I’m sure I’ve had a moan about this before, but why do almost no hotels or bed and breakfasts ask for guest feedback? If they do, then it’s likely to be a form with a few questions asking for a score out of ten or to grade from terrible to excellent with no open questions.
As our previous guests will know, we have a feedback form on the rear of their personalised welcome letter on the bed. We’ve always done this from day one as I saw the importance of feedback following my customer service experience prior to us buying our hotel in North Wales. We continued this when we moved to our bed and breakfast in Torquay in Devon.
It's not many questions, but they're all open questions so you can't put a yes or no answer, there needs to be more information, hence it makes it more useful.
Some people must wonder why we still ask for feedback when we’ve ranked as Best B&B in the World and won Visit England’s B&B of the year in 2022 for the second time. One reason is that it highlights any maintenance issues which are reported about a guest room. For instance a guest let us know this week that a bath plug was quite slow letting the water out. The morning they left, following their feedback we checked for blockages, then used some drain unblocker and it was then fine. We don't fill the bath ever time we clean the room so without guest feedback and asking specifically if there were any maintenance issues in the room, then we could have gone for months without knowing. This results in guest after guest having the same experience.
Another reason is that once in a while, a guest will come up with a really good idea when questioned “how could we have improved your stay?”
It’s rare anyone has anything of substance to say here as we try and anticipate your every need after 15 years in the business. Most may joke about wanting even more cake or us stopping it raining or just say you can’t improve on perfection.
However, the other day a guest who had stayed for five nights for the first time with us did make a suggestion. She said that she’d had a small spillage with the Nespresso coffee maker and that it would have been useful to have a cloth or napkin to wipe it up with.
Initially we were unsure about this and as you know, everything needs to look spot on, presented professionally and of luxury quality. We didn’t want to just put some kitchen roll next to the coffee maker. We thought about it some more and thought about napkins. We realised that we serve paper napkins with my famous chocolate brownies and welcome drink but not with my daily treat. Sometimes a napkin might be useful with some of the treats to wipe sticky fingers afterwards.
We purchased some smart black napkins and decided to place them between the cake dome and on plates (as you would expect, all in exactly the same position in every room at right angles).
To our surprise, more often than not, guests use them daily! Fancy that - we’ve been missing a trick for years! Now guests can wipe their fingers or mop up a spillage and there will hopefully be a few less greasy finger marks on my brushed steel light switches too!
It’s unfortunate that the 5 star hotel we recently visited (a lot more expensive than us) didn’t ask for feedback. They knew who we were but even if they don’t normally have a feedback form, you might have thought they would have asked us for any comments or feedback with us being in the industry and with the reputation for perfection that we have. They plainly weren’t interested.
Quite frankly, I had plenty of feedback for them! For a 5 star hotel, it was greatly lacking in many areas. Maybe they knew they were falling far short of the required standards and didn’t need me to confirm it.
It did make us realise why we win so many awards. Though it may sound big headed, we may not have the view or a gym or swimming pool or restaurant, but we were head and shoulders above this place. The first thing I would do as General Manager of the hotel would have been to implement a feedback system. I’d like to say I’d see if things have changed or
Improved next time I go but we are unlikely to return. Sadly, they fell far short of my expectations for a special place to stay. I would eat there again, but the rooms were just not up to scratch.
So, next time you stay somewhere other than The 25, ask yourself "do they have a feedback form?" Chances are they don't and chances are they are falling down in several areas. If they do have a form or ask for feedback afterwards via email, don't be afraid to give honest and constructive feedback - the hotel or B&B will appreciate it. The only way we can improve is if we know something is not right.
We'd love your feedback so come and stay soon! We're currently booking until the end of 2023. You can book online up to 13 months ahead, or call me to make a booking beyond that.
See you soon.