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Hospes Hotels & Moments Great Guest Program: measuring the “Wow factor”

The Spanish chain cultivates a spirit specific to the brand around the motto “sleep, dream, relax”. To ensure these values are concretely present every day at the properties, it implemented a very meticulous system for monitoring satisfaction.

“Clientele feedback is invaluable. Most of the time it gets lost along the way, or else the procedures required for producing concrete actions do not exist,” estimates a spokesperson of the Spanish brand in explaining its tool. Since January 2005, the Spanish chain has implemented four programs for measuring satisfaction that work together in perfect synergy. They were implemented following the conclusions of different studies carried out previously. It was a matter of studying the chain’s customer profile in terms of lifestyle, as well as the widespread practices for satisfaction monitoring. Whence two major conclusions: in the 21st century, the upper- end clientele who constitute the target market of Hospes have very full schedules and a relatively stressful life. This means they hardly have time to spend filling out questionnaires, especially if they are not sure their comments will find their way to the brand’s real decision makers. The time gained is also what motivated Hospes to use Internet rather than the more traditional paper questionnaires. Secondly, it is not a matter of monitoring just the respect of hotel standards, but also the little “pluses”, the human touch that makes the difference (a look, a smile, a sincere approach).The in-house development of the program kept costs down. “It is in terms of time that the investment was enormous...” But its beneficial effects on the field are very palpable. Positive word of mouth stimulates sales and makes it possible to increase revenues. Better awareness of guests’ expectations and the level of their needs prompts crews to maintain standards as high as possible. This motivation has led to a considerable drop in the number of complaints, the causes of which are rapidly identified and eliminated...In order to guarantee rapid reactivity, the "Great Guest Programme" was developed in-house for a single vector: Internet. A concise and easy to complete online questionnaire, is sent to each client the day after they check out of the hotel. It combines both open and closed questions. The answers are immediately transferred to Hospes’ headquarters. An efficient and original idea for encouraging guests to answer: one night for two (at Hospes Amerigo) is offered to guests who take the time to complete all the fields in the questionnaire.Moreover, each property receives one mystery visit every two months to audit the hotel’s alignment with the brand’s key values. This audit is performed from two different perspectives. A study of the different areas of the property and an evaluation based more on the brand’s values, meaning the staff’s attitude towards guests, its ability to implement the global “revitalization” concept so dear to Hospes. Finally, and perhaps more than anything else, the audit takes into consideration the famous “Wow” factor, which means the guest must be more than satisfied: he must be surprised and impressed by his stay. And of course, no one in the hotel, not even the manager, knows the exact date of the visit...The third tool is the quality department, which receives and centralizes all the emails, letters and calls from guests, be they compliments or complaints. Here again, each message, be it positive or negative, is transferred to the hotel’s manager and the executive committee. Action is taken immediately as necessary. Finally, the key to the program is “Quality Follow-Up”, which was created for cohesiveness. This computerized solution gathers all the results from the previous three tools and each Monday a synthesis of data is presented at a meeting of the executive committee, in the presence of department directors who share their strategies for improving in those areas that are sources of problems. The executive committee attends to individual priority issues. Simultaneously, the quality department ensures that the less urgent matters are not ignored. Not only does Hospes react to guests’ experiences, but it goes further by informing them by email as soon as the problem they addressed is solved by explaining the changes made. “It is incredible how enthusiastically clients react to such measures,” explains the program’s initiator. “When they have proof that their grievances are taken seriously they become extremely loyal. They are all the more pleasantly surprised because many have negative opinions about the overall effectiveness of this type of questionnaire”. Through its program, Hospes realizes that in terms of satisfaction an unhappy guest who makes his displeasure known and receives a satisfying response, can become all the more attached to a brand than a guest who “simply” had a good stay...The in-house development of the program kept costs down. “It is in terms of time that the investment was enormous...” But its beneficial effects on the field are very palpable. Positive word of mouth stimulates sales and makes it possible to increase revenues. Better awareness of guests’ expectations and the level of their needs prompts crews to maintain standards as high as possible. This motivation has led to a considerable drop in the number of complaints, the causes of which are rapidly identified and eliminated...

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