Surveys are useful tools for gauging what guests are feeling. The results can notify hoteliers of new problems as they arise and highlight areas that could use improvements. However, in the age of instant online reviews and constant social media comments, those same results can become an overwhelming deluge of feedback that quickly becomes difficult to manage.
As a regional vice president of operations for The Hotel Group and acting general manager for the Arctic Club Seattle, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Jeff Gouge sees his fair share of survey results for the six properties he oversees in Western Washington and Utah. He recommends that hotels of every size appoint someone to monitor incoming comments from guests. “Having someone or a group who is trained and expected to track feedback helps managers maintain efficiency and prevent distractions,” he says, adding that summarized results can then be shared and discussed during weekly staff meetings or daily huddles.
When hoteliers see routine complaints cropping up, survey results can point to where, when, why, and how problems occur. “If several people mentioned that they didn’t have hot water, you can look at the results to figure out if it’s a certain time of day or a certain day of the week, and understand what’s driving the issue,” Gouge explains.
Gouge says it’s also important to step back and see the big picture. “A bad month doesn’t make a bad year, and a bad week doesn’t make a bad month,” he notes. “You have to be careful not to have a knee-jerk reaction over a small sample. Of course, if a guest reports that their heat is broken, go fix it. But a reoccurring trend over the course of a month may require greater attention.”
Beyond identifying shortfalls, survey results may also provide insight into a department’s strengths. Glowing reviews can be used to recognize and celebrate an employee’s performance. They may also indicate what programs, amenities, and services guests value and appreciate. Recognizing the trends and information embedded in survey results helps hoteliers make smart operational and investment decisions for their property.