Someone recently told me they have no time to manage so many types of guest feedback: traditional surveys and comment cards, online feedback across dozens of OTAs and review sites, and all the social media mentions. If they could not find a solution to manage everything, they would only focus on one of these feedback channels.
But is it enough to only use one method for collecting guest opinions? What would be the best solution in this scenario?
Some social media advocates will tell you online feedback has replaced surveys. Looking at the strong growth in guest-written reviews published to the web over the past few years, you might get this impression. Online reviews do present us with several compelling advantages:
Guests can respond in a way that is easiest for them
Then can do provide feedback whenever and wherever they want (often via mobile devices)
They can talk about whatever impressed or annoyed them
For hotels that do a good job of providing an excellent guest experience, reviews posted online can act as powerful sales messages
Yet while the volume of of online reviews has increased dramatically over the last few years, advantages to traditional surveys remain.
Some people will only share valuable feedback through a private channel like a survey
Complete anonymity can encourage more honest and open feedback
Surveys can provide you with detailed feedback on specific areas of your operations
Because there are distinct advantages to using both forms of feedback, avoid making it an either/or decision. Best results come from mixing traditional surveys and comment cards, online reviews, and social media mentions as part of a comprehensive Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) system.
"I do believe that companies that strategically combine both [online and offline feedback] will have better data to set goals and make decisions with since they will be able to collect feedback from anonymous and unbiased sources as well as feedback on specific, targeted questions." - Liene Stevens, CEO of Splendid Communications
Case Study: Sidorme Hotels
Sidorme is a chain of 6 hotels in Spain, and they use ReviewPro and a mix of feedback mechanisms to improve their operations. Berta Vilardell, Director of Sales and Marketing, shares her thoughts on the difference between internal customer service questionnaires and online reviews:
"Of course we also conduct internal customer surveys at each hotel directly, but we are aware of the fact that the online reviews that we analyze through ReviewPro are more honest, as they are absolutely anonymous."
Berta values both online and offline reviews, and has integrated both into the chain's analysis.
"When we see something critical or a good opportunity appearing repeatedly in online reviews, we follow this up with internal surveys in our hotels that focus on a concrete topic, for example by asking for suggestions to improve our breakfast or asking what people would like to see in a new Sidorme hotel. This gives us a direct feedback and we can see how we could improve on a specific aspect."