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5 Tips for Receiving Better Feedback from Guest Surveys

Take these steps to overcome “survey fatigue” and keep guests engaged so they complete your hotel survey with information you need.

You may think it’s a simple matter for hotel guests to complete the short email guest experience survey you send after their stay. But did you know that businesses send out billions of customer or guest surveys a year, resulting in “survey fatigue” among consumers?

So, even if a guest wants to offer feedback via your hotel’s guest survey, that form may be just one more survey they can’t take time to complete that day.

That doesn’t mean you should get rid of this valuable guest feedback tool, though. Surveys are here to stay, according to customer engagement platform Khoros.

“Surveys won’t be going anywhere soon. Indeed, customers understand this simple fact, and even recognize that it can benefit them: According to our research, a whopping 64 percent of consumers appreciate when a brand seeks out their feedback or opinion in a survey,” according to Khoros, which conducted its own survey of consumers of various products and services.

Consumers are most likely to respond to a survey right after they’ve concluded an interaction with a brand, “when the interaction is fresh in their minds,” says Khoros. But the number of respondents drops significantly when the survey questions are based on overall satisfaction rather than specific questions.

Only around seven percent of customers in the Khoros survey said they respond to every survey they receive. About one-fifth (22 percent) said they respond to most surveys, and 34 percent said they respond to “some.”

The good news is that your hotel can help drive survey response numbers up by following these five tips that make guests more likely to complete your guest satisfaction survey.

Keep surveys short

Keeping your survey short increases the likelihood that a guest will take the time to complete the questions instead of giving up halfway through because the task takes too long.

Surveys that have one to three questions have a completion rate of 80 percent, according to research from survey automation company Survicate. That rate drops to 65 percent on surveys with four to eight questions and 56 percent when there are nine to 15 questions.

To help ensure completion, post the approximate time it will take guests to complete the survey, recommends customer service software company Zendesk.

“You can include this information in your survey invite or at the start of your survey. It also helps to provide a progress bar, so respondents can see how many questions they have left to answer,” says Zendesk.

Ask about specific areas of guest satisfaction

Overloading your survey with questions is a “one-way ticket to a low response rate,” according to Zendesk. You’ll have a better response rate if surveys pinpoint specific (rather than overall) areas you want guests to assess.

Start with easy-to-answer questions

“The first few questions should be easy to answer, with a rating scale or yes/no option,” says customer satisfaction platform customer Alliance. “Avoid using [open-ended] questions and comment boxes at the start of your survey as the thought of writing out longer answers right at the beginning scares people off.”

Make questions easy to understand

“Vague, leading, and complicated questions ruin the experience for your respondents, decreasing the likelihood that they’ll participate in future surveys,” says Zendesk.  “Unclear questions may also lead to unreliable responses given in haste.”

Review survey questions as a team of comprised of several managers and staff members, watching out for:

  • Questions that could be misunderstood or have more than one meaning
  • Confusing terminology or jargon that typical guests aren’t familiar with
  • Requesting too much information, which can overwhelm respondents
  • Leading questions that influence guest responses
  • Offensive, non-inclusive language

Know your guest survey goal

Zendesk recommends determining the guest experience goal and touchpoints for your guest experience surveys. The survey goal could be guest retention rate, customer satisfaction or focus on satisfaction with your hotel’s mobile app, for example.

“Remember to focus on only one topic. It’s much more difficult to collect and implement feedback about multiple issues at the same time,” says Zendesk. “Once you’ve identified your survey goal, pick the type of customer survey that will help you achieve your objective.”