Most bed and breakfast, resort, and hotel owners want how their property is experienced by the typical guest.

This is where hospitality property evaluators or mystery shoppers can help.

So, what do hospitality property evaluators look for?

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson.

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What is a hospitality property evaluator or mystery shopper?

A hospitality property evaluator or mystery shopper is a person or people that are commonly used by hoteliers and retailers etc. to measure the quality of customer service, their products and service delivery in their physical presence.

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Hospitality property mystery shopper assignments are done at many of the finest chain and independent properties in the world. Properties can be large with hundreds of rooms or smaller boutique establishments.

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They usually consist of a one or two-night stay and the evaluation will normally include:

  • evaluating the reservation process

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  • valet parking (if applicable)

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  • check-in and check-out processes

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  • dining (meals at the property are usually included and involve visiting on-site restaurants and bars and getting room service-if applicable)

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  • The spa (if applicable)

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  • housekeeping

…and more

Hospitality mystery shopper reports consist of checklists and narratives.

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The checklists are straightforward but could contain hundreds of YES or NO questions.

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Narratives can be very long and detailed. It is not uncommon to submit narratives of upwards of 10,000 words for a three-night stay. The amount of writing depends on the length of stay and how many tasks a hotelier or innkeeper must complete.
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It is for this reason, that hospitality property mystery shops are scheduled to evaluators with a consistently high standard of reporting performance.
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Evaluators are professionals that build up their experience by taking on easier non-hotel assignments such as evaluating businesses over the phone, short shopping experiences and restaurants. As they foster their track record for doing great reports and proving themselves, they are assigned larger hospitality properties.

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The assignments are normally difficult and detailed.

What Do Hospitality Property Evaluators Look For? | Ep. #309

What will hospitality property evaluators cost?

There will be cost occurred, but the information gathered could well be worth the expenditure.

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The cost would include:

  • full reimbursement for all costs incurred on-site

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  • a moderate evaluator fee

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  • travel costs to and from the property

The evaluator is required to charge or pay for the full cost of the stay as a normal guest would do and reimbursement for the evaluation is paid after the final report. All itemized receipts have been submitted and approved.

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As the client, you can issue a mandatory rate cap on the stay, specify the dates the evaluation can take place and the room types available for booking.

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In most situations, an evaluator will book a room within 48 hours of being assigned the job and it will most likely be a refundable rate if one is offered at the property.

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This is protection against 11th-hour emergencies or rescheduled requests by the client.          

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Before the stay, the evaluator will be sent all the paperwork related to the job including the client objectives document and is required to print them so that nothing is missed during the stay. Missing something on the visit could result in the report being rejected.

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All interactions are to be recorded and narratives are written as quickly as possible after an interaction, so it is still fresh.

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Photographs are often a requirement and at times can be up to 100 photos. The images are digital and uploaded to the report.

What Do Hospitality Property Evaluators Look For? | Ep. #309

How they report

Hospitality property evaluators are required to be professional, take each assignment seriously and not look at them as a vacation.

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An experienced evaluator will fill out the checklists as they complete each task and write narratives as soon as possible.

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They are required to follow any or all guidelines strictly. If the instructions say to arrive between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm, evaluators have to arrive between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. If they say go to the pool and it is murky and cold, they still have to go to the pool. If they say do not order an appetizer, they do not order an appetizer. You as a client will have included these objectives for a reason.

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The reports need to be accurate and honest.

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What Do Hospitality Property Evaluators Look For? | Ep. #309

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If you are a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, as a bonus, I’m going to share a list of the primary categories and sub-categories for each area of a hospitality property inspection.

 

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In conclusion

Using a hospitality property evaluator or mystery shopper is definitely an effective tool to gain insight into your guest’s needs and improve in areas where your hospitality property might be lacking. It also helps in checking your employee’s ethics and efficiency.

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There are plenty of great secret shopping companies to choose from, so do a little research, ask other hoteliers and innkeepers who they use, question the companies until you feel comfortable and never sign up with one that makes you feel uncomfortable. The wealth of valuable information you can gain from a hospitality property evaluator is amazing and can go a long way toward improving your customer service.

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Have you ever used a hospitality property evaluator? What was your experience?

Let me know in the comments.

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What Do Hospitality Property Evaluators Look For? | Ep. #309

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We cover more on organizational structure in “The Guide to Owning & Operating a Hospitality Property – Successfully” book & course. You find more information at KeystoneHPD.com

 

You will have access to this episode for as long as you would like but if you would like to see all the bonuses you would have access to as a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, check out the short video in this episode post-show notes.

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What Do Hospitality Property Evaluators Look For? | Ep. #309

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In our next episode, I will be talking about Finding Success in Service.

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That’s it for today’s episode,

Until next time, have a fun day.

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If you haven’t done so yet, make sure up sign up for the INNsider Tips, say hi on social and join one of our groups. And make sure you get your free copy of the “How to Improve Your Hospitality Properties Success”.

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You can find all the links in the show notes.

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TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE HOSPITALITY PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT:

https://keystonehpd.com/what-do-hospitality-property-evaluators-look-for-309

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“The Guide to Owning & Operating a Hospitality Property – Successfully” course.

https://KeystoneHPD.com/Course

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..What Do Hospitality Property Evaluators Look For? | Ep. #309

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Did you get your copy of the “How to Improve Your Hospitality Properties Success” ebook?

KeystoneHPD.com/How-to-Improve-Your-Hospitality-Properties-Success

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Get Your INNsider Tips

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Join one of your private groups

https://keystonehpd.com/private-groups

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Say hi on social

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeystoneHPD

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/KeystoneHPD

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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/keystone-hospitality-development

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Listen to The Hospitality Property School PODCAST here

keystonehpd.com/hospitality-property-school-podcasts

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YouTube

https://youtu.be/kgGRd8rXsw4

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A Division of Keystone Hospitality Property Development

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