The Anatomy of Guest Feedback After Crisis – What’s New, What’s Different?
We are currently experiencing ongoing changes in multiple parts of our lives: from how we socialize to how we travel and communicate, everything is different. We’re in the midst of a significant, global transition that will inevitably become a milestone in history, dividing life before and life after the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s only natural that, in this constantly shifting scene, the hospitality industry and specifically guest feedback is bound to go through changes as well. The ways in which we research our trips or book accommodation and more importantly, the ways in which hotels position themselves in regards to the current crisis, are all going to be reflected in how we build our overall impressions and how we ultimately provide feedback.
Although times are challenging, ever-changing, and even confusing at present, hoteliers need to anticipate what’s coming in terms of traveler behavior and feedback. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to acknowledge its impact on a hotel’s overall success since self-advertising can only go so far. Post-COVID travelers require reassurance from fellow travelers in order to feel confident enough to book accommodation.
Here are a few essential ways in which guest feedback is bound to change and what about it will most likely be new and/or different:
It’s safe to assume that, after such an impactful crisis, travelers will come along with a lot more needs, requirements, and concerns than before. While a two-sentence review, stating strictly the overall impressions of the hotel, might have been rather common before, chances are that future guest reviews will be more detailed and consistent. Keep in mind that trivial things like having enough pillows in the room are likely to be overcome by more crucial categories such as cleanliness, hygiene, safety. Prepare for a wave of reviews that look quite deep into those key traits and dissect them thoroughly. Now, every single detail will be more noticeable than ever before and while it’s not to say that more trivial things won’t matter and should be left aside, it’s crucial to invest a great deal of time and focus on cleanliness since that will be travelers’ top priority and concern. Consider that negative reviews in the public health categories will have more far-reaching consequences than negative reviews on any other topic. This is why it’s encouraged to engage in consistent communications with guests in order to pick up on any concerns before the word gets out and negative reviews are published in the online world, for everyone to see. Make sure to check out this recent article to find out the best way of promoting cleanliness online and turning it into a strength.
Until relatively recently, guest feedback was best known in the form of a post-stay review. In the last few years, however, on-site feedback has been gaining more momentum and its benefits are undeniable: it enables more open and honest communication, along with the opportunity to make a positive change on the spot. In the post-COVID hospitality world, on-site feedback and communication are extremely likely to become more popular. Even after check-in, guests can still carry around a multitude of questions and concerns about the hotel premises, the measures taken in terms of cleanliness, or the safety and protection of both themselves and the hotel staff. Letting all these questions accumulate and leaving them unanswered is a clear recipe for stress and dissatisfaction, which will eventually have a negative impact on the hotel’s reputation. This is why it’s vital to enable different means for on-site communication and encourage feedback throughout the entire stay. Remember that guests will have the initiative to provide feedback and it’s only a matter of making the appropriate means available and at their fingertips - literally. And since face-to-face interactions are not ideal during this time, we recommend reading this article to find out more about contactless communication in the post-coronavirus world.
While the word “critical” might not have a positive connotation, don’t let that scare you. Coming face-to-face with critical reviews and feedback is natural in the midst of such difficult and uncertain times and you are not alone in this - every business out there needs to prepare for more thorough feedback and customers who may take matters more seriously than ever before. While it’s highly encouraged to be prepared for some critical reviews, the best thing you can do is to keep the target of those reviews to a minimum. Meaning that you should imagine a vast number of scenarios in which your guests have something to criticize and try to fix those things beforehand. Ensuring that you commit to high cleanliness and hygiene standards will certainly pay off by reducing the number of critical and/or negative reviews, as well as by actually keeping your guests safe and healthy. “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst” is always a smart business strategy but it’s important to do so in a balanced way, without stressing or overreacting. Following stringent cleanliness rules, open-heartedly putting in the extra work, and showing genuine care is enough to diminish critical situations and feedback.
Because we’re all going through the changes together and we want to help hotels succeed, we launched The Recovery Race campaign. Make sure to join for more insightful content, free resources, videos, trainings, and expert advice on how to overcome the COVID-19 crisis in the most beneficial way.