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5 ways to build brand loyalty in the hospitality industry

5 ways to build brand loyalty in the hospitality industry

Recently, researchers at Boston University published a study revealing that the continued success of online community rental companies like Airbnb has an impact on hotel revenues.

For each 1% increase of Airbnb listings, hotels see a 0.05% decrease in quarterly profits. And with 800,000 listings on Airbnb today, that’s a decent chunk of missed hotel reservations.

So whether you’re on the “sharing economy” or “hotel industry” side of hospitality, one thing’s clear: You’ve got to build brand loyalty to keep those rooms (or cottages) booked. How do you do that?

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The easiest way is by improving the customer experience by collecting hotel guest feedback. But collecting guest satisfaction feedback doesn’t mean just throwing surveys in the mail and hoping you get them back. Here are 5 ways you can maximize your feedback-collection efforts, so you get answers you can actually use.

1. Reach the right people

Enter Taylor Short, a hotel management researcher at Software Advice—a resource for user reviews and research on hotel management solutions. Short sent a survey to more than 1900 Americans asking them when and how they prefer to fill out hotel guest satisfaction surveys.

So who’s taking your guest satisfaction surveys? Well, it looks like women are more likely to give you feedback than men. In fact, 59% of women say they’re more likely to complete a satisfaction survey within a few days of checking out of a hotel, compared to their male counterparts (41%). But that’s not all:

Likeliness of Highly Satisfied and Unsatisfied Guests to Give Feedback

Chart of likeliness of guests to give feedback

Highly satisfied hotel guests and highly unsatisfied guests say they’re the most likely to take your surveys. That may seem like a no-brainer, as the most impassioned customers are usually the ones to give you their opinion one way or another. But think of all of those opinions you’re not capturing.

For example, what about the moderately satisfied guest who felt lukewarm about their stay? Although they may come back because it’s in a convenient location for them, they’re not going to be bearers of brand loyalty in the way that matters: They’re not as likely to be recommending you to others.

Want to hear from more men? Capture more of that middling feedback to see where you can make the guest experience an excellent one? Or learn if people who travel for business are thinking of your brand when they have to choose a place to stay? Use a brand research tool to send market research surveys to people in your target demographic.

2. Ask the right questions

“How satisfied are you with our hotel?”

Uh, satisfied with what? The décor? Price? Service? If you want to get the most out of your feedback, you’ve got to make sure you’re asking the right questions. Make sure you find a good hotel guest feedback survey example to use survey questions that’ll get you actionable data. Because you’d be devastated if you spend time and money sending out a survey only to realize that the feedback you’ve collected isn’t specific enough to help you make meaningful changes.

3. Increase your chances of collecting feedback

According to Short’s survey results, guests say they’re most likely to complete hotel feedback surveys either within a few days after their stay (35%), or right at check-out (35%). And how do they prefer to complete those surveys? Well, 41% say they’d prefer to take an online survey, with an additional 22% who say they’d like to take the survey on a tablet at checkout—or on the hotel’s mobile app (5%).

That means that more than two-thirds of guests would prefer to take your hotel feedback survey on some sort of online device rather than on paper (32%).

And although there are pros and cons to incentivizing surveys, offering your guests a little something extra could help you capture more than just extreme opinions about your hotel. The most popular incentive for hotel guests, according to Short’s research?

  • Credit in a restaurant or bar (46%)
  • Hotel loyalty program points (22%)
  • Entry into a drawing (17%)

4. Send the right message

Okay—so let’s say you’ve written a brilliant hotel guest satisfaction survey to collect feedback on the New York City hotel you manage.  And you’re happy with the feedback you’re receiving. Then you have to travel to Washington D.C. for a conference, and you stay in their branch of your hotel. The rooms aren’t as nice. The service is slow. And the employees don’t seem to care that you chose them over many other options. (Maybe it’s time to check the hotel staff’s employee engagement score.)

A few days after you stay, you receive a request via email to fill out their feedback survey. The questions are all wrong. They’re too general and are filled with errors. You are even forced into an answer choice that doesn’t apply to you. Your survey is so much better. What happened?!

Lack of collaboration and brand management, that’s what. Sure, the hotel’s under different management. And if they don’t do well, it doesn’t affect you. Or does it? Your brand image matters. If you look incompetent or like you aren’t going to do anything with that hotel guest satisfaction feedback, guests are less likely to recommend you to others.

Make sure you’re collaborating across your company with a centralized survey feedback collector so you not only present a unified front, but also control all of your data and maintain standard metrics that you can use to increase customer loyalty all over the world.

5. Benchmark your progress

Sending a one-off survey, or constantly updating all of your survey questions, will make it tough to measure how much you’re improving and set goals. So make sure that you’ve got a solid survey so you can set a baseline, and send your survey often to perform business benchmarking.

And if you’re conducting brand and market research, send the same survey out at least a few times a year. For example, if you send out a Net Promoter® Score survey template (or use the NPS question in your survey), you can continue to take that standard customer loyalty measurement—and compare your NPS score with others across industries.

Because writing good survey questions and collecting a variety of feedback will help you increase guest satisfaction scores. But knowing where you stand against your biggest competitors will help you develop an excellent brand strategy.

How do you collect guest feedback? Do you have any tips and tricks you’d like to share? Let us know in the Comments below!

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