Customerwise was invited to arrange a series of Mystery Guest visits at a large, award-winning luxury holiday park and to assess the visitor experience as a whole. This project resulted from a referral from a visitor attraction. It covered customer experience and customer service elements that relate to hospitality including accommodation and food and beverage, but also included leisure and entertainment elements, as well as holiday home sales.
We went far beyond our original remit, and exceeded the client’s expectations in terms of the value of the feedback that was provided. The findings from the study led the client to make a number of operational changes, and swiftly re-prioritise investment funds.
(Update 2018: we now provide in-depth visitor experience feedback on a regular basis to a number of holiday parks)
The client is a highly successful business. The management team was aware that some areas needed attention and wanted indepdent feedback to help identify and prioritise the areas where the guest experience could be improved. They had tried other Mystery Shopping services in the past, but had always been disappointed, either in the profile of “mystery guest” groups, or in the depth and range of observation and reporting.
Another happy client of Customerwise had recommended that the holiday park should contact us to obtain high quality, commercially valuable feedback.
How we helped
We gladly took on the challenge of
- Designing comprehensive reports and mystery shopper briefs covering almost every department and aspect of the guest experience.
- Arranging for rich, accurate and detailed feedback to be produced on every main aspect of the guest experience that was likely to impact on guest satisfaction or spend.
After gathering the comprehensive mystery guest feedback, we went further to provide a written report to
a. highlight the key observations from the different shopper groups, and
b. make commercial recommendations for how the business could increase guest satisfaction and increase sales.
We firstly visited the site in person, and then prepared a comprehensive, bespoke report structure and Mystery Guest brief. Then we moved onto the recruitment and selection of skilled mystery shopper groups able to assess every aspect of the business and provide insights from a range of age groups. In-depth briefing and support was provided to the shopper groups, and the visits were scheduled and coordinated to meet specific client requirements.
Once the visits were complete, we provided individual detailed reports from each visitor group, and produced a written report summarising key observations and making practical suggestions as to steps for improvement.
The individual reports and the summary report pointed to several commercially significant issues, and their potential solutions.
Improvement areas identified
Through this study we identified the following issues, many of which were lowering guest satisfaction and / or hindering the financial performance of the park:
- The website and online bookings process was failing in several key ways that would cause website visitors frustration and prevent potential visitor groups from finding and booking suitable accommodation.
For example, multi-generational family groups were not able to check the availability of suitable accommodation or obtain key information on layout and facilities of units.
- Telephone booking enquiries were being handled poorly.
Staff were lacking enthusiasm and missed clear opportunities sell the park, facilities and accommodation. Clear and significant opportunities to increase bookings revenue (by establishing budgets, by asking about budgets, or using price anchoring) were being missed, as well as opportunities to convert more enquiries into bookings.
- Food and beverage sales and overall guest satisfaction were being harmed in the main catering area
This was happening through a combination of poor service, lack of staff coverage, poor plate clearing, and a lack of follow-up / upselling.
- A serious pest control and health and safety issue was also identified in this area.
This was reducing dwell time and harming food and drink sales overall as well as reducing overall guest perceptions.
- Accommodation maintenance and maintenance response issues were identified.
- Holiday home sales staff were falling far below expectations in terms of the quantity and quality of their activity.
Prospects were not being assisted or pursued, and basic steps were not taken to clarify budgets, priorities or motivations, or to obtain prospect contact details. These issues and more were identified as being the factors causing disappointing sales performance.
- Significant litter and upkeep issues were harming overall customer perceptions.
The project also highlighted a number of positive findings. The items summarised above were identified as having been significantly harming revenue and customer satisfaction.
We made practical recommendations in relation to the following:
- The website and online bookings process.
- The need for an improved central reservation system to allow visitors clarity on the type of unit, layout etc. at the time of bookings.
- Simple ways that staff members can effectively increase bookings revenue.
- Pest control measures.
The study provided the client with serveral powerful peices of information about how customer satisfaction and sales were being harmed, and how performance in those areas could be improved. The client took immediate steps to resolve many of the issues that were raised. Some of the steps required significant financial investment, but the investment was recognised as being necessary due to the massive impact of those issues on this business.
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