How satisfied are your guests and customers - What impact does it create on your company's profits? How do you measure it?

Guesswork and hunches will not help in understanding customer satisfaction levels. You need proof and valid data to consistently and regularly measure and monitor customer satisfaction. You need a customer satisfaction system which helps you study customer satisfaction levels and help plan changes and re-alignments to provide best experience and service in the competitive market.

What's the need for measuring Guest / Customer Satisfaction?

Profitability at hotels is directly tied to customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. The whole concept of customer satisfaction boils down to just one thing - if your customers are happy, they tend to be loyal which helps in retention of customers. And if they're loyal and regular they not only visit the hotel and its other branches more but they refer other customers as well.

Research has proven that hotels lose business opportunities and competitive advantage due to unsatisfied customers. A good Customer/ Guest Feedback system can help continuously measure customer satisfaction and identify deficiencies and areas for improvement.

This need is documented in a well-established research by Bain & Company which is applicable in all customer based organizations and businesses wherein, an increase of 5% in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%. The same study found that it costs six to seven times more to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one (Source: Bain & Company study in Harvard Business Review, 2001).

In the present world it is known that one bad experience of customer/guest can outweigh a whole lot of good experience and excellent service. That bad experience can be easily shared and broadcast to thousands of prospective and existing customers, magnifying its effect leading to a disastrous impact. The availability of online communities and review practices amplifies this effect. So if your hotel is not providing the best of services and experience and is leading to unsatisfied customers, chances are that these will soon become widely known and will influence future bookings.

It is imperative that any such short comings are quickly identified and acted upon. Customer satisfaction and experience at the hotel must be monitored and analyzed regularly to provide the hotel administration with factual data to improvise and provide better and world class service every time.

How can a Guest/Customer satisfaction system add value to your hotel?

A good hotel feedback system can be critical to a hotel being able to use measurement of customer satisfaction and guest satisfaction as a key tool to assess and encourage performance from its operating teams and people. Customer satisfaction reports can also be a good way to promote and publicize a hotel's special care for it guests and customers.

Hotels are getting more receptive to the feelings that their guests and customers convey to them and this sensitivity is being used in a constructive way to foster better performance from the operating divisions and people in the hotel. This is also a means to build better brand loyalties through the publication of customer satisfaction in dices.

How will the Guest/Customer feedback system help distinguish the feedback provided?

A good hotel feedback system should be able to capture the exact feelings that the guest has about the experience that he or she has had with the hotel and ideally this should be just after checkout or use of the facilities. For instance if feedback from the hotel's restaurant is taken just after the meal this is likely to be more accurate than if it is taken a couple of weeks later.

A good hotel feedback system must be able to analyze the feedback that the guest provides and translate these into intelligent and comprehensive reports that give hotel management a summary of the overall guest satisfaction that it commands. The reports must be able to drill down to show individual areas of satisfaction and performance and further display individuals among hotel staff who can be encouraged to give their best for the satisfaction of their guests.

I personally am in favor of using the reports that a good hotel feedback system can generate for the appraisal and reward of employee performance in the hotel. I have seen this work very well in some leading hotels and when applied intensively, it results in an increase in staff morale and showcases higher levels of performance and guest satisfaction.

A good hotel feedback system can therefore be more than just a measure of customer satisfaction. It can be an integral component of the human resources policy and operations of a hotel. It can also be an effective component in the marketing and brand management program of the hotel.