Post-Experience Satisfaction of a Hotel Guest

This is the third and last instalment of the article series “the stages of guest satisfaction” called the post-experience satisfaction with a short summary of the key elements to be included in the feedback questionnaire, and some recommendations for the analysis stage.

After the stay is over, the guest is reflecting whether his or hers expectations were met, exceeded or failed while filling in the online questionnaire.

It is fair to assume, the most satisfied guests are most likely going to recommend the hotel, and maybe return.
But could that statement be quantified?
There are relatively few studies published about this subject matter, however Matzler and Pechlaner (2001) conducted a guest satisfaction study with 37 hotels in Austria concentrating on the aspects of guest loyalty and willingness to recommend the hotel. Their sample size exceeded over 3500 questionnaires and the guest satisfaction was measured on a scale of 1 to 10.

The researchers concluded that in order to increase customer loyalty and recommendations, the overall satisfaction had to be 90% or more, in other words 9 or 10 on the scale of 1 to 10.

Conversely Ramanathan and Ramanathan (2011) identified dissatisfiers that had a direct impact on guests’ intentions not to return to the hotel again when dissatisfaction was caused by a failure of delivery in customer service, room quality and quality of the food (Tanford, Raab and Kim, 2012).
Interestingly Stewart and Hull (1992) stated that the satisfaction is also prone to changing dependent on the time the satisfaction assessment is given, and is being influenced by previous satisfaction responses (Stewart and Hull (1992) in Zins, 2001).
This may be an important factor and it should be, if not measured, then at least acknowledged based on the fact that the satisfaction assessment may vary in two similar situations differentiated only by time the satisfaction assessment is given e.g. two guests experienced the same problems during the stay, the other one responded immediately, and the other one 2 weeks later.

In the first case, the negative experience was expressed extensively in the questionnaire as the problem was still fresh in mind, however in the second case, the time effect and everything that had happened during those two weeks before giving the feedback, could actually lead to a more positive review. So the long story short, it might be useful to recognise / acknowledge that time itself can be a factor. Analysing the feedback based on the time it was given e.g. by dividing the data in three groups – feedback given within the first 3 days, between the days 4 and 9, and after the first 10 days could turn out unexpected results.

And finally, to wrap up the stages of guest satisfaction, I have included a short summary of things to consider in the questionnaire design and some general recommendations for the analysis.

1. Making it extensive enough; there should be more than 10 questions, and a scale from 1 to 10 will give more detailed information than a scale from 1 to 5 where 3 is considered as a neutral value.
2. Measuring the guest expectations; whether they were met, exceeded or failed, and in case the expectations were failed, it would be recommendable to trace back the reason by listing the problem areas.
3. Listing the problem areas; this will also enable to study the relative impact of problems on guest satisfaction.
4. Using an effective analysis tool; such as IBM SPSS to get the most out of the data.

* Tanford, S., Raab, C., & Kim, Y. (2012). Determinants of customer loyalty and purchasing behavior for full-service and limited-service hotels. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 31(2), 319-328.
* Matzler, K., & Pechlaner, H. (2001). Guest satisfaction barometer and benchmarking. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 2:3-4, 25-47.
* Zins, A. (2001). Timing and contextual effects on satisfaction measurement. European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, 2001.

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