Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
Consulting
Training Seminars
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Five Tips to Improving Hotel Customer Service
with User Generated Reviews
 

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October 2007

Providing a consistent level of quality customer service is always a work in process for hotel managers.  Couple that with the fact that the labor pool in many markets is relatively shallow and that turnover remains high as compensation remains low, and it is easy to see why some managers are reverting to the  ‘fog the mirror’ method of hiring!

Understanding the sensibilities of a generation of potential employees raised on teams and that heavily participates in community sites like MySpace and FaceBook makes it easier to hire and motivate a customer service team.

First of all we need to reflect the mirror back on hotels’ traditional methods of training for customer service.   In many hotels, training is focused on process issues; how to check in and check out a guest, how the reservation system works, how the equipment works and as an afterthought, oh yes, be nice to the guest.   We fail to incorporate customer service training into the skill sets upon which the employee will be evaluated.

We neglect to build in evaluations based upon measurable behaviors that impact the quality of the customer’s experience.    We assume that they understand that they need to smile and make eye contact as well as say ‘how can I assist you’ – don’t bet on it!   Many of the individuals that we hire don’t check into hotels and have little experience with being a hotel guest except when they were on vacation with their parents.   They lack empathy for what it feels like to be a hotel guest.

Here’s how user generated review sites can help you improve customer service:

  • Comments in User Generated Reviews create empathy for the guest.    This assumes that the manager exhibits respect for the user generated comments.  Our employees totally get community sites – it is part of their DNA.  When they see the impact that guest service has on the experience of a guest, the guest becomes a person not just a check on a comment card.  it helps them understand how important their role is.
  • Ask the Team how they would respond to a negative comment.    The guest service team in the comment should be asked to participate in the formulation of a balanced conciliatory response.  Our employees want to feel that their input is valuable – that their opinions are considered.  This is a perfect way to get them involved and the more we involve them the more committed they become.
  • Use the guest comments to reinforce positive training behaviors.   Congratulate them when a comment includes remarks on the friendliness of the staff or how a staff member went out of their way for a guest.   Let them read for themselves how a poor guest experience impacts a real human, the guest, in their own words.
  • Empower them with responsibility for monitoring guest reviews online.   Make the guest service team part of the process – assign responsibility to the team for monitoring and printing out reviews from review sites.  Copy and distribute them for the next meeting so that team members can make comments and suggest solutions.
  • Design a card to be given at checkout to every guest with the URL of a review site.   This is a brilliant idea that one hotel thought up and implemented.  Every time a guest responds positively to the question ‘How was your stay?’ hand them a card with the URL of Trip Advisor or another review site and ask them to write a review of their experience.
Every manager and supervisor can create a collaborative community based culture of customer service in their areas.  

Managers and supervisors that express disdain for the reviews on the user generated sites transmit to their employees that they don’t care about the ‘community of guests’ and if the manager and/ or supervisor doesn’t care then why should the guest service associates! 
 



Carol Verret Consulting & Training also offers Creating a Culture of Customer Service training for managers and associates. 

Carol Verret And Associates Consulting and Training offers training services and consulting in the areas of sales, revenue management and customer service primarily but not exclusively to the hospitality industry. To find out more about the company click on www.carolverret.com. To contact Carol send her an email at carol@carolverret.com or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065.  View the Hotel Sales Blog at www.hotelsalesblog.com 

copyright © Carol Verret, 2002-2003 -2004 -2005 - 2006 - 2007


 
Contact:
Carol Verret, Consulting and Training
Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
carol@carolverret.com
Web Site: http://www.carolverret.com/
Email: carol@carolverret.com
.
Also See: Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People – A Seismic Shift in 2008! / Carol Verret / September 2007
GMs – How User Generated Review Sites Can Make you a Better Manager! / Carol Verret / September 2007
Web 2.0 and Hotel Sales Strategies for '08; What Are Your Clients Saying About You? / Carol Verret / August 2007
“It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow” -- Five Revenue Management Tactics for Independent Hotels / Carol Verett / June 2007
Developing New Hotel Business Using Client DNA / Carol Verret / May 2007
The Jigsaw Puzzle – The Fit of the Revenue Management and Internet Group Sales Pieces / Carol Verret / April 2007
Client DNA - The Gold Standard for New Business Development / Carol Verret / March 2007
The 'I Hate Cold Calls' Web Cast - The New Paradigm of Sales! / Carol Verret / February 2007
Hate Cold Calls? - Discover the New Paradigm of Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / January 2007
Issues in Hotel Sales Training - Metics for Success / Carol Verret / December 2006
Is the Party Over?; The Challenge of Decreasing Hotel Room Demand / Carol Verret / October 2006
The Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People Ramp Up for 2006! / Carol Verret / September 2006
Identifying the WIIFM Factor – The Essential of Hotel Sales Success / Carol Verret / August 2006
Revenue Management for Hotel GMs – What You Don’t Know Can Jump Up and Bite You! / Carol Verret / July 2006
Feeding the Revenue Elephant; Hotel Revenue Management / Summer 2006
The "Tipping Point" - Identifying the Touch Points in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / May 2006
The "Tipping Point" - Touch Points Make a Difference in Customer Service Training / Carol Verret / April 2006
Selling Up! Taking Group Room Revenue to a New Level / Carol Verret / February 2006
Revenue Management 2006; The Risks and Rewards / Carol Verret /January 2006 
Revenue Management and Group Sales - The Partnership Not the Disconnect / Carol Verret / November 2005
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People / Carol Verret / September 2005
Triple Witching Hour - The Marketing Plan, Revenue Management Strategy and RFPs for '06 / Carol Verret / August 2005
"Smile" is a Learned Behavior - Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret / July 2005
Revenue Management Systems -- Considerations for Evaluation / Carol Verret / June 2005
Disconnect -- Aligning the Revenue Management and Sales Strategies / Carol Verret / May 2005
Independent Hotels & Resorts; Ride the Wave or Float with the Tide? / Carol Verret / March 2005
Hospitality Sales Training Companies Reach Across the Competitive Playing Field to Combine Live Seminar Expertise with  the Convenience of the Internet / Carol Verret / January 2005
Revenue Management - The Challenge for Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / January 2005
Hotel Sales Departments -- Issues in Processes and Functionality / Carol Verret / November 2004
The GM'S Role in Revenue Management / Carol Verret / October 2004
Transforming the Hotel Sales Organization; Alignment with the New Realities of Sales / Carol Verret / August 2004
The Revenue Management Strategy - The Pre-Plan Marketing Plan / Carol Verret / July 2004
Hotel Revenue Management this Summer - a Game of Skill, Art and Most of All Nerves / Carol Verett / May 2004
What Do Meeting Planners Want? Hotel Sales Managers Want to Know! / Carol Verret / May 2004
Revenue Management -- The Integration of Revenue Drivers / Carol Verret / March 2004
CYBER SALES -- Hotel Sales in an Internet World is the New Reality / Carol Verret / February 2004
The New Realities of Hotel Sales - Focus on Revenue Generation / Carol Verret / January 2004
Hotel Sales -- Innovation in the Face of Limitations / Carol Verret / November 2003
The Good News & the Bad News; Improving Economy = New Hotel Development / Carol Verret / October 2003
Leadership - General Managers Managing the Sales Process / Carol Verret  / October 2003
When the Crystal Ball is Cloudy; Marketing Plans for 2004 / Carol Verret / July 2003
Partnership of Sales and Technology; Using Tech Tools to "Sell" the Hotels / Carol Verret  / July 2003
Back to the Basics? The Basics of Hotel Sales Have Changed! / May 2003
Creating Sales "HUNTERS": The Skill Sets Required in the New Hotel Sales Environment / April 2003
Heightened Security Requires New Strategies in Hotels Sales / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Mar 2003
Revenue Recovery - Building The ‘A’ Team in Sales / Carol Verret / January 2003
Contingency Marketing Plan – War In Iraq! / Carol Verret / November 2002
Playing the Rate Game - Positioning -- Positioning -- Positioning! / Carol Verret / October 2002
The Rate Game - Playing to Win / Carol Verret / October 2002
The Challenge of Marketing Independent Boutique Hotels / Carol Verett / August 2002
Hotel Sales in a Limited Service Environment - The Rules Have Changed / Carol Verett / August 2002
The General Manager’s Role in Sales -Chief Marketing Officer of the Hotel / Carol Verret / April 2002
100% Market Share Penetration is Not Good Enough / Carol Verett / January 2002
The Key to REVPAR Recovery –  New Business Development / Carol Verett / December  2001
Trash the 2002 Marketing Plan - And Just Start Over / Carol Verett / September 2001
How to Use Consultants Effectively –  A View From the Other Side  / Carol Verret / August 2001
How Soft Is Your Hotel's Economic Landing?  / Carol Verret / Aprl 2001
The ‘Value Proposition’: Marketing Yourself to Prospective Employees / Carol Verret / January 2001
Generation Y:  Motivating and Training a New Generation of Employees / Carol Verret / November  2000
Why Customer Service Seminars Don't Work / Carol Verret / October 2000
Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Sept 2000 
FAT, DUMB AND HAPPY – The Seasonal Boom and  Bust Cycle / Carol Verret / August 2000
Surf's Up - Ride the Wave or Miss the Boat -The Effective Use of Technology in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / July 2000 
Measuring Effectiveness of  Hotel Sales Departments / Carol Verret / June 2000
Hotel Sales Training - The Need for Immediate Results / Carol Verret/ May 2000



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