From Zero to Hero: Using HR and ReviewPro To Turn a Property Around

30 Apr 2013 by ReviewPro in Case Studies

The reputation management for hotels conversation often centers around guest service quality, but rarely includes strategies for the management and development of the people providing that service. Yet as we’ve noted before, operations management is reputation management – and an organization’s human resources (HR) department plays a key role in a hotel’s guest satisfaction ratings. This story is about a small hotel that used an HR-centric approach to reputation management and brand re-development.

The Sir Christopher Wren is a historic luxury spa hotel in Windsor, UK. Two years ago, they had a problem. In administration (receivership, for our North American readers), the property was poorly positioned and failing financially. The Sarova Group took over the property and used an approach that others may find helpful….

Understanding the situation with Hotel Assessment Reporting

Using ReviewPro’s online customer review analytics, the turnaround team was able to accurately access the situation. “It required a lot of work and an understanding of what was happening in the market in order to be able to compete,” Sarova’s general manager Jutta Staude told us – but ReviewPro’s business intelligence and competitive benchmarking helped speed up the process.

Combing through more than 125 review sites and social networks, Sarova’s team quickly identified the top opportunities for improvement, and what specific action steps needed to be taken.

(Note: You can buy one-off Hotel Assessment Reports from ReviewPro. Contact us now for details…)

While these operational action steps were being taken, sales or advertising activity was temporarily stopped. Successful turnarounds are all about fixing the root cause of the problem before marketing firepower is put behind the improved product.

According to the Savora team, one of the key drivers of the change through ReviewPro is the fact that the turnaround was driven by human resources (HR).  These executives used ReviewPro in three key ways:

HR action step 1: Training to build skills

A standard operating procedure for ReviewPro was established within the hotel so that everyone in the team is aware of what is expected. Clear expectations helps ensure guest satisfaction becomes a part of the organizational culture, and that customer feedback management tools do not go unused.

Educating the team on the opportunity for using customer insights to become more effective and efficient in their jobs highlighted why ReviewPro’s guest satisfaction management and tracking system is valuable for each user throughout the organization. (It’s interesting to note that this organizational alignment is something we’ve seen work again and again, like the “massive internal awareness marketing and education program in place” at Corinthia Hotels.)

HR action step 2: Building culture to show importance

“We had to build a culture identifying to the whole team the importance of Online Reputation Management to the hotel’s success,” notes Staude. This internal culture development is key for driving internal action. What is focused on gets results.

How does this look practically for the management team?

  • Reviewing ReviewPro reporting has become part of the regularly scheduled meeting between the heads of departments, and is a compulsory agenda point in monthly staff meetings
  • A weekly summary report of online feedback is posted on our staff notice board
  • Department-specific reports are sent to the appropriate staff members to highlight progress and improvement opportunities
  • Guest satisfaction is discussed at a monthly staff afternoon tea where the employee of the month is awarded

“The culture has been developed to the point where the Executive Housekeeper was on holiday and her team member sent her an SMS to inform her that the hotel had reached the target for the department index for the month,” Staude shared. “That’s when you know you have buy-in!”

HR action step 3: Establishing goals to track and incentivize progress

A key part of establishing a culture of service and driving team action is through setting up internal progress goals. As we noted in this case study, configuring guest satisfaction targets in ReviewPro provides a quick, targeted way to track and incentivize progress.

Establishing goals also helps each head of department with ongoing training and employee coaching – which circles back to action point #1 above. Continuous education and training drives continual improvement.


The results

Before the turnaround, the Sir Christopher Wren was situated at the bottom of their comp set in guest satisfaction based on online reviews – causing them to hemorrhage cash. Since making these changes, they have been able to steadily improve their ranking, which is a significant achievement considering the quality of properties they compete against.

“ReviewPro has been invaluable in helping us turning around this property – by providing insight for action that can be used by everyone in the organization. By focusing on people and organizational culture first – along with operational excellence – we have changed not only the reputation of this hotel, but its financial performance. For us, ReviewPro’s analytics and reporting isn’t a luxury – it has become foundational for improving the guest experience and optimizing revenue growth.” – Jutta Staude, general manager at Sarova Group

To discover how you could use ReviewPro’s insights to take your guest satisfaction – and financial performance – to the next level by requesting more information from our reputation management advisors now.