Feedback On How Hotels Request Feedback

Filed Under: Hotels

I just received an email from a hotel that I think perfectly sums up just about everything that I perceive hotels to do wrong when it comes to soliciting feedback. My point isn’t to pick on this email specifically (I won’t even mention the name of the hotel), but rather I think this is so reflective of how hotels belonging to the big chains collect feedback.

It’s understandable that hotels want to do everything they can to make sure you had a nice stay. One of the main reasons they care about this is because they don’t want you to leave a bad review on TripAdvisor, and they also want you to fill out the post-stay survey you get in a positive way.

At the moment I’m staying at an average Marriott-family property in the US. It’s a four star property and there’s nothing great or terrible about it, in my opinion.

So last night I received the following email, prior to my check-out this morning:

Thank you for choosing the [hotel name]. We have you departing tomorrow and would the opportunity to know if we have exceeded your expectations throughout your stay.if there is anything we could have done differently to make your stay more enjoyable, please let us know prior to your departure by contacting me directly or by emailing .Our primary goal is for you to able to positively recommended us to your family and friends. Safe travels to your next destination,and i hope to be able to serve you again in the future.

Specific to this email:

  • I imagine this email is being copied and pasted and sent to a lot of people, so could someone not proofread it before sending it?
  • This was sent to me from a Gmail address, rather than a Marriott email address

More big picture:

  • Maybe this is reflective of our culture on the whole, where anything other than a “10” is a failing grade, but why is the standard exceeding expectations? No, my expectations haven’t been exceeded, so does that mean I should be telling them? I don’t have any problems either, though.
  • I’m all for hotels soliciting feedback, but I consistently find that they send this email right before check-out. I’d love to see more hotels send this email to people either right before they check-in, or shortly after they check-in, which seems much more genuine to me. “If there’s anything that doesn’t meet your expectations or that we can do to improve, don’t hesitate to reach out” sounds much better to me.

Bottom line

Hotels being hyper-sensitive to feedback is a blessing and a curse. I appreciate that they’re interested in making things right to keep it off the internet, but I also wish they’d be more realistic about the feedback expectations they have, and would do it in a more genuine way.

Can’t the standard be meeting expectations, rather than exceeding them? Personally I’d also love to see hotels send emails like this at the beginning of a stay rather than at the end. Then it would actually seem like they wanted to ensure a good experience, rather than just ensure good reviews online.

This is all incredibly minor, of course, but here at OMAAT we often talk about the (very little) details of travel, and this is one area where I find hotels to consistently take the wrong approach.

Comments

  1. Can we also get some criticism of the highly annoying email surveys asking for our feedback a day after checkout at every damn hotel these days? I’ve taken to blanket docking every every hotel that does that – most of them – a star on trip advisor for spamming me. I’m supposed to waste 3-5 minutes on an e survey for every hotel I stay at?

  2. It only takes a second to delete these, and yes they’ll probably send another email, and it only takes a second to delete that one too. I do not fill it out unless there is something out of the ordinary – either positive or negative – that I wish to comment on. What bothers me more is when it isn’t possible to complete a survey without individually rating dozens and dozens of fine details. Those get deleted even if I would have something good to say otherwise.

  3. I dunno…I personally think the hotel deserves to be publicly called out for this – especially because some rando now has my email address in their Gmail address book for all eternity and can do who-knows-what with it. That’s not acceptable, and would at minimum lead to a separate email or tweet from me to corporate.

  4. Many hotels bluntly remind you to “give them a ten” every time they see you at the lobby.

  5. Here’s one:

    A few weeks ago, the company I work for had an event, and we put 25 employees for 12 nights in a mid-range business property (think Hyatt Place). No problems.

    Then yesterday we got an email that we still owed $280 for incidentals (it happens), but the property was “willing to work with us.” If we posted 10-12 positive online reviews, each written by a different employee, they’d waive our balance.

    What hot nonsense. We paid the $280.

  6. Ideal survey would be 3 smiley faces indicating pleased, satisfied or dissatisfied. A single question with an option for further depth would be less intrusive and provide a capsule review without intrusion.

    Some surveys start out asking that you answer one question, then it turns into a 5 minute interrogation, those merit an immediate deletion.

  7. On a slightly related note, Marriott is horrible at replying to DM’s on twitter. It can take days for a response. And when they do respond, it’s usually a canned “How can I help?” even though I’ve already asked a question.

    Hyatt, on the other hand, is outstanding with response time on twitter. Ususally no more than 15 minutes. Makes a world of difference to avoid making phone calls whenever possible.

  8. I’ve always assumed that these survey requests are a way to capture angry customers who would otherwise write something nasty on tripadvisor. Capture the virtiol, then send ’em a gift certificate, etc.

  9. You should alert Marriott to their use of Gmail. That is completely unacceptable from a data security perspective.

  10. It seems like the industry as a whole is focused on net promoter score as their sole feedback metric, and Marriott is particularly annoying with how they go about this. It would be great if hotels offered more opportunities for direct and actionable feedback, which then of course would lead to a higher “review” or score upon check out. However, asking for feedback a day or two after someone may have left a hotel is a worthless postmortem.

  11. I could agree with you on this. It is genuine to get emails or text messages to ensure a a safe and enjoyable stay. It really depends on the hotels.

    I usually find Hilton affiliates or IHG affiliated hotels to send emails or text messages prior to the stay, during the stay, and after the stay. It shows that they really do care about your feedback. Hilton is the best in this area as their help desk rectifies the problems as quickly and soon as possible.

    Depending on the time of the communication sent, they fix the problems even during your stay or they make it up to you after your stay. In my regards, Best Western is too phony and not genuine.

  12. Are you sure it’s a legitimate email? Typo-filled and unknown gmail address doesn’t seem quite right from a Marriott.

  13. Totally agree re exceeding expectations. Other thing that hotels should do is if you’re staying multiple days, send or ask you for how it’s going so far. I find I give feedback sometimes just in daily interactions and then nothing changes… and no good forum to escalate

  14. As @Bob Trial says, the push from hotels to provide feedback on TripAdvisor is really over the top. I recently stayed in a high end airport hotel in Europe. Two staff members (servers) provided me with excellent service, but then gave me cards asking me to mention their names in a TripAdvisor review. They carefully spelled out their names on the card. I can only assume there is a financial incentive to them if they are mentioned on TripAdvisor. It was a heavy push.

    I was really disgusted by this because the service they provided was basically quid-pro-quo and not sincere.

    Anyone else experiencing this type of staff push?

  15. I hate these net promoter questions. Firstly, because of the implication that my value as a customer comes down to my likelihood to market the brand to others. But more significantly, it is a signal about what is important to management: boosting a dubious metric to tell investors they are adding “value” in the short term.

  16. I would think that a smart business would figure out that old-school CRM – like you perfectly encapsulate – can be seen through like that film that comes on new electronics items.

    It’s all about metrics and NOT not truly about providing the customer with the best experience possible.

  17. Please don’t encourage hotels to “reach out.” I find the term unctuous and don’t understand what was wrong with saying just saying contact us.

  18. The hotel operation teams at Marriott are graded on an “Intent to Recommend” score, meaning what percent of guests rate you at a 9-10 on 1-10 point scale. An 8 rating is the same as a 1 in thier eyes. It’s literally all they focus on and do anything and everything to get people to give a 9 or 10 on the stupid surveys.

  19. I gave a Marriott I stay at weekly a 7 last week and you would have thought I gave them a 0 with their reply. I let them know that it was neither an extraordinary nor a bad, just an expected, stay. Their reply: “Ok.”

    Point being, I’m with you – 10/10 means they went above and beyond, something that rarely if ever occurs, yet the hotels don’t seem to understand that.

  20. The worst is when you take time from a busy day to fill in a survey, which is then “rejected” because you failed to answer a question and thus left a field open. Be thankful for the time I gave the survey. Do not demand more.

  21. @Nick

    Because you *did* give them a zero. No joke, no snark. With NPS metrics, it’s either 8-10 or bust. The rest don’t matter.

  22. Harold you blew a perfectly golden opportunity to give the hotel a taste of their own medicine. You could have cut and pasted 1 review multiplying it 1-12 x by each employee and saved the company $280. That kind of BS makes me mad as I like to rely on real reviews when thinking about where to stay.

  23. I am tired of these surveys it you knock me off my feet then j will say so. If you suck I will also say do

  24. A few months ago after posting a review of a stay in an Accor hotel I did receive a response that actually addressed the issues I raised rather than some generic response so someone does actually read them!

  25. We all have complaints about those hotel surveys, but sending the request from a gmail account is a new level of unprofessionalism. Who are the hotels hiring?

    I had a similarly unprofessional message from a Hyatt Place (Mesa) last month, where they were changing the mattresses. Instead of a professional letter requesting a time when it would be convenient to access my bed, the hotel announced the mattress maintenance in a juvenile letter that did not even confirm which day, but did include “We have exciting news!” and “This is a great thing!” (including the exclamation point). Who are they hiring?

    I’ll echo what Ryan wrote. I’ve been told by hotels that they view a 9 as an A, and anything less as an F.

    A couple of years ago I stayed at a Hampton Inn (Red Bluff) long enough that I got friendly with the manager. Soliciting a review, she told me the hotel was in a competition, and the winner got a trip to Hawaii, and the hotel was only one tripadvisor review away from taking the lead. Then the hotel double billed me for one night, and after four phone calls and multiple promises to correct it, never did fix my bill. Gee, did they think I’d give the hotel a good tripadvisor review after that?

    Even worse, I once stayed at a Florida Hilton (Melbourne) that slipped a letter under my door on my last night informing me that I would be receiving a survey and instructing me that I was “expected” to give a 10 on every category unless I had previously brought the issue to the attention of management.

    In all 3 cases above, I voted with my dollars and never stayed there again. I would be happy to write constructive reviews, if they were actually used by the hotels, but these surveys are a farce.

  26. @ChrisC

    Me too. I once wrote a review for a Las Vegas Residence Inn where I said i loved the place but complained about the breakfast hours. (The breakfast area was far too small to accommodate all the guests.)

    To my surprise, I received a nice e’mail from the manager informing me that no one on-site had any input into the breakfast hours. I was surprised by the answer, but satisfied.

    However, usually good surveys get a boilerplate “thanks” as a response and constructive criticism gets a “sorry we failed you” as a response. Why ask me to write a review if they are going to look for “10s” and just flush the rest? My time is valuable.

  27. Agreed that timing should have been just after check-in and not to a gmail.

    This version of NPS is troubling because there’s no middle ground and therefore bad equates to “not exceeded expectations” – a 1 is the same as an 8. There used to be a NPS scale that counted the ok zone as 0, but deducted points for ratings below a certain level.

    And yes it’s a nonsense for these kind of hotels to ask if our expectations have been exceeded. Maybe at an Aman!

  28. Anything less than 10 out of 10 is a failing grade. We are all above average, aren’t we.

    These emails are to identify who will give them tens on TripAdvisor or google or Marriott reviews, they don’t want anyone else to write reviews.

    So if it looks like you will give them a ten, you will get a follow up email thanking you and complimenting you and requesting that you write another review, the review that counts.

    If they get a one percent response rate with the perfect review, that might be a couple perfect reviews per night.

    Of course on gmail, this is sly and secret, they don’t want this to be visible to corporate. As for errors in the original email, well not all hotel interns and executives are above average. If I was a great hotel marketer , I wouldn’t be working for Marriott, would I?

  29. Great call outs, especially about exceeding expectations – although as John says, not on the “reaching out.” Ugh.

    That said, they were honest about their motivations, which is also why it’s sent at the end, not at the beginning of your stay. They don’t care about your stay itself, only how you promote to others: “Our primary goal is for you to able to positively recommended us to your family and friends.”

    Personally that’s an odd goal for someone in the hotel business, but there you go…

  30. Just got this today, having checked out of a Hilton property. Same quality. From a gmail account but also copying an @hilton address. My email was on bcc.

    Hilarious copy if you ask me.

    “Dear , [i didn’t redact my name here – it was just a space then a comma]

    I would like to thank you for staying at Hampton Inn by Hilton and using our Hotel for your lodging needs while visiting Ridgefield Park. I hope you would ignore our shortcoming and give us perfect score at least in first 3 categories.”

  31. @Lucky, you hit my biggest pet-peeve. No, the Hilton Garden Inn at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere did not exceed my expectations. And the Ritz Carlton in the big city probably didn’t either. That doesn’t mean the stay wasn’t perfectly fine. And if you all constantly exceeded my expectations… guess what… my expectations would go up. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve given hotels 6-8 for meeting my expectations and you would have thought I had sacrificed the manager’s first born child. When I receive their email asking what was so terribly wrong, I can usually reply that it was absolutely nothing. They met my expectations. Sometimes I can provide some specific opportunities to improve and they seem to cope better with that. This is not Lake Wobegon and your children are not all above average. in fact, sometimes I’m exceedingly generous and they’re still unhappy. I get that it is corporate expectations, but I’m not playing the game.

  32. I especially dislike it when the hotel asks me what they can do to improve. Then I tell them where they fall short and they do nothing about it except say something along the lines of we’ve noted your dissatisfaction and strive to make the necessary improvements to welcome you on your next stay. Uh, why didn’t you empower employees to fix the problem when it occurred and I mentioned it to her? If housekeeping doesn’t happen for multiple rooms over multiple days, you’ve probably got a bigger issue with management and employees that you should already know about… Unless you’re incompetent.

  33. During the last northern summer I spend 3 months in Europe and stayed at about 20 different hotels all booked through hotels.com. While a few of the hotel reminded me about reviewing them the main problem was that after every stay I got an email from hotels.com sometimes more than one asking me to review the hotel I had just stayed and follow up emails saying that if I reviewed them within a certain number of days I would get an extra night credit towards my 10th night free stay.

  34. Hotels need to understand:

    1. Customers can tell if your response to criticism is a cut and paste generic one (“please rest assured that I have notified the relevant teams….”). Stop doing that. You haven’t notified anyone and we know that.
    2. Please don’t respond to criticism with a rebuttal. Work the problem and tell the guest specifically how you could fix it next time.
    3. A happy guest doesn’t need to give you a perfect 10. What happened to “the best surprise is no surprise?” If I get a decent room that’s clean and comfortable with seamless check in/out then you’ve done your job. I don’t need to heap over-the-top praise on your “team members” to express this.
    4. Stop telling us “guest satisfaction is our number 1 priority.” It isn’t. High occupancy and shareholder profit is your number 1 priority, as it should be. Happy guests are just a means to that end.
    5. If you ask for direct feedback by email, an actual response might be nice if the guest takes you up on that. And never use that to ask the guest to take down a negative review.

    Hoteliers, I hope this helps you understand where we’re coming from a bit better!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *