Adele Gutman Milne, CHBA, CHDM
Do's and Don'ts of Embracing Feedback to Drive Revenue
Updated: Feb 22, 2022
Josh Liebman’s 16-year background in attractions and venues such as Walt Disney and Universal gave him a rich background in hospitality experiences which lead him to become the Guest Experience Evangelist for the guest experience platform, Roller, and the Host of the Guest Experience Show.
What happens when you put two Guest Experience Evangelists together? A lot of passion, laughter, and some great advice that anyone can put to work to elevate their business guest loyalty and online reputation to attract new customers like a magnet.
Josh calls Guest Experience the ultimate differentiator, and Adele calls Reputation the foundation of all Sales, Marketing, and Revenue success.
They both agree that embracing feedback in earnest and responsible way is mission-critical to long-term financial success, especially in travel and hospitality.
Do's and Don'ts of Embracing Feedback to Drive Revenue.
Do keep the goal in mind: The best review is when someone says, “it was expensive, but it was worth it!” Great reviews elevate the perceived value of your company’s experience.
Do own your responsibility to deliver your brand promises. Although it can be challenging, if you are a leader, you don’t have time not to pay attention to guest feedback on their experience. True leadership means you are not only putting out fires today but learning how to prevent similar fires tomorrow.
Do find a manageable process that keeps you involved. Either delegate less important work, or hire someone to be your right hand as a Guest Experience Director to keep you highly involved in the conversation, but to take over the more time-consuming details of building a great reputation for your brand so you can optimize your revenue.
Don't expect to have zero complaints. You will never have zero complaints, and you don’t want to have zero complaints. Getting a complaint means you are finding opportunities to improve and making changes to get better every day. The goal is to deliver more five-star experiences and get more five-star reviews.
Don't wait for a flurry of complaints to address an issue. You may get a single review, but that review can represent 25 people who experienced something similar but said nothing about it. Josh says, one bad review can drive away business from as many as 30 prospective buyers. Factor in the customer’s full party, the number of days, number of meals, and other upgraded experiences.
Do ensure your teams factor in the lifetime value of a customer. You will quickly realize that not handling the complaint in an earnest and responsible way, can be a highly expensive mistake.
Do imagine how your guest will feel when you share how their comment has actually made an impact and changed the way you do something. They will feel respected, and they will respect your management style. Other people reading this will appreciate the character of your company when they see its values at work and trust your company with their future business.
Don’t: Mistake Reputation as simply Public Relations. It's Leadership.
It's not just about sounding as though you care about the guests. Travelers can easily see past the pretty words and when they see similar comments continue after you responses repeatedly said that you are working on it.
Do: View taking action on guest feedback as responsible management. Reputation is about actually delivering the level of care as stated in your mission statement. Reputation is Marketing. Reputation is Leadership. Great reputations are built on listening to your guests when they let you know exactly what matters to them and what they consider a great or not-so-great experience. It's working with your team to reduce friction and add delight whenever you see an opportunity. You don't have to throw a parade for every guest, but you can get a bit better every day.
Don’t just tell reviewers what you think they want to hear when responding to reviews. That’s not believable. Instead, tell them the truth about what actions you have taken already or the plans you have already made. That makes a strong, positive impression that people will remember and respect.
DON’T: Think that offering a freebie is an adequate response to a complaint.
to a complaint is like treating service recovery like a vending machine. Where’s the hospitality?
If the way you respond to a complaint shows the guest that you are more concerned about the issue than they are, in my experience, they will often be disarmed by your vulnerability and concern. And, of course, you should care more than the guest. After all, you live this brand every day and are responsible for the guest experience. They are only passing through, but this business is a part of your life.
Tip: Some travelers will specifically look to see how negative reviews are responded to.
Do go back through all your responses to negative reviews, and see if you can improve those responses. Share with readers who are your prospective customers what actions and improvements were implemented since that time to ensure that the incidents won’t happen again. If actions have not been taken since the complaint was filed, there’s no time like the present.