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Caution: Group leaders are the only ones given evaluations

By Ashley

On Wednesday I shared my pleasant experiences with staying at Hilton Grand Vacations in Orlando, Florida.  My husband and I felt very special by the way the employees always smiled, waved, and asked how our stay was.  It was clear that this organization knew what great guest service was and how to empower their employees to demonstrate it constantly.

Now I'm sure Hilton would love to hear my high appraisal of them through social media, travel websites, etc. because timely and accurate feedback of a facility's accommodations and guest service can be very helpful.  Some common problems all businesses run into with evaluations are lack of comments, the tendency to 'average out' responses, or even the need to please which results in higher marks than you deserve.

In the Christian conference service ministry, guest evaluations present one additional challenge that motel and hotels do not experience: Group leaders are the primary people responding, not the attendees.  Group leaders come from a different demographic than the attendees and so your sampling can be inaccurate.

How do you harvest clear and honest guest feedback?  (According to Steve Evans' hospitality in the conference service ministry blog series – topic #7)

Timing: The questions are best asked immediately after the experience. Such as: "How was your shower this morning?" "How was the beach this afternoon?" "How was the food this evening?"

Detail: Genius is in the details. Instead of just asking about the food, ask about the temperature of the food, cleanliness of the line, portions, seasoning, and appearance. Or ask about the particular menu items such as the bread, salad bar, meat loaf, pie, etc.

Quantity: Ask enough people from the group to get statistical accuracy. 1:10 is considered a statistical minimum.

Who asks: If someone who is clearly employed by the property is doing the survey, it will limit the response from many respondents. Using a third party or a volunteer, who makes it clear they are neutral, will enable people to speak freely about their experience.

At all of the properties in the Christian Retreats Network network, group leaders do receive a leadership evaulation to fill out, but we don't stop there.  We also send a guest evaluation to the leadership to forward to their attendees.  We understand that leadership and attendees need different evaulations because they are two different groups of people.  We also give attendees, our guests, the chance to give immediate feedback through QR codes located around the property.  So does your ministry or business seek the feedback of both leadership AND attendees?

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626