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As your guests depart, they head home rich in something that's vital to your business — freshly minted impressions of the area, their rental homes and your management team. Small wonder the hospitality industry has embraced guest satisfaction surveys, from hotels to vacation rental properties.
With the ready availability of questionnaires that can be completed on personal electronic devices, it's never been easier to find out what guests did and did not like about their stay. But the feedback you get is only as good as the survey you create.
Devising an effective survey can be a challenge. Ultimately, it's a balancing act between being concise and being thorough. You don't want to annoy your guests with a lengthy list of poorly worded questions. Yet your business requires that you gather the pertinent information you need about your guests' time at the properties you manage.
Here are eight tips for crafting guest satisfaction surveys that hit the sweet spot, providing the information you need while enticing guests to answer each question.
Ask short, specific questions
The best survey questions are clear, concise and focused on one idea. Use simple, direct wording. Avoid jargon, acronyms, double negatives and any language or phrasing that muddies your message.
Make sure each question is essential
Have a clear idea about the information you want from your survey, and delete any questions that don’t further that purpose. This is not a forum for posing an off-point question that you think it won’t hurt to ask.
Ask one question at a time
Questions with multiple parts can be confusing. A question like “How would you rate the cleanliness of the house, garage and yard?” is actually three questions, and each part may have a different answer.
Be mindful about overall length
Your guests are busy people. Shorter surveys that take five to ten minutes have a better chance of being completed than those clocking in at more than 20 minutes. If possible, limit your survey to 20 questions or less.
Present questions in a logical order
The best surveys flow easily from question to question. Surveys usually start with a question about the guest’s overall experience, then proceed along a natural path, tracing a stay from the guest’s booking experience or arrival at the home to their departure.
Create a consistent rating scale
A rating scale will often elicit a more useful response to a question than a simple Yes or No. But a comprehensive study about surveys from Survey Monkey and the Gallup Group underscores the importance of presenting equal numbers of positive and negative options for each question as well as one neutral answer. For example, a balanced choice of answers to the question “How likely are you to recommend our business to a friend?” would include Very Likely, Somewhat Likely, Might or Might Not, Probably Would Not and Definitely Would Not.
Send out surveys within three days of guest departure
You want to tap your guests’ brains before they forget the details of their stay. The Survey Monkey/Gallup Group study found that guests are most likely to open and answer a survey on a Monday, Sunday or Friday.
Research before you write
Not sure what you want to include in your survey or how you want to word it? Numerous surveys are available online, mostly from hotels. Look them over for ideas about wording, content and style.
Here are some sample survey questions for a vacation rental manager.
Please rate your overall experience at the vacation rental home.
How likely are you to book one of our properties again?
How would you rate your communications with the manager?
How would you rate the cleanliness of the home?
How accurate was the description of the property?
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