Training Top 125 Best Practice: Online Reputation Management Training at La Quinta Holdings, Inc.
As hotels continue to leverage smart device apps to engage with their guests, the human element and service concepts of hospitality can diminish in importance. In fact, hotel guests often have limited interactions with hotel team members. La Quinta Holdings, Inc., works hard to make each interaction with its hotel guests meaningful and exceptional. One of the company’s key tenets is providing exceptional guest experiences through sensing and responding to guests’ needs. La Quinta regularly hears from its guests that its team members are often the difference between an average stay and an exceptional stay at La Quinta hotels.
To reinforce these concepts, La Quinta developed a multifaceted Online Reputation Management training program focused on how delivering an exceptional guest experience affects the company’s opportunity to service even more guests. The key objectives included:
- Creating positive experiences
- Soliciting positive online reviews
- Performing effective service recovery
- Driving loyalty
- Increasing revenue
The blended training included Webinars, instructor-led training, videos, online training, and interactive PDFs. La Quinta took all of its Guest Experience representatives and general managers through various scenarios that emphasized the importance of delivering what guests need and even anticipating their needs based on the type of traveler they are: road warrior, business/leisure combination, or pure leisure. Participants practiced responding to specific guest needs via role-playing scenarios.
The training also focused on the impact of delivering a positive guest experience to protect and even enhance the online reputation of La Quinta hotels. Participants learned how La Quinta guests decide where to stay and the importance of positive online guest reviews. The company developed unique Trip Advisor cards and sent them to each hotel for Guest Experience representatives to hand to guests and ask for reviews. Through the training, Guest Experience representatives realized the importance of their jobs and the impact their interactions have beyond that individual guest. La Quinta team members have a hospitality heart, and they take pride in knowing they can positively impact the guest and the company as a whole through their laser focus on hotel guests.
La Quinta also trained its general managers on best practices for responding to online reviews. The training focused on the need to respond in a timely and professional manner to guests who express they’ve had a less-than-satisfactory experience and to thank and show appreciation for guests who sing La Quinta’s praises. Training provided general managers with key skills for interacting with guests in writing rather than in person, which was a significant shift for many La Quinta team members. And to help general managers craft personalized responses, La Quinta delivered an interactive PDF with multiple possible responses to the most common types of online reviews and posts. This tool helped general managers understand how to respond in ways that acknowledge guests’ feelings and make guests feel valued.
Following the training, La Quinta’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) was on track for the brand goal of 43.4.