One of the most important things to remember when running a hotel is that customer experience is everything. You want your guests to have an amazing time at your establishment and leave with a positive impression of your business so that they come back and tell their friends. This is why mystery shoppers are so valuable and can help you to improve your business.
WHAT IS A MYSTERY SHOPPER?
A mystery shopper is someone who visits a retail location or uses a service while pretending to be an average paying customer. In reality, they are working for an agency and they are carefully observing the details of their experience and the interaction. Afterward, they will write up a report about the experience and suggest ways that the hotel or other business could have improved their experience there.
When mystery shoppers act as if they are normal customers, they allow experienced managers to get a glimpse of the service from the perspective of the guests – something that is very difficult to do otherwise.
THE ADVANTAGES FOR HOTELS
If you are looking to improve your hotel, hiring a mystery shopping company is one of the most effective things you can do. There are many reasons why a mystery shopper can benefit a hotel.
THE MYSTERY SHOPPER WILL TELL YOU WHAT YOUR GUESTS WON’T
You might think that you know everything about the guest experience at your hotel because you read the reviews previous guests have written about your hotel online. However, you aren’t getting the entire picture. The people who write reviews are usually the ones who have had excellent or terrible service, so you likely won’t hear from those who had a few minor complaints. Also sometimes people do not feel like writing reviews, they don’t have time to or don’t know how to, or perhaps they do it on a website you do not know about.
Another point to think about is that your usual guests are paying to stay here and so will typically be more biased when it comes to their reviews, a mystery shopper does not have this problem. This is why reviews aren’t enough to give you a full and unbiased look at how your hotel is performing. A mystery shopper will let you know exactly what your hotel is doing right and wrong and will give you all the feedback you need to improve upon the weaknesses.
THE MYSTERY SHOPPER CAN CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION
Another advantage is that the mystery shopper can check out your competition and compare what you have to offer with other similarly priced hotels in your area. They can give you the inside scoop on what your competitors are offering and what you can do to gain the competitive edge from them. This can be very advantageous for your hotel, especially if you are in an area with many other similarly priced hotels and you need to find a way to stand out from the rest.
MYSTERY SHOPPERS HAVE A KEEN EYE FOR DETAIL
One of the important skills that mystery shoppers must have is an eye for fine detail, which will really help them to spot areas in which you can improve. They will notice the cleanliness of the room, the quality of the food, the promptness of the service and the way your staff present themselves just to name a few.
They will note all of these details in their report, from the level of mould in the shower (if any) to the way your receptionist answers the phone to the quality and speediness of the breakfast in the morning. If something is wrong you can count on them to notice it and include it in their report.
MYSTERY SHOPPERS CAN TEST ANYTHING YOU LIKE
You will meet with your mystery shopper before they visit your hotel and during this preliminary meeting you can ask them to examine any aspect of your hotel that you wish. For example, you can ask them to make any type of complaint or request in order to see how your staff will react. You can ask them to test your spa, your fitness centre, your bar or your restaurant to give you feedback on those aspects of your hotel too. Sometimes hotel mystery shoppers come in with particular requests, such as food allergies or late check out times – so that you can see how your staff would handle these specific requirements. You can even ask them to check whether or not staff are answering the phone with the correct greeting, wearing the correct uniform and following the established check-in procedure.
These are just a few of the many ways that Mystery Shopping companies such as Tactical Solutions can help out hotels. These anonymous “pretend guests” are one of the best ways to find out detailed and objective information about how your hotel is performing. With this valuable feedback, you will be able to address issues and understand how best to improve your hotel.