Our Guest Satisfaction Index is above 96% – How is that Possible?

At the Cayuga Collection, we care deeply about our guest’s experiences. More than 96% of our guests tell us upon checkout that we exceeded or highly exceeded their expectations during their stay at our hotels and lodges.

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Our guests come with high expectations.  The spectacular settings of our hotels and lodges help.  But in the end it comes down to customer service and the human factor.

We are very proud of this achievement. But, as you can imagine, there is a lot of hard work that goes into this. First, we take care in measuring guest satisfaction. Every guest has the opportunity to fill out a guest evaluation (old school with pen and paper) before checkout. Contrary to the e-mail questionnaires that are used by other companies where the response rate is very low, we average between 75% and 85% response rate. This is invaluable information for us.

An example of a Guest Evaluation from Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio.
An example of a Guest Evaluation from Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rain Forest Resort  in Manuel Antonio.

These ratings and comments then get processed by our operations teams and we create a spreadsheet with, “Semaforos,” Spanish for traffic lights, where we can see the areas that are potentially under performing.  In addition, we tabulate the written comments by department and develop an action plan on how to remedy every suggestion and feedback.

Of course, there is also a lot of very positive feedback and we share this information with our staff and celebrate our consistently high scores. The comments that we receive by e-mail, on TripAdvisor or other social media channels are included in this, “guest comments follow up,” document as well.

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This is an example of how we tabulate the guest feedback from the evaluations.  This is shared with all the staff in the various departments.  A great motivator or indicator on where we need to improve.

So how do we maintain such great guest satisfaction across all the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges?  Here is an outline of what we believe makes the difference.

  • If you measure it, you can improve it. In the last few years, we have implemented a culture of tracking guest satisfaction very carefully. We can only improve our experiences if we have metrics that show our guest’s perception.
  • We really, truly care. For all of us at Cayuga, there is nothing worse than a client that is not happy. Service is in our DNA. We love to see people smile and make them happy.  So if there is an issue or a problem, we will fix it right away and work hard to ensure that the same problem does not come up again.
  • At Cayuga we have a strong focus on our staff and people in general. The hospitality business is a people business. The service delivery is done by humans.  So, we really focus on making sure that our staff is motivated, well trained, and happy; it seems to be working. The staff and our service are the two things that are most mentioned in TripAdvisor comments and on our guest evaluations.
Employees that are proud of their job, that are treated well by management and that have a passion for hospitality are key to great customer experiences.
Employees that are proud of their job, that are treated well by management and that have a passion for hospitality are key to great customer experiences.
  • We want our hotels and lodges to look and feel like new. This is not an easy task when you are in the rainforest or beachfront where the elements such as rain, salt water spray, tropical sun, and wind can deteriorate the hotel infrastructure in weeks. Guests honor our efforts and continued investments as it is not only important that it looks good, but also that it functions flawlessly. Solar-heated hot water and Wi-Fi are important from a guest experience point of view.  But, the maintenance of kitchen equipment and the functionality of our wastewater treatment plants have a strong indirect impact in the guest experience as well.
  • We have learned that we offer so much more than hotel rooms. It is all about experience.  If we are able to create the “magic” of Experience – Learn – Connect – Relax, guest satisfaction goes through the roof.
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When we say Experience – Learn – Connect – Relax, we mean experiences like helping in the conservation of sea turtles, waking up to the sound of howler monkeys, learning how to surf, or taking a nap in a hammock strung on a secluded beach.

But of course, there are times when we don’t quite get it right.  We make mistakes, situations out of our control affect us, and there are things that we are just struggling with to get right every time.

  • The toughest is when we are in construction or maintenance (in order to keep our hotels and lodges like new). Nobody wants to hear construction noise on vacation.  We manage this very carefully, but sometimes it is still an issue.
  • When we implement an upgrade or something new, like a new menu. The first days are often a bit shaky and guests feel that.
  • Ground transfers on the famous Costa Rican roads with their never-ending potholes. There’s much we can do there, other than making sure our vehicles are in great condition (especially the shock absorbers).
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The implementation of a new menu is always a challenge.  We usually make changes to our menus in November so that for the holiday season we have worked out the glitches and get ti 100 percent right.

 

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