Many managers usually ask us, “Why do we need mystery shopping?” or “How will mystery shopping benefit our hotel?”We are here today to answer these questions for you and more. Let’s start with the most basic, but very important question of, “What is Mystery Shopping?”To TrueGuest, mystery shopping is a training and observation tool for managers. With shoppers acting as normal customers writing detailed reports about the service they experienced, managers are able to get a rare glimpse of the service from a guest’s perspective. Mystery shopping provides a great look at the service a hotel provides that you, as a manager cannot personally see. By using these reports, a service improvement training program can be implemented with the proper accountability. How often do you train and train on service standards only to get poor “official” scores on guest service? How do you know where to begin to find out what went wrong? Mystery shopping reports provide that accountability tool for managers. They can find out exactly what is or is not happening that creates poor service.
There are many hotels that tell us, “We are doing well in our guest service scores, so we do not need any mystery shopping!”To those hotels, we say, “Congratulations!”But think of it this way; who fills out those comment cards that you regularly base your success on? The guests that take the time to fill out the comment cards are almost always either the guests that had a wonderful visit or the guests that had a completely terrible visit. This probably accounts for only 1% of your total guests. What you are essentially saying is that you do not care about how any of the guests in between feel; a good 99% of them. You are risking the loyalty of the guests that you provided below-average service to, who did not feel like filling out your comment cards. How would your corporate office respond to that? Comment cards are like a crapshoot; you hope that you get “good” guests this month and that they give favorable scores. Why not turn that crapshoot into a sure thing? Mystery shopping provides an unbiased, objective look at your service at any given time. Managers are then able to focus on keeping service consistently high by pinpointing and correcting any service deficiencies instead of waiting for a guest to comment on them. Unfortunately, they probably will have chosen another hotel by then.