I previously discussed how today’s travellers consult online reviews over traditional rating systems when picking out a hotel to stay in. But just like fake news, fake reviews have also spread across the internet – after all, a writer in London (and his friends) turned his garden shed into the hottest fake restaurant on TripAdvisor! Understandably, hoteliers are scrambling to check which online reviews came from actual stays in their establishments.
Enter The Know, which promises to bring transparency, authenticity and ease of verification to the feedback process for the hospitality industry. Founded by former bankers Mané Ryatt and Fiona Adams, who channel into the business their twin passion for travel and problem-solving, The Know assures luxury and boutique hotel clients of detailed, confidential, qualitative insight and analytics using sophisticated, customisable surveys. Ryatt and Adams share, ‘All hoteliers love to receive positive feedback, especially the direct guest forms that rate everything with the highest possible score and have a comment saying, ‘Everything was wonderful!’ But, is this really what good feedback looks like?’
‘Everything was wonderful!’ But, is this really what good feedback looks like?’
The Know transforms the mystery shopper format into a smart, innovative and exclusive mystery guest service. It’s an invitation-only online club where seasoned travellers with discriminating tastes are vetted as real paying guests before they can share honestly, comprehensively and anonymously about their hotel stays. Members are required to stay for longer than two nights, or else they forfeit cash reimbursements, loyalty points and other benefits that The Know will pay for their reviews.
This filter, The Know says, helps hotels better understand their guests, track their own performance, and create action plans. Where standard mystery guest suppliers don’t pay for their (often too short) stays while hotel inspectors have their stay coloured by their own years in the hospitality business, The Know’s format also verifies reviewers, so that both readers and hoteliers gain trustworthy insights from ‘Knowers’.
But what other qualities can help hoteliers gain actionable intelligence from standard reviews? No worries, The Know has also identified and weaponised them:
- Consistency – generating similar answers across all respondents
- Detail – the right amount of questions to get the right kind and amount of feedback
- Balance – encouraging guests to share both positive and negative comments
- Recommendations and suggestions, generated through incentives
- Confidentiality – limiting feedback access to hoteliers so that they can fix any issue before it becomes public knowledge
The Know says that when feedback covers all of the above aspects, the hotelier truly has the opportunity to use it as a tool for change. ‘General managers and their teams need so much more than just a couple of sentences and a number rating to be able to refine their offering and exceed ever-increasing guest expectations,’ Ryatt and Adams explain.
With all this, it’s no wonder The Know was recently selected as a Hospitality Partner to the luxury hotels, spas and venues under the Condé Nast Johansens collection. The publication’s hotel portfolio in the UK and Ireland will be the first to enjoy The Know’s service. ‘We are delighted to partner with Condé Nast Johansens,’ says Ryatt. ‘Their carefully curated list of hotels fits perfectly with our aim to ‘Make Great Hotels Exceptional’.’
Fiona Patrick, client services director of Condé Nast Johansens, shares The Know’s excitement. ‘It is the attention to detail that turns a hotel stay into an exceptional one,’ she explains. ‘In the strive for excellence, it is sometimes the little things that count for a great deal in the luxury hotel sector but can be missed. The Know, with their in-depth reporting and feedback, make sure we are all ahead of the game and exceeding expectations of the discerning guest.’