- 21st May 2019
For the hospitality industry, predicting return on investment (ROI) is easier in some cases than in others.
Upgrading the bathrooms means you will be able to charge more per night, changing to energy-efficient lightbulbs means a reduced electricity bill. But what about guest feedback technology, where the cause and effect is not so clear cut?
After all, guests are going to leave feedback online anyway, and you can go and view it for free any time, just like everyone else. So why spend money on software, when your manual efforts feel sufficient?
The answer, as always, will depend on what is right for your guests, staff and property, but here are some of the ways that guest feedback technology has provided exceptional return on investment for many sectors of the hospitality industry.
- Save staff time
Human resources are precious for any business, and especially valuable in hospitality, where skilled staff can be hard to come by, and even harder to keep. When time is one of your scarcest and most valuable resources, the degree and quality of your systems’ automation can make or break your business.
Trawling the internet to read, respond to and analyse reviews from the ever-increasing multitude of online travel agencies and online review sites is a laborious task for your staff, and often not the best way for them to spend those precious hours you pay them for. This is especially true given that you would want your online review responses to come from a manager, or someone with enough influence to ensure that guests feel valued.
If you're not sure about whether online reputation management technology is right for your business, ask yourself what it costs your business to have some of your best people sitting behind a desk reading and responding to online reviews? And don't forget that your human resource cost isn’t limited to staffs’ hourly wages, but will often include uniforms, meals, pensions and additional benefits.
Using a system like GuestRevu to collect online reputation data into one dashboard, from which managers can read, analyse and respond to online feedback, is a great way to save valuable time for key staff members. “Effectively, it’s an efficient way of doing it rather than employing a manual resource at Head Office or tying up someone’s time to administer it,” says Adam Charity, Group Operations Manager for the Coaching Inn Group, which uses GuestRevu in tandem with their Guestline PMS, making use of the integration which sends data automatically from their PMS to the online reputation and guest feedback management system.
- Solve small issues before you need to hand out refunds
How often do you find yourself placating an irate guest with a free dinner, or complimentary night’s stay? Do you ever need to rectify a perceived wrong by upgrading guests to a more expensive room?
Refunds, room upgrades and complimentary services or products are often a good way to stop a guest’s negative perception from escalating to a rant, whether online or in person, but they cost your business money. Providing a direct line to management by asking for feedback is a good way to resolve conflict without guests feeling the need to vent online. Better still, keeping track of trends in feedback can prevent a lot of these situations from happening in the first place, as one person’s small inconvenience could be another’s last straw.
Tarek Aboudib, General Manager of Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort in the UAE, believes that guest feedback technology is key to achieving this: "It has definitely simplified that path for me as a manager, allowing me to act promptly to any unsatisfied customer and any problem that I may have missed out on."
Daniel Thompson, General Manager of Mullion Cove in the UK, which also integrates GuestRevu with Guestline PMS agrees.
“GuestRevu has completely changed the way we manage our business from the way we interact with our guests to how we market, plan for the future and how we develop our business with our guests in mind,” says Daniel. “Our guest feedback is at an all-time high and by getting this honest and clear feedback we have been able to raise our standards and respond quickly to any issues that may arise.”
- Determine which improvements will provide optimum ROI
As a hotelier, the perspective you have of your hotel is often quite different from those of your guests. Asking for feedback from all visitors that pass through your doors, and keeping track of trends, allows you to get a better idea of what matters most to your guests, and can help you to prioritise expenditure that will have the biggest impact on guest experience, and therefore the greatest ROI.
As David Campbell, Operations Director of the Coaching Inn Group, explains:
“Without information, you’re hamstrung in terms of making intelligent decisions around your business. How do you know if investing in a part of your business is the right thing to do? It might just be your opinion rather than listening to your guests. Without that [guest feedback] information, how can you make that decision? I would argue that you just can’t.”
Dina Soliman of the Queensway Group’s Point A Hotels, a group that makes use of two-way integration to pass information seamlessly between Guestline and GuestRevu, agrees. The trends in the groups’ feedback have seen management making operational decisions to cater to their ongoing needs, from embracing their environmentally conscious guests by removing plastic packaging, to maintaining their tea and coffee facilities based on feedback responses. “The answer was clear,” Dina asserts, “there was no debate anymore, because we were able to validate that quantitatively through the voice of the guests, and not through any personal opinion.”
- Measure the ROI of other projects
Measuring ROI is often a tricky task, and is made even more difficult when some of the returns are not immediately visible in financial gains. You may decide your reception staff need a refresher concierge course, for example, and though you may not immediately see financial gain, this doesn't mean that there has been no return on investment from the retraining.
As Jonathan Kaye, Operations Director at Cedar Manor Hotel in the UK says: “We are seeing that [guest] expectations are rising, they have become more demanding but they also appreciate things being done correctly and a lot of this comes back to service. If the team is alert to guests needs and anticipates correctly, their expectations can be met or exceeded”.
As many hoteliers can attest to, happier guests result in better online reviews, and all the perks that go with that. Guest feedback and online reputation management technology can help you to ascertain what guests expectations are, and whether projects that you have implemented are effective in helping you to reach them.
- Improve your online reputation, and potentially occupancy, ADR and RevPar
Among the perks of a better online reputation are definite financial gains, according to research done by Cornell University. The study found that even relatively small improvements in a hotel’s online reputation can have a significant impact on room pricing, hotel occupancy, and RevPAR.
According to the study, a 1% improvement in online review score results in, on average:
- a 0.54% increase in occupancy rate
- a 1.42% increase in RevPAR
- a 0.89% increase in ADR
Additionally, the study notes that if a hotel can increase its price by 11.2 percent and still maintain the same occupancy or market share if it increases its review scores by 1 point on a 5-point scale, such as the one used by TripAdvisor.
Since GuestRevu helped hospitality professionals to increase their TripAdvisor review ratings by 4% on average in 2018, and taking into account the amount of time that our award-winning online reputation management solution saves teams in monitoring and responding to reviews across platforms like TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, Booking.com and more, we’ve been able to work out just how much of a sound investment GuestRevu’s solutions can be for your company, and we have put all of our calculations into a handy online ROI calculator for you to experiment with.
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