First impressions count and for the UK hotel and restaurant industry it is
the details, such as clean cutlery, fresh smelling linen and friendly
staff that win with customers.
This is highlighted by the results of a national survey released today to
coincide with the opening of Hotelympia 2004 (Reference 1), the UK’s
largest trade exhibition dedicated to the hospitality industry. P&G
Professional, the Away From Home business division of Procter & Gamble UK,
commissioned the survey to gauge customer satisfaction with cleaning and
service standards when staying or eating away from home.
Dean Keeling, marketing manager for P&G Professional says: “Most people
are aware of the importance of cleanliness in their homes, and so when
they are paying to eat out or stay in a hotel they naturally expect as
good as or even better attention to these details. The survey results
show, however, the strength these impressions actually mean to the
reputation and even the future success of a restaurant or hotel.
“Nowadays when chefs are celebrities and many restaurant and hotel chains
have strong brands, the customers experience starts with their
expectations and includes the location, the entrance, the ambience and
atmosphere and even the other diners, as well as the menu and the food.
“It takes years of hard work and dedication to build the reputation of a
hotel or restaurant, but a lapse in cleanliness and hygiene can be
catastrophic,” adds Keeling.
The survey asked consumers who had recently stayed in a hotel or visited a
restaurant about their first impressions - and most importantly, what were
the details they noticed that proved to be make or break for their
enjoyment and likelihood to recommend their experience to a friend.
Key findings (2) include:
- The cleanliness of cutlery and crockery (90%) is seen as the most
important factor in building a restaurant’s reputation - even above the
quality of the food! (89%)
- Helpful staff (93%) is rated the top factor affecting the enjoyment of a
restaurant - over twice as important as menu choice (44%)
- 81% of diners will definitely be put off returning to a restaurant if
their glass is dirty, and 87% will complain instantly
- 82% will definitely be put off returning if the restaurant’s toilets are
- The number one thing to put someone off returning to a restaurant is the
glimpse of a dirty kitchen area (91%)
- Upon entering a hotel room for the first time the first thing the
majority of people will do is check the cleanliness of the bathroom (92%)
and the sheets (67%) - then women go on to check the cupboards (56%) while
men relax and make a drink (59%) and turn on the radio or TV (49%)
- 82% of people state that smell is something they would notice
immediately on entering their hotel room - and 79% of women state that a
bad smell will definitely put them off their stay
- Overall, women are much less tolerant of lack of attention to
cleanliness details, apart from in the hotel buffet area where 97% of men
will definitely be put off if it is dirty!
- And when it comes to recommending an experience to a friend, over half
would communicate a bad restaurant experience (66%) and over
three-quarters would talk about a bad hotel stay (76%)