“It’s interesting to note that the Which? ranking of the UK’s best and worst hotel chains is based entirely on customer feedback, as this model really highlights the power of the customer’s voice within the hospitality industry.
Customer behaviour is changing; customers no longer take the time to offer detailed feedback, but instead take to the web and social media to vent their frustration, which is why sites like TripAdvisor have become a thorn in the side for so many hotel marketing teams. This hazardous environment, where a single negative comment from a customer can ‘go viral’ in seconds, may be the impetus that the hotel industry needs to assess how it is collecting and using the feedback provided by customers.
In this social media age, hotels are seeing a rise in the ‘complaint broadcaster’, a term used to describe individuals who complain both on site and then again on social media. There needs to be a process in place whereby detailed logging of the initial complaint and how it was dealt with on site is recorded, so that this information can be included as part of any on-going social media interaction with the customer further down the line.
Hotels are actually in a unique position to gather feedback, as the majority of guests will happily give their feedback upon departure when prompted. This needs to be done proactively, however, in order for hotels to identify satisfied as well as dissatisfied customers. Management can then use this information to nurture these relationships and create customer advocates who will not only spread the word, but also help hotel marketing teams to control their presence on social media channels much more effectively.
If there are problems, hotels clearly need to be aware of them but, conversely, if there is praise for the business, then this also needs to be extracted and shared via both marketing teams and the customer advocates themselves. Businesses that take a proactive approach to this process – by capturing, managing and controlling customer feedback effectively – will begin to reap the benefits very quickly.”