Gaining and retaining dedicated guests with great customer service does not have to be rocket science. Here are a few easy steps to find out how.

Welcome to another edition of hospitality property school.

I’m your host Gerry MacPherson and today I am going to continue my talk about great customer service.



How do you know if your customer service is working? Ask!


You need to get honest feedback from your guests and you can do this by

  • being available to talk with your guests
  • use guest surveys or questionnaires
  • online reviews
  • feedback from your employees, to name a few.

When looking at reviews, surveys, and feedback from your guests and employees, look at any complaint or criticism as a chance to improve.


Let’s look at this a little closer


Take every opportunity to Ask Questions

  • During breakfast or dinner (“I hope you find everything to your satisfaction?”)
  • During check-out (“Did you enjoy your stay?”)
  • When using questionnaires offer a small reward (a small upsell during their next stay or possibly something unique like a rubber ducky with your properties name)


Basic questionnaire guidelines you should follow

  • The questionnaire should not be too long, only a few minutes necessary to fill it out very easy to fill out, e.g. with check marks.
  • Make sure your guest knows that their opinion is important. You could say, please help us, to make your break as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
  • Anonymous questionnaires are more honest but if an address is given, you have the opportunity for further inquiries
  • Increase rate of questionnaires returned by:
    • Asking early in your guest stay for them to fill it out. (it‘s too late after check-out)
    • A small reward for it returned, an easy hand-over
  • Allow space for your guest to add more information
  • Ask for date and duration of stay. This could influence any source of irritation e.g. noise, not enough variety of meals
  • A more detailed questioning is possible with regular guests


This is an example of the type of questionnaire I would give a guest.


Dear Valued Guest,

We are delighted you choose the “Your Property Name” for your stay and trust that you enjoyed your time with us We are always looking for ways to improve our service quality so, in order to maintain the highest possible standards, we would be grateful if you could fill in the questionnaire below and return it to us.

Thank you very much!

Hotel Managers Name Signature

Hospitality Property Questions

PS: Please drop the questionnaire at the reception for your free gift or just hand it to one of our employees.

You can also leave it on the desk in your room.


When reviewing evaluations remember

  • A good questionnaire can show a very authentic and realisable picture of strengths and shortcomings in service quality.
  • Don’t be afraid of honest and critical self-assessment
  • Accept complaint in a positive and professional way
  • Handle complaints fast, be uncomplicated and obliging
  • Provide employees with extensive efficiency in providing solutions.


“Again, look at any complaint as a chance to improve and if your guest sees you are taking them seriously!”


  • The guest‘s contentment rises
  • Customer loyalty is advanced; customers, who complain still want to stay at your property
  • Impressive complaint management is often the topic of conversations between customers, that means promotion


Customer loyalty is always cheaper than to find new customers!


Another option to consider

Set up the occasional Mystery Check. Similar to mystery shoppers, this is when you have guests check in and assess every aspect of your services.

This hidden test can help find out about your properties service qualities.



A minimised error rate in service quality is unavoidable… Dissatisfied guest – not!

Creativity and motivation produce not only a satisfied but also an enthusiastic and loyal guest, willing to recommend you!


Other tips that can improve a guests experience.

  • provide music with announcements, and offers for when guests are on telephone hold
  • Include an automated email response “Thank you for your message; you will receive a response within…!”
  • a small gift as a thank you for trust in a debit or fast bank transfer


Afterwards, you could try one or more of these ideas.

(This is why building an email or address list is important).

  • Don’t let the guest leave empty handed – a small souvenir, favourite recipe, typical regional products (e.g.. seeds of flowers…) or pictures of stay or the regional landscape during different seasons
  • Postcard “Welcome back home” (send 2 days before guest‘s check out)
  • Call guest to inquire if he arrived safely
  • Extraordinary end of letter e.g. season’s greetings, Christmas greetings


Your customers return visit

  • Keep a file of each guest with their likes and wishes. With the proper checks and balances in place, this information can be gathered by employee questions, without the guest realising and then without the guest asking you can provide, for example, their favourite coffee, drink, newspaper etc.

It is important that your employee participation in all customer service programs you have put in place.

Introduce a system for your employees to be able to make suggestions, improve quality and possibly save you money.

If this is done properly and consistently, employees will want to participate.



In this podcast, we looked at how to get honest feedback, how to create a questionnaire, and ways to surprise your guests. This may sound like a lot of work to implement but with patients, working smart and effectively, you will be surprised at how quickly you will benefit from the results.

We at Keystone HDC hope these podcasts are proving to be beneficial to any hospitality property owner or manager wishing to improve their property and increase profits. We also know we are just scratching the surface of possibilities.


So, with this in mind, we would like to introduce


“The Guide to Operating an Independent Hotel or Bed & Breakfast”

Training Tutorials


It is a complete 4 part Tutorial Series plus bonus!


Topics covered will include:


Series #1

Hospitality Property Organizational Structure

What is and how to develop:

  • Your Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • What Does Your Operation Manual Include
  • How Will I Know My Operations Manual Works
  • What is Outsourcing


Series #2                                                                           

Employee Development for Your Hospitality Property

  • Your People Mindset
  • How to Hire Winners
  • Can’t Afford Employee Training Programs- Think Again
  • How to Train For Success
  • Effective Communication
  • Improve Your Customer Service
  • How to Handle Customer Complaints
  • Educate to Upsell
  • How to Fire


Series #3

Marketing for Your Hospitality Properties Success

  • Designing Your Marketing Strategy · Branding –What Makes You Stand Out?
  • Creating an Effective Website
  • Email & Guest List Building
  • How to Use Social Media
  • Customer Giveaways
  • The Benefit of Newsletters
  • How to Make Surveys Work for You


Series #4                                                                                                

Close Look at Your Independent Hotel or Bed & Breakfast 

  • How Does Your Property Compare?
  • Become Your Own Guest
  • Is Your Property Accessible?
  • Are Your Restaurants Meeting its Potential?
  • How to Get Endless Referrals
  • Negative Reviews Are Good For Business


Bonus Tutorials Include:

  • Why My Independent Hotel or Bed & Breakfast Should Go Green
  • Trends to Watch in the Hospitality Industry
  • Hospitality Property Technology Trends



For more information about

“The Guide to Operating an Independent Hotel or Bed & Breakfast” Training Tutorials



For listeners of the Hospitality Property School Podcast, we are offering an additional savings of 25% off the

“The Guide to Operating an Independent Hotel or Bed & Breakfast” Training Tutorials



This offer will end without prior notice so act now by visiting …



You can also find this link in the show notes at:



That’s it for this session of hospitality property school. We appreciate your comments and if you have topic ideas, feel free to reach out to us on

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Or email at


So, as always, let’s work together to put heads in your beds.

Until next time, have a fun day.


Music Credit:

Sun Spark


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“Customer Service for Independent Hotels or Bed & Breakfasts” Studies


Hospitality Property School is a division of Keystone HDC