Hospitality Surveys: Why Feedback Is Essential To Ongoing Success

Philip Cleave
July 6, 2023
Beach scene showing that the Summer hospitality season is here

From hotels, guest houses, restaurants and cafes to leisure facilities, tourist destinations and more. While there’s always stiff competition in the hospitality industry, it's no more fierce than during the peak school summer holiday season.

Yet, it’s during this busy period that a large number of hospitality businesses need to make a sizeable amount of their income for the year. So, if they’re to achieve this they need to have a high ongoing footfall of customers coming through their doors including new and returning ones.

But how do you keep guests returning again and again?

Well, that relies on feedback, because without that you can’t identify what you’re doing well or need to improve, which you will want if you’re to consistently improve your standards and keep customers coming back for more.

This is where the value of using hospitality surveys comes to the fore, which we will go on to look at next.

The importance of customer feedback for hospitality businesses

There are lots of benefits to be gained from collecting regular feedback from your customers with your own surveys, but some of the most crucial include:

Gain greater control

When you’re issuing regular surveys to your customers it gives you a greater insight into what your customers are thinking and the ability to put things right. This contrasts with businesses that don’t survey their own customers and risks those same customers leaving comments about them on external review sites instead.

In fact, in some areas of hospitality, most notably hotels and guest houses, review sites have become one of the key influencers of customer decision making, with 76% of travellers willing to pay more for a hotel if it has better online reviews.

This is fine when the comments are good, but much less helpful when they’re not, which strengthens the argument for bringing the customer feedback process in-house.

Doing this allows you to become much more proactive in managing your brand reputation, as asking for guest feedback directly helps you to keep any complaints that they may have in-house. With internal feedback, you can initiate a private two-way dialogue about how you plan to resolve the issue and even follow up later on. In addition, if you have the right APIs and integrations in place to gather in the moment feedback, it makes complaints resolution even more effective and speedier, and encourages better reviews further down the line.

Improve your employee performance

Service quality is critical for any business operating in the hospitality industry and your employees are the key to delivering that. However, if you’re regularly gathering customer feedback, it enables you to know exactly which teams and employees are performing well and which ones needs to be monitored more closely and improved.

For example, in a hotel setting, whether the issue is long wait times for dinner or uncleanliness in rooms, encouraging guest feedback will enable you to know exactly which teams or individuals are underperforming.

Again, this is an opportunity to be proactive at improving your operations and subsequent revenue. While you could wait until a customer feels the need to tell you, which will be harder to resolve, asking for feedback through a survey can give you faster, more actionable insight. And if you’re consistently capturing this data, you can use it to back up your dialogue with underperforming teams during company meetings, so you can encourage the necessary improvements moving forward.

Tailor your services to better meet customer needs

From valet parking and room services to spa services, private work lounges and health and fitness studios. While the benefits of feedback can be applied to the wider customer experience, it can also be used to improve the types of services you offer to your guests.

While your customers are always going to be top of mind when you initially devise what range of services you will provide, over the years some of these preferences are likely to change.

For example, while your range of spa services may have been your top seller for the last few years, there may be an emerging trend to have access to personal fitness trainer services that guests would be willing to spend more on. Yet, you’ll only be able to tailor your services accordingly if you’re made aware of this through the guest feedback that you’re collecting.

Ultimately, the better you’re able to meet your customer preferences, the more service bookings and upsell opportunities you’ll get, and the better your overall revenue.

Better understand your competition and differentiate yourself

The past few years post Covid, have been even more competitive than normal, as those in the hotel and guest house industry in particular have been vying to get back to business.

In such an atmosphere, trying to uncover ways of differentiating yourself in order to become more competitive can be a real challenge and a drain on your resources.

Getting feedback from your guests, can help you to get the upper hand on your competition, as you can get a direct insight into how you’re performing in relation to others in your industry and benchmark your objectives accordingly.

When you issue a survey and ask respondents outright how you compare to other accommodation providers or ask them about any suggestions you have in mind, it’s a great opportunity to learn from the market and improve.

Boost pre, in situ and post-stay satisfaction

The best way to make any guest happy is to give them an experience that meets and exceeds their expectations.

This should include everything not just delivering a great service. We’re talking about things like the check-in experience, your channels of communication, cleanliness, room upgrade options, and more, as all these elements contribute to overall levels of satisfaction.

Gathering their ongoing feedback is the most effective way to deliver everything your guests want, as that way you’ll find out what they most like, dislike or feel indifferent about. And as well as current guests, it will help you to enhance the satisfaction of future guests. In addition, with greater satisfaction comes more repeat guests, referrals and increased revenue.

How best to measure your customers’ experiences

From hotel, guest house and restaurant to leisure, travel and community event customers and more. While we offer a wide range of hospitality survey templates, with customised questions that will allow you to assess the experiences of customers across a wide range of hospitality applications, you may want to focus in on their experiences with some specific measurements. That’s where the use of CSAT, NPS and CES metrics can be hugely valuable.

So, to help you with that, here’s an explanation of these metrics and details about how to calculate and interpret them with your own customers.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

The CSAT survey metric is a popular way of measuring a customer's experience with your business. This can be used to measure their overall satisfaction with you or targeted at specific interaction they’ve had with your business.

The CSAT metric question is typically executed with a customer survey and will ask your customer to rank their satisfaction on a scale of 1 – 5 (where one represents highly unsatisfied and five highly satisfied).

So, if you were running a hotel or guest house and wanted to ask your guests the CSAT metric question following their stay, you might word that question as follows:

“How satisfied were you with your most recent stay with us?"

Again, having asked them to rate you on a 1-5 satisfaction scale, you would calculate your CSAT score by adding up all the responses where you were rated a 4 or 5, before dividing these by your total number of responses to get your overall score. Your score should lie somewhere between zero and 100, with those closest to 100 displaying the highest levels of satisfaction.

For a quicker and more convenient way of measuring your customer satisfaction levels, you might like to try our CSAT calculator.

Net Promoter Score® (NPS)

Next, is the NPS survey metric, which is one of the most popular and commonly used methods for measuring customer experience.

It offers a sense of how happy customers are with the experiences you’ve been delivering for them, by measuring how loyal and likely they would be to recommend you to others.

So, again using the example of the hotel or guest house. If you wanted to find out how satisfied your guests were with the service and experiences, you delivered for them when using the NPS question, you might like to word it as follows.

“On a scale of 0 – 10, how likely would you be to recommend our accommodation to a friend or a colleague? (based on a scale where 0 represents not likely and 10 very likely)

Each score is then grouped into the following classifications:

  • 9-10 – Promoters (for guests who love your hotel/or guest house and actively promote it)
  • 7-8 – Passives (for guests who liked the service and experiences you delivered for them but don’t love them yet)
  • 0-6 – Detractors (for guests who are unhappy with the service and experiences you delivered for them, and are unlikely to return and may say bad comments about you to others they know)

You can then calculate your NPS score by simply subtracting your number of detractors from your number of promoters. This should leave you with a positive or negative number, which you will then need to divide by your total number of survey responses and then multiply by 100. This will leave you with a number between 100 and –100, where the higher your score the more desirable it will be.

For a quick and simple way of calculating your score, you might like to try our NPS calculator.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

The final metric, to give you an insight into the customer experience you’re delivering for guests is the CES metric.

Compared to the other two metrics, CES measures customer experience from the point of view of how easily customers were able to interact with you. So, in the setting of a hotel or guest house, this could involve anything from how simple it was for a guest to book a room, to how easy it was for them to check in. The intention of this metric is to pinpoint where your customer experience is smooth and any areas where there may be friction points that you need to improve.

CES is measured using the following question:

"How easy was it to do X, Y, or Z?"

...where respondents are asked to rate the effort involved in each interaction using a 5-point scale, from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

The CES score is then calculated by finding the average of all responses. This involves taking the total sum of all the responses and dividing them by the total number of survey respondents, to get an overall CES score, which should lie somewhere between 1 and 5.

A fast, alternative way to generate your score can be achieved by using our CES calculator.

Building the right environment to measure and improve

While the right survey templates and questions, plus the right supporting metrics can help you to get the customer insight you need, you’ll only experience the very best results if you’re able to build the right supporting environment with the right survey tools.

From APIs and integrations that allow you to collect in the moment feedback, to white-label and collaboration tools that help your surveys to stand out and quickly get your insight to the teams and individuals that need to take decisions. When you’ve got the right tools and everything is working in unison, you’re more able to identify and resolve your most pressing issues.

Fortunately, access to these types of tools and more is available to customers that are on our Enterprise plan.

While there may seem quite a lot to set up, building an ongoing feedback programme to resolve your most pressing issues and deliver a better customer experience can be hugely rewarding. Not only does it help you to keep current customers happy, it also helps to nurture the best possible environment for attracting new ones, which both helps to benefit your bottom line. So, if you’re not already regularly collecting feedback from your customers now is the time to do so.

Get your survey started quicker with the right templates

With many types of business in the hospitality industry, it can be difficult to know what sorts of questions will resonate most with your audience and deliver the most valuable insight, particularly if you’re new to surveys. Fortunately, by drawing on our many years of experience in the survey industry, we’ve been able to develop a wide range of hospitality survey templates to help you with this.

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Get started and create your first survey

If you would like more information then please get in touch.