Guest satisfaction levels are not keeping up with the general recovery in trade being seen across the global hotel industry, a new survey claims.
The latest three-month review – covering the third quarter of 2022 – by ReviewPro, which is part of Chinese hospitality technology firm Shiji, shows that while hotel occupancy rates have recovered strongly since the post-Covid global reopening, guest satisfaction rates still lag pre-pandemic levels.
The survey found that guests were most unhappy with value and room quality, with North America a geographical weak point.
Global hotel satisfaction levels fell from 82.3% in 2019 to 81.6% in 2021 to just 80.4% in the year to date this year. Hotels in the Middle East and Africa are the only regions currently exceeding pre-Covid satisfaction ratings.
“Hoteliers have done a remarkable job of upholding guest satisfaction levels in a very difficult 2022, but the guest satisfaction scores contained in this report show there is room for improvement,” said ReviewPro chief executive Michael Kessler.
“We believe that a number of factors like ongoing staffing shortages, higher room rates, and reduced services, coupled with pent up travel demand and high expectations from guests could be having a negative impact on review scores,” he said.
“It’s vital that hoteliers pay close attention to what guests want today, and strive to improve online reputation scores. So, whilst the hospitality industry is clearly in recovery, and many hotels are returning to profitability, when experiences don’t match expectations this is definitely concerning for the longer term outlook.”
Based upon the data in the report, Shiji’s ReviewPro offers hoteliers seven ways to improve guest satisfaction in 2023 using a data-driven approach:
- Anticipate that continued labor shortages may mean that the new, leaner staffing model that came out of the pandemic may become a long-lasting reality.
- Expect to see even more automation and technology in hotels. This will create efficiencies but may also create service challenges if not carefully implemented.
- To keep up with guest expectations, especially in a climate of rising room rates, invest in capital expenditures, maintenance, and staff training programs that were put on hold during the pandemic.
- Monitor guest intelligence data closely and connect data sources to get a holistic view of changing guest sentiment and behavior.
- When setting 2023 review targets, benchmark performance against previous years as well as your competitors, region, and star segment.
- Pay extra attention to reviews on Booking.com, making efforts to improve ratings and pursue a diverse review distribution strategy to build strength on all sources.
- Ensure that both negative and positive reviews receive the prompt action and responses they merit.