Five Tips for Creating Guest Surveys That Deliver Results

Surveys can be an invaluable tool to increase guest feedback, and, in the long term, they can serve to improve review ratings. The catch is ensuring they are set up and delivered in just the right way so that guests will respond—and respond favorably. Here are five tips for creating guest surveys that work.

Twenty Questions

Guests should be able to complete a survey in less than 10 minutes. This is why we suggest asking fewer than 20 questions. Statistics show that the longer the survey, the lower the response rate. Prioritize what you need to know and ask in as few questions as possible. This becomes more manageable when surveys are customized to different customer segments, which I’ll address below.

questions and response rate

The Question Funnel

Begin surveys with broad, easy questions like, “How was your overall stay?” These questions make the most sense at the beginning and help guests ease in to the survey. Then, move to more specific questions about the stay/amenities/food/service and so forth, and finish the survey with any demographic or personal questions that are necessary for your analysis of the results.


Ensure the survey is branded and that the identity and tone of voice are compatible with other hotel marketing materials. Having a seamless experience with the brand increases conversion rates.

The 48-hour Rule

Deliver surveys to guest within 48 hours of their stay, when the experience is fresh and meaningful. Avoid sending the survey to the same traveler more than once every 30 days or so, as this can prove irksome to loyal guests.

Customer Segments: The Ultimate Personalization

Creating customer segments not only allows your hotel to personalize and shorten surveys for improved response rates, but it ultimately provides an opportunity for better service, brand positioning and marketing strategies. Some data may be taken from the PMS, and when combined with responses from surveys, there are countless ways to segment your customer base, including:

From PMS

  • Demographics: gender, age
  • Geographic: city, country, zip code, language
  • Behavioral: loyalty program member, brand, etc.
  • Other: Room number, booking source, etc.

From Survey

  • Type of travel: Business vs. leisure, couple vs. family, etc.
  • Purpose of stay: event, accommodation, restaurant, etc.
  • Behavioral: device used, etc.
  • Psychographics: income, lifestyle, personality characteristics, hobbies, other favorite brands, etc.

For the ideal response rate, focus first on data already available from within the PMS. Then add type of travel, purpose of stay and possibly behavioral/psychographic questions (although ask these only if necessary for your segmentation!).

After you’ve determined the segments, consider whether each requires different surveys. A business traveler or conference attendee may have different priorities than a leisure traveler, for instance. Ensure PMS data is integrated with the survey technology to avoid asking guests unnecessary questions (geography, etc.) and reducing response rates.

Once you receive survey results, the magic really happens. Data from surveys can be pushed back into your CRM and PMS to create detailed guest profiles and VIP reports. This means that upon check-in, you have a full report about what a repeat guest has said about you in the past and can customize the guest’s stay accordingly (read more about that here).

Ultimately, the key to creating winning guest surveys is to ask a few key questions to the right guest at the right time.