• Gabe Huntting

Guest Engagement works--when you have time for it.

Updated: Feb 23

We've known for a long time that emerging forms of customer social engagement and feedback can positively impact service, but when hospitality operators are spread thin, how can we prioritize a vital element of guest service?


In recent panel hosted by the renown Cornell Center for Hospitality research, faculty and industry experts from Best Western Hotels and Medallia spoke towards the importance of research-backed survey strategies within customer social engagement initiatives.


For smaller businesses, one of the important takeaways from the webinar is how proper facilitation of guest satisfaction surveys (GSS) is key to gaining valuable insight and more representative reviews of your business. The utilization of social media to engage with guests and disseminate GSS, for example, promotes a more "holistic approach' to customer response and encourages more accurate-- and valuable-- feedback.


Another bonus of effective GSS initiatives: service recovery. Research and data has shown that guests have a higher propensity to share feedback when managers respond personally, as one-on-one interaction facilitates "a greater degree of customer loyalty and return," which correlates inherently to positive financial growth.


While concrete data and and affirmation from researchers and industry leaders should hopefully swing any negligent operators towards better practices and proven methods of improvement, rarely will you find an owner or manager that intentionally ignores guest satisfaction surveys or customer engagement.


At Jetson, in speaking with hundreds of businesses and their leadership teams, we've found that the primary obstacle in any initiative has been a simple yet fleeting commodity--time.


Especially in this current COVID-era, bars, restaurants, and hotels have been forced, more-so than ever, to do more with less, requiring many managers and owners to step up and take on front-line operational roles just to stay open and barely turn a profit. Time previously spent in private customer response and engagement has been reallocated elsewhere out of absolute necessity and survival.


This is where hospitality-tech and automation come in. While many large hospitality groups and organizations will again have the luxury to wisely hire and dedicate specialists to drive guest engagement services and campaigns, smaller businesses will still find themselves at a deficit in finances and staffing, knocking loyalty and retention down a few spots on their list of priorities.


Therefore the real question is not necessarily "will," but "how?" Affordable, automated engagement and GSS campaigns will one day be an assumed component of customer service systems in all tiers of hospitality, but for now, only the technology companies that empathize with the shift-by-shift plight of front-line hospitality workers, or the hospitality organizations that understand operations and invest in their own tailored technology-- bearing the weight of an , will ever devise a practical solution for for increasingly diminished work force and an exhaustingly complex issue. - GKH

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