Myths and Truths about Social Media as a Method of Guest Feedback

By Rick Garlick, Ph.D., Global Practice Lead, Travel and Hospitality Practice, J.D. Power

Over the past several years, social media crawling has, for many hoteliers become the primary tool for understanding the guest experience. In some cases, aggregated social media feedback has displaced the traditional guest satisfaction survey as the principal means by which hotels monitor and improve performance. Because of the public nature of social feedback, some hotels have staff specifically assigned to manage and respond to guest comments on the most prominent sites.

Widely held belief regarding social media: it is good PR to respond to social postings, but it doesn’t necessarily impact guest loyalty, as most people don’t expect a response. The data show that about four in 10 guests expect a response to their social postings. This statistic is nuanced, however, by the fact that younger generations, particularly Gen Y (which includes the ‘Millennials’) and Gen Z have higher expectations of receiving a response to their social media remarks than older generations.

The hotel’s response to guests makes an impact on satisfaction scores. When hotels simply respond to social media posts, overall satisfaction is 75 points higher on J.D. Power’s 1000 point index scale than when the hotel fails to acknowledge the post, even if there is no particular resolution to an issue. However, while satisfaction scores increase just simply due to receiving a response, advocacy (e.g. the likelihood to recommend) is only higher when the hotel actually resolves the guest’s issue. Additionally, guest satisfaction is obviously greater when the hotel resolves an issue as opposed to simply acknowledging the post.

Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles