailed or sensitive issues, invite the guest to continue the conversation offline. Provide contact information or direct them to a customer service representative.

Don’t:

     
  • Ignore feedback: Conversely, ignoring guest feedback demonstrates that you are indifferent to their feedback. Guests may feel snubbed or ripped off.
  •  
  • Respond defensively: Refrain from responding defensively or arguing with guests, even if the feedback is negative or seems unfair. Maintain a calm and respectful tone.
  •  
  • Use templated responses exclusively: While templates can be useful for efficiency, avoid using them exclusively. Tailor responses to each guest's specific feedback to demonstrate genuine engagement.
  •  
  • Don't make promises you can't keep: Be cautious about making promises that the hotel cannot fulfill. Ensure that any commitments made in responses can be realistically implemented.

Infographic: Getting Hotel Feedback from Surveys

Make Guest Feedback a Priority

The benefits of responding to guest feedback are numerous, from improved guest satisfaction and loyalty to enhanced reputation and competitive advantage. Best of all, guest feedback gives you a way to continually improve, fix problems as they occur and work on weaknesses.

Learn How Canary Can Help Your Properties Thrive

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