Reading Guest’s Opinion Online? Then it’s Already Too Late

Reading Guest’s Opinion Online? Then it’s Already Too Late
August 16, 2017 Bradley Cox

Today, guests’ opinions and reviews are shared at an unprecedented level. With travel booking sites offering customer reviews and of course the omnipresent Trip Advisor dominating online travel information and opinion, it seems that our Green Globe members have no shortage of feedback.

A key part of sustainable management is continuous improvement and that requires strong input from the guests. However if you are reading about your business performance, both good and bad, in an online forum, then you have really missed a valuable opportunity.

A key criterion in Section A of Green Globe’s Certification Standard is Customer Satisfaction. And it is clearly spelt out that far from being a reactive process, this should be well planned with documentation of comments and the businesses’ responses.

If your hospitality business is simply monitoring Trip Advisor to gauge feedback then the chances of building greater guest satisfaction are greatly diminished. Comments on third party sites should not be substituted for guests’ advice and ideas shared directly with the business.

Of course online reviews need to be monitored and responded to, however, Green Globe’s requirement under the Customer Satisfaction criterion, expects that the feedback loop is direct with the business. The reason for this is simple: given the opportunity to receive guest opinions directly there is more chance the feedback will be truthful and detailed, and actions to rectify or improve will be made sooner by the business.

Many Green Globe members employ a range of tools to gather direct feedback, from sophisticated exit surveys via tablet computers, thru to friendly farewell meetings by management upon departure. Typical questions regarding overall satisfaction with the experience, and whether or not the guest will recommend to friends, can rectify any problems and improve performance to get more business. Broadening the guest survey to ask for comments on a specific initiatives – for example linen and towel reuse or in-room recycling – can lead to new ideas making the business even greener. It needs to be remembered that many guests travel broadly and may have seen many new ideas in different places.

A recent interview with one of our members revealed that they had suffered a bad review on a major travel site with the hotel manager lamenting, “If only the guest had spoken to us when they where here… I don’t know why they waited till they left to make this complaint.” The answer to this problem is clear – that with direct customer feedback before the unsatisfied customer farewells the hotel the problem could have ben solved and valuable lessons learnt, and all before the grievance reached the public domain.