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Hotels lose around 30 customers for each bad review; cleaning is key
Cleanliness is the number one concern for customers as well as a leading global driver of value for the hotel sector according to research - and facilities management can play a strategic role in increasing revenues and improving guest retention.
In an industry worth around £40bn a year in the UK but with occupancy and room rates expected to fall this year, hotels need to find ways to focus on enhancing the guest experience and boost online reviews, given that one poor review can lose a hotel around 30 customers, which equates to £2,500 per bad review for the average hotelier - a very real impact on the bottom line.
In reality, with cleanliness being such a deal breaker for hotel guests, there is a strong argument for hotel general managers and facilities managers to use housekeeping as an effective means of adding value, particularly in light of increased competition and customers becoming more cautious as to how and where they spend their money.
Figures from one study carried out by Market Metrix - the feedback management platform in the hospitality industry (marketmetrix.com) show that room cleanliness is the leading global driver of value in both Europe and the Americas for hoteliers ahead of other areas such as bed and furniture comfort, room lighting, internet access and a customer service focused attitude.
Research also shows 97% of guests agreed that cleanliness is the most important factor when choosing a hotel, cafe, bar or restaurant and when guests are unhappy with the standard of cleanliness the vast majority of respondents said they were more likely to stop going there than to register a complaint.
The findings are part of a new report published by support services provider Emprise, which offers insights into the importance of a clean environment for hotels and demonstrates the cost of poor reviews on the bottom line.
With almost two-thirds of people using social media to make travel plans, 35% changing their choice of hotel after browsing social media and 90% of travellers avoiding booking hotels labelled as 'dirty' in online reviews, housekeeping is a very real strategic concern for hotels.
Add to this, a negative review or comment on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube losing companies as many as 30 customers, in real terms this could mean a significant loss of revenue as a result of every bad review regarding hotel cleanliness.
The report suggests that if a hotel was to increase its occupancy rate by just 1% on the back of positive reviews, based on a 70% occupancy rate, a 100 room hotel and £100 per night room rate, it could generate an additional £25,550 revenue per annum - far in excess of what could be saved by economising on cleaning or lost with poor reviews.
One strategy is for hotels to work in partnership with an outsourced supplier, that can bring additional expertise as well as delivering value on the cost of housekeeping services.
Although there can appear to hoteliers to be a conflict with the need to save money, working in partnership with an outsourced supplier can actually reduce overheads and increase revenues as well as bring many benefits, including improved methods and cleaning techniques, a flexible approach and reduced management burden with regard to recruitment and training of staff.
There is strong support for working with a specialist cleaning provider as it delivers additional value on the cost of housekeeping services because sickness cover, human resources and other personnel costs are absorbed by the supplier. Moreover, standards and continuity of service can be guaranteed.
The paper proposes that hotels should actively monitor complaints, compliments and comments regarding cleanliness and put processes in place to ensure all activities are carried out to the required standard.
Hoteliers should also ensure service providers have a strong network of cleaners, are flexible in their approach and that their housekeeping team is aligned with their brand values, as high cleanliness standards can potentially increase brand loyalty and customer retention due to increased satisfaction and trust.
An effective cleaning strategy can provide organisations with added value in terms of repeat business, referrals and positive reviews; and it's the hotels with strong brands and positive online engagement who will be the ones most likely to succeed.
Emprise is a leading mid-market support services provider specialising in cleaning and security, which has an excellent track record of delivering high quality solutions. The company has a turnover of £90 million and employs circa 8,000 people to deliver a range of integrated support services to clients on a national basis.
Emprise has a portfolio of clients with strong presence in the retail, leisure and corporate markets, in particular, major retailers, shopping centres, theatres, legal and financial institutions, blue chip headquarters, health & leisure clubs and other large, iconic, public buildings.
These clients include: De Vere and Hilton Hotels, Waitrose, John Lewis, David Lloyd Leisure, Fitness First, The Royal Albert Hall, National Theatre, Ambassador Theatre Group, MTV, Royal Bank of Canada, Man Group, BDO, Derwent London, DTZ, Savills, BNP Paribas, MWB, Herbert Smith, Lambert Smith Hampton, University of Sussex, British Library.
5th September 2013