Analyzing the Guest Service and Hotel Revenue Connection

By Marco Albarran Managing Director, Remarkable Hospitality, Inc. | February 23, 2014

In this article we will discuss some simple ways that you can enhance your already established training, to increase the opportunity of making more revenue by engaging the guest in a different way that the competition does, by using a great tool that many of us perhaps do not use as a way to analyze the bottom line in our establishments. Below you will find some great ideas that have been implemented with actual clients, having already proven to be positive and with increased revenue.

By now we can reasonably argue that all lodging operators understand that guest satisfaction is a very important factor in ensuring that they meet their NOI (net operating income) as it has been demonstrated in any feasibility study performed for their specific market, brand and operation. Naturally, rooms revenue, as well as any additional revenue that comes from a registered guest (or non- registered guest that usually patrons your spa/recreational facilities, F&B facilities, uses your hotel for meeting, or conference space) is beneficial to meeting our budgeted projections. This is very important to keep in mind if we accept the fact that once we invest in attracting the guest, that we retain the guest, convince them to value us fully, and have them feel confident enough in returning, as well as relating to others about their experience, and what can other experience if they patron the establishment.

Sure enough, how would we want to do this continuously? Database information provides some great information about the guest. Simple things can certainly make the difference, such as their name, where they are from, special dates, specific likes, as well as dislikes can be used as information to engage better the guest in a way that you can impress them. Likewise, you can use this tool to document any issues (I would actually convert these into case studies later on for training future team members of your staff), that repeat guests have had, in order to prevent and enhance the next experience. What is truly nice about this is that when you train your staff member on this, they can know exactly right away how to be proactive on this, whether it is to develop a way to increase the guest experience, or ensure that they do not repeat the same issue. All of these small things that your staff does, creates the opportunity to increase the chances of truly getting a satisfied customer into your establishment. As the guest or patron sees value in your brand, they are motivated to invest more of their travel budget in your establishment.

Now, how do we gather all of the measurement and feedback that will help us analyze how much more revenue we can potentially make? All of this information is more than likely to be demonstrated in a guest satisfaction survey. The initial objective is to try to gather as much intel as you can not just from a moment of truth (which should be documented in our database as we mentioned above) by your staff member, but also via the guest service satisfaction survey. There must be a way to promote the guest satisfaction survey to your end user, as this will be the main key to truly gathering a better sense of how each of the measurable which your brand standards for, is being judged by your guests. I would recommend for the establishment to try achieving a goal of certain percentage of guests per month to try turning their guest satisfaction answers back in order to get the best results possible. I have seen approximately 70-80% return as a viable percentage range. Once it is reached, the program that your establishment will work on maintaining a realistic percentage that should be reached by each department on a monthly/annual basis.

Once these are in, an analysis of all of the categories asked in your guest service survey should be looked upon to see which of the categories are doing well and which need attention. Normally, the categories should be arranged in a way in which they reflect each department that relating to the guest service experience. This is a good way to report to each department head which categories are doing well, so they can continue and use this information as a way to motivate and communicate to their staff to continue forth as they have (while implementing any initiatives for continuous improvement, of course). Those categories which are not doing well and relate to a specific manager should be addressed immediately to the rightful department head, in which they can reach out to the guest personally, if there is a contact information (there should be in the PMS database), and try to apply service recovery.

If you would like, offer after information is given, a small token of appreciate to the guest for having taken the time to offer this information. For example, a few guests scored low on F&B categories. Reach out to the F&B Director and also to the Executive Chef, if applicable to take some time to analyze the concern and try to reach out to the guest (preferably by phone), in order to see what occurred, and learn from that issue to train or remedy the issue. As a matter of fact, each of the guest service surveys should be answered, even the great ones, and thank the individual guest for having taken the time to give this information to the establishment.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.