If you consider the number of problems that can befall hotel customers during a stay, it can be a bit overwhelming.
Broken remote controls. Plumbing problems. Noise from adjoining guestrooms. Incorrect orders from room service. Room key issues. HVAC issues. Kids running in the halls. Not enough chairs at the pool. Slow service in restaurants. Incorrect room type at check-in.
And the list goes on and on.
Studies show that product problems account for nearly sixty percent of all guest complaints.
But there is one problem – over and above all others – that causes not only dissatisfaction, but a complete break in a hotel customer's trust.
What could negatively impact hotel customer loyalty so greatly? According to data-analysis firm Market Metrix, staff-related problems in hotels can lead to a whopping 26.2% drop in guest loyalty .
Service problems, on the other hand, make up a much smaller portion of reported problems, but have a much more dramatic impact on guest loyalty. Just look at staff-related problems in the table below. They are only 4.7% of reported problems. But staff problems punch way above their weight causing loyalty to plummet by over 26 points when they do occur.
On the other hand, the nearly 60% of hotel customer complaints COMBINED only account for a 12% drop in hotel customer loyalty.
This study begs the question: With such a large number of guest product complaints, how much time is your hotel spending to fix staff problems?
Television remotes can be replaced, but a disengaged hotel customer may be lost forever.
Here are three short, compelling reads regarding customer service and sales. I found each of these very poignant for guest service and hotel sales in our industry:
- 3 Keys to Customer Service Training and Retention from Ritz-Carlton VP Diana Oreck
Ms. Oreck expresses Ritz-Carlton's passion for customer service training through empowerment and selection.
- Hey You—Your Elevator Pitch Stinks. Fix It.
Hannah Morgan points out that, while our jobs and roles as salespeople have evolved, our quick sales pitch has not kept up with the times. I found this to be a great wake-up call read for the hotel sales profession, in particular.
- You ALWAYS Need a Business Card
Even in this connected era, that little paper card remains a game changer for sales and service (even if you have the best iPhone/Android app for sales and service!)
For more customer service and hospitality sales insights, please follow me on Twitter: @mrkevindonahue.
Here's a great quote about leadership and managing priorities at work and at home that inspires me from noted author and leadership guru Jon Gordon:
You have all the time in the world to do what matters most.
— Jon Gordon (@JonGordon11) July 29, 2012
You can follow Jon on Twitter here: @JonGordon11
A recent presentation by Peter Yesawich, vice chairman of MMGY Global, highlighted a number of trends and insights for the hospitality market in the near term. While there was definitely a lot of beneficial information presented, one key insight may emerge as the number on trend in hospitality: multigenerational travel.
"Multigenerational travel" or "mutligen travel" most commonly refers to grandparents traveling with grandchildren, but can reflect any number of generations traveling together.
According to MMGY Global, more than 20% of travelers are grandparents. Of those, 40% have taken a trip with a grandchild during the past year. And eight out of 10 times that a grandchild comes along, so does a parent.
As you can see, the market is already well developed. As more affluent baby-boomers retire and begin traveling alongside children and grandchildren, this market will will just continue to mature (pardon the pun!)
Several elements are key to capturing this target market, but most important among them is a well-developed recreation program that meets the needs of these guests collectively. Broadly inclusive cooking classes, walking tours, and lower-impact activities that can be enjoyed by all age groups are key.
For the hospitality market, multigenerational travel represents one of the few demographics that shows extensive growth potential domestically. Beyond just welcoming family guests, multigen represents a new gateway for luxury hoteliers. Traveling alongside affluent parents and grandparents, economically stretched GenX and GenY consumers are discovering brands that can serve them for decades to come as their affluence grows, making this a significant play for the luxury market.
Travelers today are innundated with resources to assist in planning trips. Among the tools are first-hand "unbiased" published on the major booking sites, including TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and others.
But, have you ever wondered, "Who writes these reviews, anyway?"
Olery, a reputation management company, has taken a stab at answering that question and the answers are pretty interesting.
Generally speaking, Olery found that hotels receive about 300+ reviews per year on average and that 46% of travelers post hotel reviews. Reviewer demographics skew slightly towards female guests, with a plurality of reviews being written by 35-49 year-old guests.
Interestingly, guests on vacation and leisure travel – those who are spending their own money – write the majority of hotel reviews.
Question: What's the best iPhone / Android app that you're *NOT* using?
For 95+% of the iOS and Droid users, the answer is BUMP.
This great app allows you to quickly share your contact information or photos with other new contacts by simply bumping your phones together. Seriously, it's that easy. You don't have to call one another and save the number in your phone, download VCards or any other legacy sharing strategy. Just bump and done!
Recently the development team upped the ante a new update that allows you to bump photos from your phone directly to your computer. How cool is that?
Still have questions? Watch this video demo.
You already know how to use Expedia, Travelocity, and TripAdvisor. You're not an online travel novice. Perhaps you're using more advanced tools like Kayak, Hipmunk, and TripIt to plan your vacations. But are you neglecting to use the #1 travel resource in the world? If you're not using a professional travel agent, then you're putting your time, money, and experience at risk. Travel agents are travel EXPERTS. They've been there, done that, and donated the t-shirt.
But don't just take my word for it. Here's a Forbes.com post on why you need a travel agent:
There are many, many good reasons, which I will explain. But the bottom line is that they know more than you do, they are better connected than you, they have access to benefits you can’t get otherwise, they can often beat any other prices available (even online, yes), and after you have planned everything, they provide a safety net during your trip that you simply won’t get by booking yourself or buying insurance. Having a top travel agent can also make you an instant VIP – free room upgrades, hard to get restaurant reservations, cutting lines, access to otherwise closed stores and exhibits, private guides, and cheaper – often much cheaper – premium airfares. Here’s the best part: even though most top agents charge fees, in almost every firsthand experience I or my friends, family, and acquaintances have had, travel agents have saved money, often a lot of money, thousands of dollars, and in every case, more than paid for themselves.