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5 Ways to Improve your Hotel’s Guest Satisfaction Survey (GSS) Scores

Zac Francis
Zac Francis

What do you look for when booking a hotel? Has your criteria changed in any way during the last 4 years? Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there’s a good chance that Covid-19 reshaped your expectations and preferences. As travelers emerge from prolonged periods of uncertainty and lockdowns, they bring with them a heightened awareness of health, safety, and comfort. 

In this evolving landscape, hoteliers are required to adapt their strategies to meet these evolving needs and enhance guest satisfaction. Doing so will foster loyalty, increase positive reviews, and word-of-mouth referrals, ultimately driving revenue and improving reputation.

Keep reading to find out what hotels can do to optimize their guest experience and, in the process, improve their Guest Satisfaction Survey scores.

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Guest Satisfaction vs Guest Experience

The terms "guest satisfaction" and "guest experience" may sound similar, but they represent two very distinct concepts. However, they are connected.

Guest satisfaction refers to the overall contentment a guest feels with their stay at a hotel, encompassing factors like room cleanliness, staff friendliness, and service quality. It's a measure of meeting or exceeding expectations.

On the other hand, guest experience is the sum of all interactions a guest has with the hotel, from booking to check-out, including tangible and intangible aspects like ambiance and emotional connection. While guest satisfaction is an outcome, guest experience is the journey leading to that outcome.

And the two are intricately connected: a positive guest experience typically leads to higher satisfaction levels, as guests who enjoy their interactions, environment, and services provided are more likely to leave satisfied.

Hotel bellboy carrying the luggage of  a business couple

What is a Guest Satisfaction Survey (GSS)?

A guest satisfaction survey is a tool used by businesses, particularly in hospitality, to gather feedback from customers about their experiences. It typically includes questions about service quality, amenities, and overall satisfaction. These surveys help businesses understand customer preferences, identify areas for improvement, and enhance guest experiences.

Why are GSS scores important?

GSS scores are crucial for hotels as they provide tangible insights into guest experiences, guiding strategic decisions to enhance service quality and guest satisfaction. These scores directly impact a hotel's reputation and profitability, influencing customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.

By consistently monitoring GSS scores, hotels can identify trends, address issues promptly, and maintain a competitive edge in the industry. Ultimately, high GSS scores signify superior guest experiences, fostering positive brand perception and sustained business growth.

5 ways to improve your GSS scores

With the importance of GSS scores firmly established, let's look at strategies hotels can implement to improve their own.

1. Ensure consistency between in-person and online brands

A great guest experience means consistency across all touchpoints. Both online interactions and providing outstanding service throughout the entire customer journey are paramount for boosting a hotel's GSS scores. Today’s guests expect seamless experiences from booking to check-out, and any discrepancies can lead to dissatisfaction. In fact, 69% of customers prefer brands that offer consistent experiences online and in-person.

Guests form their initial impression of the hotel through online interactions like website navigation, booking processes, and social media engagement. The experience they’re met with online must carry over to the physical environment, where staff interactions and customer service  guarantee guests a consistent experience of excellence throughout their entire stay.

By prioritizing consistency across all touchpoints, hotels can cultivate positive perceptions, increase guest satisfaction, and ultimately improve their GSS scores.

2. Personalize the experience by understanding your guests

Understanding guests is essential for hotels aiming to provide a personalized experience because it fosters a sense of connection and satisfaction.

By comprehending guests' preferences, habits, and needs, hotels can tailor their services to exceed expectations. This understanding enables hotels to anticipate guests' desires, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable stay.

Hotels can gather guest information through booking platforms, loyalty programs, and direct interactions during check-in or concierge services. They also utilize guest surveys, social media insights, and data analytics to understand preferences. Additionally, monitoring guest feedback and reviews aids in refining services to better meet guest expectations.

One example is Marriott International, which leverages its Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program to gather guest data and use it to offer personalized promotions and tailored experiences. This program provides guests with unique stays at Homes & Villas by Marriott International, along with points they can spend on specific brands within the Marriott portfolio.

In today's competitive hospitality industry, where differentiation is crucial, hotels that prioritize understanding their guests gain a significant edge—80% of customers say they are more likely to do business with companies that offer personalized experiences.

3. Be timely in your guest communications

Timely communication is pivotal for enhancing a hotel's (GSS) scores by demonstrating attentiveness and responsiveness to guest needs. Timeliness is a highly valued element of the guest experience, and people are 2.4 times more likely to stick with a brand that solves their problem quickly.

When a guest makes a special request, such as a cot or a twin room, swift acknowledgment and action by the front desk team reassure the guest of the hotel's commitment to meeting their needs. Bonus points for adding accommodation—maybe a guest requests something the hotel doesn’t offer by default, but bending the rules now and then shows a customer-centric philosophy that’s valued by all. This proactive approach not only fulfills the guest's expectations but also leaves a positive impression of the hotel's customer service.

Consequently, guests are more likely to rate their experience favorably, leading to improved GSS scores and enhanced reputation for the hotel.

4. Invest in guest-facing technologies

Guest-facing technologies refer to tools and systems within hotels that directly interact with guests, such as mobile check-in/out, in-room tablets, virtual concierge services, and personalized mobile apps. 

In today's technologically-driven society, hotels must embrace technology as a necessity rather than a luxury. Studies show that 73% of guests are inclined to revisit hotels that cater to their technological requirements.

Guest-facing technologies can enhance GSS scores by streamlining processes, offering personalized experiences, and improving communication. Features like mobile check-in/out, in-room controls, and virtual concierge services cater to guest preferences, leading to increased satisfaction levels and higher ratings on GSS surveys.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas employs guest-facing technologies like mobile check-in, in-room tablets for customizing room settings, and a mobile app for personalized recommendations, enhancing the guest experience and satisfaction.

5. Optimize your frontline workforce training

None of the above strategies are possible without an optimized workforce, who are capable of delivering an exceptional experience across every area. In other words, to foster a culture of excellence, hotels need to invest in the people tasked with translating a hotel’s brand promise to its in-person, lived experiences - its frontline staff.

And by frontline staff we mean every single team member, not just those in customer-facing roles. The BOH staff, kitchen porters and housekeeping, who operate relatively out of sight, all play a vital part in improving GSS scores. 

Consider the areas of the guest experience touched by the BOH staff. The food your guests rave about is perfectly cooked and curated by skilled chefs hidden away in the kitchen. The spotless bedrooms are the result of a skilled housekeeping team committed to pleasing guests they’ll likely never meet. And the custom requests made to your guest-facing staff are passed down the pipeline to the BOH staff who know how to accommodate such requests.In fact, your customer-facing team and your BOH team are a single cohesive unit that rely on eachother. 

 So, how do you go about optimizing your frontline workforce? By optimizing their training of course! Traditional hotel training often lacks flexibility and relevance to the diverse needs of the modern workforce. With technological advancements and evolving guest expectations, training must be dynamic, engaging, adaptable, and promote continuous learning

We therefore recommend engaging, invisibly embedded training that seamlessly integrates learning into daily tasks, making it more accessible and relevant. But this is more than just switching to a digital solution for the sake of checking a box. Make sure you only bring on a solution that works with your current investments and the way your people work. 

Frontline workers have unique needs. They're constantly on their feet, engaged in manual tasks, or serving customers. They can't afford to spend long periods on training or be pulled away from their duties. Therefore, the training provided must be easily accessible to them, integrated seamlessly into their workflow, and not require them to go out of their way to access it.

Equally, from the company's perspective, consider the technology your staff already uses. Do they have handheld devices that allow them to quickly access short lessons on new menu items or cleaning procedures? Or do they already allocate time during their day to clock in through systems like Workday or other HRM platforms?

The future of frontline training is about intelligently embedding training where it's easiest for your frontline to get to it.

For hotels looking to take the next step toward optimizing their training and enhancing guest experience, look no further than eduMe. We’ve worked alongside the likes of the Marriot and the Hilton to transform their approach to training. Let us do the same for you. Get in touch with us now!

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