Forget the 25-question survey; you can gather additional information elsewhere. If a guest will refer their friends to you, you know you've succeeded in delivering an excellent experience.
In conversations, try to find out why they stayed at your property. Why did they choose you over your competitors? Identify common elements, and see how you could build future communications around these issues.
Collect public feedback
Gather people's thoughts from review sites, feedback forms, and elsewhere. Multimedia content is best. Then publish the most accurate and compelling feedback everywhere online.
The goal here is to communicate your value and your difference through the words of others. Let them tell your story.
Gather guest-published content
Search photo and video sharing sites like Flickr and Youtube. Try a few blog searches. Look for material people have published without your knowledge.
Then highlight the best pieces of content.
This is Guestsourcing. Promoting the stories that others are telling about you, and connecting your past guests with potential future ones.
Take another look at your website analytics
Compare them over the same period last year. What trends do you notice?
With my hotels, I'm noticing increased mobile and video use. But every situation is different. You need to look at your numbers and see what's changing.
Big, industry-wide changes matter less than how your guests' digital usage changes. You need to watch what they're doing before you can provide new, channel-specific content.
Identify your most profitable customers
This should really be something done on an ongoing basis. But now is a good time to confirm what type of guests and reservations brought you the most profits.
Then, you can work to maximize these types of bookings in the future.
It doesn't have to be expensive, just a gesture of your appreciation.
Some managers send out a letter with a discount. Inns by the Sea sends a monogrammed bathrobe. There's a million possibilities - decide what works best for your situation.
Brainstorm with your concierge
"What were the most common questions you were asked by guests?"
Identify the top 10, 20, or 50...and then create a series of blog posts or articles answering these. (This is the proactive concierge approach to marketing that works so well online.)
Develop a system for staying in touch
Avoid having your guests forget about you by planning a way to provide followup communication.
Maybe this is an email newsletter, maybe it's a Facebook page. The channel isn't as important as the concept. Provide some way to stay in the minds of your core customer base.
Continue to provide interesting, valuable content - and they'll remember you for next time.
About Josiah Mackenzie
Josiah spends pretty much all day, every day looking for ways you can use new media and the social web to improve your business. To bring him on your team, you should look at our Insider's Circle program here.