Bring Your Guests into the Conversation

Bring your guests into the conversation

COVID-19, Guest Experience

This article is part 3 of a 3 part series. Click here for the full series.

If perception is reality, then it is crucial to measure, fine tune, and measure again when it comes to new procedures that you’ve implemented.  There is only so much that can be anticipated while closed and put into place in time for reopening.  When your doors or gates reopen (or if they already have), your guests will determine how successful you have been in implementing new procedures and stressing your commitment to their safety.

This is where you optimize your feedback loop.  Your guests can be a part of your success story, especially if you open up your communication channels for them to give you feedback internally.  Otherwise, they will flock to TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, and anywhere else where they can publicly announce your shortcomings.  In normal times, one negative review can deter 30 potential guests from visiting, and we can only imagine that that number is now magnified exponentially.  If a guest is skeptical about visiting, the influence that online reviews have is now more powerful than ever.

Fortunately, you can do your part in intercepting as many complaints as possible before they become online reviews.  By actively soliciting feedback from all guests via a variety of channels, you can align your priorities with where the largest concerns lie.  A continual flow of comments throughout normal operation will help you iterate your implementations as we navigate the new normal, getting you closer and closer to becoming a post-COVID expert.

If you have not reopened, you don’t need to wait.  Use your email list and social media channels, and while you deliver your message of your new procedures, begin collecting data on what guests identify for possible improvements based on previous visits, along with what they expect from you when you reopen.  Then, while you are in the process of making these updates, call your guests and learn from them directly the improvements that you can make for future success.  Hopefully, you’ll learn about improvements you can make that are not related to sanitation, physical distancing, or even related to COVID-19 at all, but perhaps toward areas like service, wait times, food quality, or other key performance indicators that always have room for improvement.  These will also be perfect opportunities to personally invite your guests back when you reopen, and if they’ve taken the time and energy to share their feedback, make sure you recognize them with some sort of discount, offer, or upgrade to express your appreciation, and get them to start planning their next visit.

What’s the best way to collect feedback from your guests?  There are so many options, and sometimes it seems that if you use one method, you don’t need the rest.  While there may be value in having a primary consumer analytics approach, having multiple working in tandem with each other will give you the most powerful intelligence.  This was true during pre-COVID times, and now your guest engagement strategy is crucial to your survival.

A quick rundown of different methods:

  • Mystery Shopping.  Having specific guests coming into your attraction on a regular basis with a thorough checklist allows you to measure granular data points that cannot be done through any other method.  This mix of quantitative and qualitative data allows you to drill down into specific metrics, reward staff for going above and beyond, and track trends over time.  Amusement Advantage is only the mystery shop provider that is exclusive to the attractions industry.
  • Post-Visit Surveys.  Prompting guests for a survey after their visit is a great way to conduct market research on a regular basis from a large pool of guests.  Keeping guests engaged once they are back home also gives them the opportunity to begin planning their next visit, and offering a purchase incentive in exchange for a survey can monetize this platform.  BackLooper, a division of Amusement Advantage, helps attractions gain higher volumes of qualitative guest feedback that allows operators to deepen their relationships with their guests.
  • Survey Kiosks.  When looking for massive amounts of real-time data, survey kiosks are an excellent solution.  From measuring perceptions like restrooms cleanliness, food and beverage quality, and attraction enjoyment, strategically placed kiosks can capture quantitative data as it happens, offering superior analytics that indicate what time of day guests are most frustrated with certain areas of your business.  Avius is the leader of survey kiosks in attractions, airports, and anywhere else that sees high volumes of foot traffic.
  • Online Reviews.  While you should not rely solely on review sites for guest feedback, you should leverage your other data collection platforms to recommend that your most satisfied guests publicize their enjoyment during their visit.  90% of your visitors are heavily influenced by online reviews, so you should always stay on top of websites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews to keep your finger on the pulse of your online reputation.

By bringing your guests into the conversation you have the opportunity to learn about your shortcomings before they become negative online reviews, recover from those guests directly and invite them to return, and regularly measure the success of the continual fine tuning that will undoubtedly need to occur in operations throughout the entire attractions industry.

This article is part 3 of a 3 part series. Click here for the full series.

Josh Liebman
Josh Liebman specializes in guest experience within attractions, tourism, and hospitality, including service standards, complaint resolution, and driving guest loyalty. Josh is a serial entrepreneur, podcaster, consultant, and speaker. Josh has worked for some of the top attraction operators in the world, including, but not limited to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Merlin Entertainments, and Cedar Fair. Josh has been integral to the openings of multiple attractions in various leadership capacities. Additionally, Josh has consulted for many of the world’s leading hospitality brands, including Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Waldorf Astoria, and many more. Josh is Co-Host of the AttractionPros Podcast, which brings the audience into the room with the top leaders, executives, and influencers in the attractions industry.

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