Guest Experience Critiques are detailed, anonymous, unsolicited critiques of guest experience in hotels outside Australia which can provide ideas and examples of how to improve guest experience in your hotel. These brutally honest critiques are written for hotel owners and managers with one sole purpose - To illuminate what modern 'guest experience' really means in 2016, and how even the slightest element of your product, communications and branding affects guest experience.
It is not about naming or shaming the hotel. In fact, the name or identity of the hotel will not be revealed in order to protect their reputation. In fact - the brand is totally irrelevant.
Guest Experience Transactions
You can think of guest experience as a bank where you make transactions such as deposits or withdrawals. Every positive experience generates a deposit. Any negative experience then results in a withdrawal.
Let me give you an example. An unfriendly maid is encountered in the hallway by a guest. Instantly an amount of 'guest experience' currency is deducted in the minds of the guest.
Later that day the waiter at the restaurant offers professional, prompt and fastidious service. A 'guest experience' deposit is made that actually cancels out that negative experience. Or in other words, all is forgiven!
These two experiences happend to me and are outlined in the Guest Experience Critique 'Love is Blind' which you can read here in entirety here.
This constant ebb and flow of positive and negative experiences are exactly what constitutes the 'net guest experience' total in the minds of the guest. The total 'goodwill' left in the bank then gets converted to a rating given by guests online on TripAdvisor, Booking.com etc.
It is really that simple. And yet we still see hotels putting much of their marketing budgets into either outbound digital marketing or advertising instead of just getting their guest experience, online presence and branding right in the first place.
People want to enjoy their stay because they thought they were making a good decision to stay with you. They want to write raving reviews on social media about your hotel and the experience it provides.
They actually want to post a selfie on Facebook by the pool as they drink cocktails as they enjoy themselves along with those cliche subject lines 'It's a hard life'...
Give them plenty of reasons to do this! Do this by concentrating on the small things that make up the total guest experience.
And that's the reason the critiques are often so detailed. It is only by understanding that the 'devil is in the detail' that hotel owners can achieve consistently good reviews online on social media sites like TripAdvisor.
Where we publish photos we disguise the hotel name and brand. We will not mention the names of individual staff members, because frankly - if service is poor it is really a reflection of management and the culture of the hotel rather than individuals.
This is because we want to protect the reputation of the hotel in question, and it also allows us to be brutally honest about the experience without any actual negative consequences for the hotel or staff.
Praise in Public - Criticise in Private
Chris Jack is the editor of Locus Focus and a professional hotel photographer based in Brisbane with over 20 years experience in digital marketing. He also hosts the weekly "Sharper Hotel Marketing" podcast.