Who should carry the most weight in rating a hotel stay? Why, the guest of course…and that belief is at the core of a new quality assessment program recently introduced in the Americas by the world`s most global hotel company, InterContinental Hotels Group [LON: IHG, NYSE: IHG (ADRs)].
Rather than dictating that a hotel company’s inspectors should be the initial primary arbiters of a hotel’s performance, the new Guest Endorsement System (GUEST) incorporates each individual guest’s feedback as a reality-based mini-inspection.
The assessment component of the program focuses on results of guest surveys. Three criteria comprise each hotel’s quality score: performance on physical product-related questions (such as room cleanliness), performance on service-related questions (such as professional attitude and appearance of staff) and the average of responses on key questions designed to determine the guest’s intent to return to that hotel. These include queries about value for the price paid, overall satisfaction and whether the guest would recommend the hotel to others.
“The heart of this program is acknowledgement that guests don’t lie about their experiences at hotels,” said John Merkin, vice president, Franchise Operations. “Our guests are true judges of a hotel’s performance, and allowing them to have a loud voice in rating a hotel is the best way to get a quality measurement.”
Among the leading-edge features of the GUEST program is an interactive Web site through which hotels gauge and self-report their progress on a monthly basis. Based on this input, InterContinental Hotels Group provides each property with suggestions for best practices and better alignment with brand standards, training and other education opportunities.
Additionally, InterContinental Hotels Group quality consultants will work specifically with those hotels that fail to achieve acceptable overall guest satisfaction scores and maintain quality standards to help them improve their operations or commence the process of removing them from the system should it become necessary. The net effect is a significantly shortened feedback and correction process that allows the hotels to identify and respond much more quickly to customer needs.
“With GUEST we are able to work together to help hotels take care of customer issues as they arise, and before they become major problems,” Merkin said. “It’s allowing our general managers and hotel staffs, as well as those of us at the corporate level, to see each hotel through the eyes of the guests—a crucial perspective on quality.”
Guests’ responses also will be evaluated to help make decisions such as what services and amenities to offer or discontinue, what processes might smooth and “humanize” the check-in/check-out process and what investments should be made in the property.
“Guests vote their satisfaction by choosing to return…or not,” Merkin said. “This program will make it very clear how well we are doing and give us a head-start on fine-tuning our performance to live up to the promise of our brands. Our ultimate goal is that every guest has a positive experience at each and every InterContinental Hotels Group hotel.”
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC of the United Kingdom [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)], owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, more than 3,300 hotels and 515,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world (www.ichotelsgroup.com). The Group owns a portfolio of well recognised and respected hotel brands including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Express by Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites, and also has a controlling interest in Britvic, the second largest soft drinks manufacturer in the UK.
InterContinental Hotels Group offers information and reservations capability on the Internet - www.intercontinental.com for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, www.crowneplaza.com for Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, www.holiday-inn.com for Holiday Inn hotels, www.hiexpress.com for Express by Holiday Inn hotels, www.staybridge.com for Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn hotels and, for the Group’s rewards programme, www.priorityclub.com