Hotel surveys…. hmm….

I have to give hotels a lot of credit for taking complaints seriously. In my experience if there’s an issue at a hotel, they’ll do a much better job actually addressing the issue than airlines will. While airlines might throw a “gesture of goodwill” your way, hotels actually make listen to customers and make changes (or if it’s an issue that only impacts that guest, maybe offer a refund or future stay).

That being said, I’m not sure what to think about the survey that is on my desk at the rather mediocre Holiday Inn I’m staying at. Don’t get me wrong, it’s decent, the employees are nice, and everything is ok, but the rooms aren’t renovated or “fresh” and there are some minor things that annoy me. Of course I’m not expecting Ritz Carlton treatment for the $80/night rate I’m paying.

But there is a sheet of paper they left on my desk which outlines Priority Club benefits, and at the bottom is a little survey which reads as follows:

Our goal is to make sure you have a very comfortable stay with us. Please fill out this form and leave it at the desk. We highly appreciate your feedback.

1. Are you completely satisfied with your stay?
2. Can you mark “Very satisfied” on the survey you will receive from InterContinental hotels within the next couple of weeks?

If you answered no to either of these questions, how may we contact you to correct the problem?

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate their proactive approach to customer service, but if I’m understanding them correctly they’ll get in touch with me if I felt my stay anything but very satisfying.

I paid $80/night for my stay and am earning lots of Priority Club points. Would I return? Probably, because of their affiliation with Priority Club. Does the hotel itself leave me “completely satisfied?” Probably not. Would I mark “very satisfied” (as opposed to “satisfied”) on the survey I receive? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean my stay was bad. But do we really expect to have a stay that is “very satisfying” at an airport hotel? Besides, doesn’t the second question seem a bit pushy?

I’m tempted to mark “no” to the second one and see if they contact me. Of course my advice would in on way be practically constructive. At the very least I’d suggest they replace the furniture, which is a multi-million dollar investment, of course.

I’ve written in the past about the Holiday Inn Ontario, for example. It’s simply an incredible hotel. It’s cheap, has incredible customer service, fresh rooms, and is all around modern. They recognize my Platinum status every time and give me a nice room upgrade. The hotel simply “gets it.” They have left me completely satisfied with every aspect of every single stay. But I can’t say the same about almost all other hotel stays I’ve made at sub-four star hotels.

Filed Under: Hotels
  1. I’m sure the “very satisfied” goes towards some sort of spiff from HI global, or at the very least, the staff get some reward from the property owner for high marks. However, it sounds like its very simple for you to mark “satisfied” and just copy your last paragraph above into the comment section. Once they reach the level of the HI Ontario, then you can give them a great rating.

  2. I would agree that “satisfied” seems more appropriate. As a hotelier in the IHG system, I can tell you that they equate to scores from which the hotel is graded (by IHG). Very Satisfied = 100, Satisfied = 75, etc. If they don’t meet the brand averages or standards they go into default and will eventually be pushed out of the chain due to failure. Most of this seems to be common sense but those surveys are how word gets out and progress is made. The only thing I would add is be sure to include how good the service was, so that sub-par services isn’t confused with the need to renovate the rooms.

  3. Writing surveys to get valid statistical measurements is a very difficult and costly endeavour. In a two to five question survey it is very difficult to create questions that do not lead or infer anything to the subject.

    That being said, perhaps if enough people responded that it was a pleasant stay, but a refresh of the rooms is in order, if it was something they were already contemplating, your responses just might push trends over the edge! If everyone just says that everything was fine, without specifics, then they might continue with the status quo!

  4. @ Mike — Agreed, obviously trying to meet some corporate “threshold.”

    @ Bret — Thanks for the insight, very interesting!

    @ Oliver — I don’t know, I’d have to review the options more closely. If there weren’t a better alternative I probably would, but at that price I might just have stayed downtown at a nicer hotel. While I totally agree that the money has to come from somewhere (especially in a recession when many hotels don’t have much money sitting around), there are plenty of other hotels that have very reasonable rates yet are renovated. Hell, United’s renovating their cabins and they’re not charging a premium. 😉

    I’m sure that their goal as an airport hotel would actually be to build loyalty and get more customers like me (that pay the published rate) as opposed to those that Priceline hotels, which has to be a good percentage of people nowadays, especially at airport hotels.

    @ Darren Mak — No doubt it’s tough to get anything valuable out of a short survey like that, but it’s the term “very” that I didn’t like. And I totally agree on the second part.

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