Hotels thrive on delivering outstanding guest experiences, ensuring satisfaction throughout their stay. However, consistently upholding these high standards is a universal challenge for hoteliers. This is why hotel mystery audits, a key component of market research, are crucial. They enable you to appraise your customer experience and identify the key avenues for improvement. This article explains exactly why these audits are so helpful and how you can incorporate technology to simplify the process and scale your business.
What Is a Hotel Mystery Audit, and How Is It Performed?
Quality assurance in the hotel industry is vital for businesses that wish to maintain brand compliance and guarantee customer loyalty and retention. With hotel mystery shopping, you can assess the standard of your service from a client’s perspective to determine if their overall sentiment is favorable.
A hospitality mystery shopping audit involves hiring an individual to pose as an anonymous guest to evaluate your hotel across a predefined checklist or criteria. These individuals are referred to as hotel mystery shoppers, and their job is to immerse themselves in the complete customer experience and observe the various facets of your hotel service. Some of the areas that these mystery guest hotel shoppers will pay attention to include customer service and staff friendliness, cleanliness of the rooms, the quality of meal preparation, and general security.
Example of a GoAudits Hotel Mystery Shopper Checklist
There are currently at least 187,300 hotels worldwide, and some leading brands, such as Marriott International, have as many as 8,120 branches. Even with much fewer locations, maintaining brand standards across various departments and properties is a challenge. Conducting frequent hotel mystery audits with the same checklists is an excellent way to guarantee a standardised approach and preserve your brand reputation.
Why You Need Hotel Mystery Visits
Quality control in hotel businesses must take a customer-focused approach if they must be effective, and this is why mystery shopping is highly recommended. Companies in the hotel and hospitality industry can thrive by building a reputation for outstanding client service across their various branches.
Brand compliance is non-negotiable if you desire to maintain a high occupancy rate and generate organic growth through word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers. There are many benefits of mystery guest visits in hotels, including better company branding and guest experience, the development of new and improved training programs and policies, and the opportunity to provide adequate staff support.
Improved Branding and Consistency
Perception is an essential factor in customer attraction and retention in hotels and other businesses in the hospitality industry. In today’s world, where information is ubiquitous and potential clients can preview your competition from their mobile devices, a hotel mystery audit can be valuable in driving your branding and marketing strategy.
Conducting your internal quality assurance audits using hotel audit checklists gives you a great view of performance. However, what really matters is the point of view of guests. Mystery shoppers provide you with a clear insight into your customer’s perspective. From the analysis of reviews and your audit results, you can discern what exactly customers value the most and build your hotel brand around your unique selling points.
Instead of taking shots in the dark, you can know where to focus your limited resources and the necessary improvements that will significantly impact employee performance and your bottom line.
Evaluating Staff Performance
A hotel mystery shopper can objectively assess your employee’s performance. A typical world-class hotel consists of several moving parts and roles. However, a hotel mystery audit can quickly shine the spotlight on departments that are not meeting client expectations and costing you money.
The checklists used by your anonymous shopper will help them evaluate all staff members, including the concierge, receptionist, room attendant, spa manager, server, and cook. The results of their observation will enable you to determine whether you’re experiencing an individual or systemic problem and identify suitable solutions.
Creating New Training Programs and Policies
In building your workplace culture, your hotel must undertake regular training programs for old and new employees. In addition, corporate policies are also required to ensure uniformity of hotel brand standards and maintain high customer satisfaction scores.
While these practices are critical, hotel mystery shopping helps to provide a more streamlined formula for training and policy development. By appraising your staff behavior and hotel’s services, your HR department can create a training manual that specifically addresses areas where your customer service is inadequate.
Adopting a research-based approach to staff development is a sure method of promoting growth and staying relevant in a highly competitive hospitality industry.
Providing Employee Support
A 2023 survey by the American Hotel Lodging Association reveals that there is a 24% increase in the number of travelers who wish to stay in a hotel, from 53% in 2022 to 77% in 2023.
The implication of this statistic is that hotels must provide staff support and ensure adequate resources to cater to an increasing client base. Unfortunately, without conducting hotel mystery audits, it may be challenging to determine if your funds are being spent on initiatives that guarantee the best returns.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for improving the hotel service quality. Consequently, you will need to employ the services of a mystery shopper to understand where your staff are facing difficulties in providing top-quality customer service and devise suitable support measures to aid their efficiency.
How to Leverage Technology and Enhance Brand Standards with an Inspection App
Previously, hotel quality assurance was a cumbersome process that required lots of paperwork. Consequently, this meant longer hours for organizing and analyzing the assessment results and increased difficulty in generating valuable insights from these data.
Technology, however, has provided a solution to simplify the entire exercise for hotel executives and mystery shoppers alike. Rather than spend much-needed person-hours on routine tasks like data entry, companies can focus their attention on decision-making and improve business standards with a mystery shopper app.
The GoAudits inspection app
The GoAudits inspection app is an excellent solution for quality assurance in restaurants and hotels, both for mystery shopping and other internal audits. Indeed our easy-to-use app enables to manage all different audits in one place: mystery visits, internal quality assurance audits, daily operational checks, Forbes standards and LQA standards.
Hotel audit success stories
Our client list includes some of the most accomplished names in this space, such as Marriott, the Rosewood Hotel Group, Radisson Hotels and Resorts, and Hilton Hotels and Resorts. Discover some of our hospitality customer success stories:
- Read how the US-based hotel management company TMS ensures brand compliance and quality assurance across their Hilton and Marriott brands with GoAudits.
- Discover how Latour Hotels digitised their QA across 30+ properties, then expanded the use of GoAudits to daily operational checks.
Benefits of the GoAudits inspection app
Going digital will bring many benefits, saving you time and resources. Effectively aggregate all your data and nip challenges in the bud: identify trends and patterns across departments and locations, resolve issues faster and ensure consistent brand standards.
GoAudits allows you to enjoy these and more perks:
- easy auditing on the field, on any phone or tablet
- instant reporting to share audit information quickly, pinpointing every issue or highlighting critical non-conformances
- smart dashboards for real-time analysis
- corrective actions that can be assigned to specific team members, internally or externally
- vast library of hotel audit checklist templates which can be customized, to get started as quickly as possible
Both your company and the external auditors will be able to access up-to-date information about the performance of your inspections at any time.
Free Hotel Mystery Audit Checklists
You can download any of these free hotel audit checklist templates from the GoAudits library:
- Hotel Mystery Shopper Checklist
- Hotel Arrival Checklist
- Forbes Standards: Hotel Housekeeping Checklist
- Forbes Standards: Hotel Dining Checklist
- Reservations Checklist
- Valet Parking Checklist
- Walk Through Audit
- Room Inspection
- More Hotel Inspection Checklists