Hoteliers Should Utilize New Tools For Measuring Hospitality and Guest Service Efficiency.
By Doug Kennedy
Wednesday, 1st December 2010
Most hoteliers I meet these days seem to be well-aware of the importance of providing great service to each and every guest. 

Given the proliferation of online guest reviews and social media posting being made – often by guests who are in-house – most managers already know that the level of hospitality and guest service your hotel staff provides is now transparent for all on the outside to see by typing a few words in a browser bar. 

Yet as much as they think having great guest service is important, too many hotel managers are still relying on the traditional means of measuring guest satisfaction, such as by post-departure guest email surveys and even traditional comment cards. 

The good news is that the emerging technology which is continuously being introduced by innovative entrepreneurial companies now provides some effective new ways to measure hospitality, service efficiency, and guest satisfaction. 

One such example is a new system called ExpressWay® from a company called VOC Systems which allows guests to leave their comments and concerns by voicemail.  Guests are notified at check-in and by in-room displays and in-lobby kiosks that they have the option to dial a voicemail extension and simply speak a recorded message conveying their compliment or complaint. 

Their system them immediately forwards their message to a distribution list of manager(s); the message is forwarded both in text form and also as an email attachment, so that the manager can take appropriate action immediately, while the guest is still in-house experiencing the problem.  Interestingly, early results show that over 50% of the messages guests leave are positive in nature, such as complimenting a service provider. www.vocsys.com

Another great new tool for measuring guest satisfaction is offered by a company called Revinate®.  Their system monitors all the major online guests review and social media websites, allowing managers to log-in to see all of the postings, versus having to call the different networks.  More frequent monitoring of these websites sometimes reveals postings that have just recently been made, perhaps by a guest who is still in their room who can be contacted right away for resolution. 

Best of all, it also aggregates the feedback posted online so that managers can easily identify reoccurring problems guests are experiencing.  Managers also can respond to online guest reviews from Revinate, which most electronic marketing consultants highly recommend doing.  www.Revinate.com

Besides tracking guest comments and online feedback, there are other new systems now available at much lower price points than was imaginable just a couple of years back.  For example, the Call IQ system provides hotel managers with a tool for automatically recording all of their inbound 800 calls. 

For a monthly fee that is probably less than most hotels pay for their current inbound 800 service, this system not only records all calls, but also indicates phone numbers and addresses for most of the calls (unless blocked by the caller.)  This allows managers to monitor and assess how their hotel sales department staff, hotel reservations or front desk, and other guest contact personnel interact with real callers daily.  

The service even provides a customizable scoring form that managers can use to assess their team's performance against the standards.   Even without using a scoring form, managers will gain invaluable insight by simply listening to what their agents are saying to real guests.   www.MyCallIQ.com

Beyond these systems there are many other new tools being introduced to the hospitality industry every month that allow managers to measure guest satisfaction and service efficiency (response times, processing times.)  There are even companies providing hidden-video recording technology that allow a mystery shopper to videotape their interaction with the hotel  employees, whether at the front desk, room service, the restaurant, or elsewhere. 

By harnessing the new technology systems now available, hoteliers can better-understand what guests really want and need daily.  They can better identify the root causes of service deficiencies, which are often a result of deficient operational systems and procedures.  

And managers can better identify those hospitality superstars on their team who go above and beyond for guests every shift.  Armed with this information, managers can tie-in real world performance with employee recognition and incentive programs in ways never before possible.

Founded in 2006, Kennedy Training Network (KTN) is the lodging industry's best source for training programs and services in the topic areas of reservations sales, hospitality and guest service, and front desk revenue optimization. Services including customized, on-site training workshops, private, individual hotel team webinars, and reservations/front desk mystery shopping assessment and coaching reports.

Additionally, KTN is also a resource for conference keynote and break-out sessions for management companies, brands, and associations.

For more information, visit www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com for details or e-mail doug@kennedytrainingnetwork.com
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