Hotel quality management is a never-ending responsibility. Hoteliers are constantly seeking strategies to enhance the quality of their customer service to boost their occupancy rates and customer satisfaction ratings.
This article covers some of the relevant methods for improving hotel service quality. It also emphasizes the need for performance-based evaluations and how managers can achieve this using inspection apps.
Key Elements of Hotel Service Quality (HSQ)
Hotel service quality, commonly known as HSQ, is the sum of consistently exceptional, personalized experiences delivered through both tangible amenities and intangible interactions, aimed at exceeding guest expectations. To maintain a high standard of service, hotels often adopt various management strategies and adhere to quality benchmarks, such as international star rating systems. This becomes especially crucial as global travelers increasingly expect a uniform standard of quality across different locales.
Some of the key elements shaping the perceived quality of service in the hotel industry include:
- physical appearance and amenities of the establishment, for example cleanliness and comfort of the rooms or range of amenities offered such as swimming pool
- consistent and dependable delivery of services without errors, for example in the reservations system
- responsiveness and efficiency of the staff in response to specific customer requests, as well as the competence and professionalism displayed that inspires guest confidence
- the level of empathy and personalized attention offered to guests.
Looking at these key elements, it’s interesting to note that staff capabilities play a major role in overall hotel service quality. Therefore it’s essential for hotels to invest in comprehensive employee training programs that empower staff to offer prompt, personalized, and compassionate service to guests.
How to Measure and Improve Hotel Service Quality
Many hotels are now aware of the need to establish brand standards and how this can help drive increased revenues. However, creating properly defined brand standards is just the first step if you want your hospitality business to remain a first choice for guests.
Hoteliers seeking growth and improvement must pay attention to how these standards are implemented and ensure that staff follow standard operating procedures with the right level of empathy.
Hospitality expert Kristen Ingram has spent 25 years in management roles at prestigious hotels such as Hilton and LaTour hotels. Speaking on the importance of regular monitoring and quality assurance practices in the hospitality industry, she remarks that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
This statement is true for all businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, where change is constant. Hotel quality assurance demands that hoteliers frequently examine the level of service and the condition of available amenities to ensure they meet desired standards.
If you’re looking to assess your hotel service quality and determine any potential areas of improvement, here are a few strategies you can implement.
1. Perform self-audits
Growth and improvement for hospitality businesses always begin with introspection. Self-audits can be valuable for hotels that wish to evaluate the performance of their staff and the quality of service across various departments.
Hotels that wish to perform internal audits can adopt various techniques. However, the most common method top hotels use is incorporating digital checklists into their operational workflow. Digital checklists provide a structured outline of processes that must be carried out to comply with your hotel’s brand standards.
There are countless free checklist templates to enhance service quality available online. These tools cover several aspects of hotel service, from food safety to room inspection, pest control, and fire protection. With an inspection app, hoteliers can easily measure service quality with and identify how they can evolve.
2. Incorporate External Brand Standards
External hotel brand standards created by organizations such as Forbes, LHW, LQA, and ISO are excellent for analyzing the overall condition of your customer service. Each of these bodies has bespoke criteria to evaluate hospitality businesses and determine if they can provide guests with the requisite level of luxury.
For example, luxury hotels can use the LQA Standards as a yardstick to evaluate their performance. This process will involve inspection by professional auditors based on 800 predefined checkpoints covering all departments from the front desk to check-out.
Incorporating external brand standards allows you to benchmark your hotel service quality against some of the leading five-star global brands. Furthermore, these third-party organizations provide hoteliers with feedback after conducting on-site assessments. Based on these recommendations, you can upgrade your services to meet the top hotel standards and industry best practices.
Using an inspection app with digital audit checklists makes it easier to incorporate elements of the external audits into your existing quality assurance processes.
3. Request Customer Feedback & Mystery Visits
Your customers are the most reliable source of information for streamlining improvement efforts. By requesting customer feedback, hoteliers can better understand their guest’s perspectives and discover what really matters to visitors.
The benefits of adopting a client-focused approach in measuring hotel service quality are endless. Rather than spending much money and effort on low-impact initiatives, you can identify where to channel your resources to achieve significant results.
There are many ways to observe your service from a customer’s perspective. A popular strategy used by leading hotels is to engage the services of a mystery guest shopper – an anonymous visitor who evaluates various facets of a hotel. These professionals use a checklist to perform hotel mystery audits and provide hoteliers with valuable feedback on their overall customer experience.
4. Empower and train staff
Empowering employees with the necessary knowledge, soft skills, and decision-making authority is a sure way to elevate standards. This is particularly challenging in an industry with sometimes high staff turnover rates. Therefore it’s essential to use training tools that can dispense the relevant guidance and knowledge where and when required.
Once more, an inspection app can be an invaluable tool to roll out staff training: digital checklists with clear hotel SOPs, internal self-audits and real-time follow-up actions help rectify any issues as early as possible, and provide additional training when required.
Evaluate Service Quality in Hotels Based on Best Practices
Managers can achieve better compliance with brand standards by using an inspection app to create a performance-based recognition system for staff. With automated inspection scores, managers can see the performance of each department and staff and reward them accordingly. It can also be used to initiate a fun and competitive environment within the property, for example by establishing inter-department competitions on audit results.
By adopting this strategy, hoteliers can use various hotel checklists to conduct routine assessments and determine if a particular employee is falling behind regarding adherence to best practices. This helps to set the suitable training and action plan in order to rectify any issues as soon as possible.
Hotel standards are constantly changing, and it’s essential to stay informed of the most recent best practices to guarantee customer satisfaction and safety. An excellent example of this are the new hotel hygiene standards post-Covid. Unlike before, guests have much higher expectations regarding hygiene and safety standards. As a result, many hotels have created a hygiene manager role tasked with ensuring that all departments comply with the required hygiene standards. In addition, several departments also appoint a hygiene officer to help them maintain all the stated cleanliness requirements.
Standardize and Monitor Hotel Service Quality With an Inspection App
Inspection apps are becoming increasingly ubiquitous as hotels gradually awaken to the exponential benefits of incorporating technology. The GoAudits inspection app is one of the most trustworthy tools for leading brands in the hospitality sector. Several highly rated hotels, such as LaTour Hotels, have used this app to save thousands of dollars on paperwork and conduct audits seamlessly.
GoAudits enables you to track service quality over time with real-time reports and interactive dashboards. Using the insights generated from analyzing inspections, you can identify underperforming departments, staff, or branches in your hotel chain. Furthermore, conducting technology-driven performance-based evaluations can help to provide direction for future training programs.