Gaylord Hotels Taps Text Mining to Boost Guest Satisfaction - InformationWeek

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5/5/2008
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Gaylord Hotels Taps Text Mining to Boost Guest Satisfaction

How can you quickly make sense of text-based comments on thousands of customer surveys? Text analytics helped this mega-hotelier uncover hidden obstacles to customer loyalty.

These results were immediately shared with the general managers and senior staff of each hotel, and it wasn't long before the pilot app was put on a fast track for a production rollout (completed by January).

Faster time-to-analysis has been one of the biggest benefits of the text analytics app. It used to take Gaylord's service firm up to eight weeks to report aggregated monthly results. All Gaylord guests receive an e-mail link within 24 hours of their stay, and some 80,000 surveys were completed last year, for an average of about 220 per day. Surveys results are now collected and automatically analyzed on a nightly basis. Senior managers at each hotel now regularly review customer satisfaction dashboards for their property and they also have access to pre-built reports. The Rooms, Housekeeping, Food and Beverage, and Engineering departments at each property can track trends by week, month and quarter to monitor performance and gauge the impact of process improvements.

Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center
Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center

"We've looked at some of the issues around our check-in processes, and within weeks we saw some success tied to improvements made as a result of some of the questions raised by guests," says Bodoh.

Next on the agenda, Bodoh's team is adding the new Gaylord National property in Washington D.C. to the guest satisfaction application, and a separate application is being developed for meeting planners, as groups accounts for some 80 percent of Gaylord's overall business.

Text analytics has replaced the third-party service provider, which had employed four clerks to read and categorize surveys nonstop. Cost savings along will pay for the investment within four years, says Bodoh, but he adds that the real return will be in making an impact on customer satisfaction.

"If we can move our loyalty scores up with our guests, the repeat visits will substantially improve the value of our hotels and bring massive returns," he explains. "We didn't go into this project projecting returns. We simply saw it as a requirement of doing business in the hotel industry today."

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