Shaping Guest Opinions


Shaping Guest Opinions - before they voice them

A savvy hotel manager views a guest mishap as a pinpoint for service excellence. A few years back, I was on a little weekend excursion and booked a fairly nice hotel for one night. The check-in process was neutral, nothing was wrong, but nothing stood out. When my fellow traveler and I arrived at our room, however, we found we had been given a key to a room already occupied.

We left quickly and shut the door, feeling lucky that the other guests seemed to be absent and did not know about our intrusion. We headed back to the front desk and they apologized profusely while arranging for a different room. We laughed it off. It was the other guests, after all, who would have been upset at this mistake. For us, it was a minor inconvenience.

Upon entering our new room (free of strangers), we found a tray of cheesecake and champagne, along with a handwritten note of apology from a manager. Not only did it more than cover the mistake they had made, but it brought attention to the outstanding service we would otherwise never have noticed.

Before this incident, taking the time to comment on or review this hotel wouldn’t have crossed my mind. As it turned out, I was eager to share the story because their recovery was what brought their service to light.

Most hotels would probably do better offering this type of outstanding service from the first interaction with each guest. Hotel guests have more channels than ever before to make their opinion known. People are sharing minute-to-minute updates on their travels with their friends and family through social media sites, and coming home with numerous sites on which to rate and review their destinations.

What drives guests to voice their opinions on these sites? Many times, it’s because they are angry. Travelers who have had a bad experience are more likely to want to speak out. This is why handling every guest concern in a friendly and efficient manner is so important. However, travelers who have had an outstanding experience will also speak out, and most mistakes with guests are an occasion to provide that experience. What does your hotel do to shape guest opinions, from their first experience through the end of their stay?