Customer Feedback

E-mail as the primary vehicle for feedback is being rolled out by hotels giants Hilton and Marriott according to a recent report in the Washington Post . Most people outside the industry ought to be forgiven if their reaction to the story was a yawn as customer feedback via electronic mail has become the staple for other service industries such as airlines. The article suggests that both Marriott and Hilton favor electronic means of guaging customer satisfaction over traditional methods. That could be a mistake.

Anyone who has sent in an email complaint or suggestion to an email box of virtually any company in any industry is guaranteed a response – as seems to be the case with the proposed solution by the two hotel companies – but in most cases an automated reply does nothing to resolve issues. Marriott and Hilton are likely to see the level of responses (and complaints) rise significantly. How the two companies develop systems to wade through all that email and identify quality issues will be interesting to watch. A better way for hospitality companies would be to focus on a multi-channel feedback system (web, phone and paper). Our industry can never (and never will be) a virtual industry. An industry that pivots on human contact cannot afford to take the impersonal approach that emails perforce entail.

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

One thought on “Customer Feedback”

  1. Wonderful blog. Thanks for making the leap into the blogging world to help us keep abreast of the industry. I have a number of news type hotel sites in my RSS reader, but this is probably the only one I’ve seen from a hotel operator.
    Regarding your post, I believe their is plenty of room for technology and virtual business in the hotel world. Particularly when the technology is used to enhance or create opportunities for personal interaction. Would you handle your billing and booking in a non-electronic or non-virtual manner? The same goes for customer feedback management.
    Our hotel clients have found that access to a web based collection of survey results , and a reporting tool to slice and dice those surveys, to be essential, invaluable and actionable tools in day-to-day hotel operations.
    Our system emails guests an invitation to take a survey online.. the resulting data is then presented to the hotel operators in a powerful manner that allows them to discover trends, immediate issues to be addressed, facility investment opportunities and loyalty risks. It’s a new memory for the organization that actually enables more personal interaction and satisfied guests.
    We handle multi channel feedback, but email/web is the most cost effective and scalable for the hotel. In the end, the reporting tool is where the value to the operations is realized.
    Response rates rival the old comment card approach, so it seems the guests appreciate being asked in this manner as well.

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