My Forrester Groundswell Awards (Submission)
Global Listening in Hospitality – Managing Online Reputation and Customer Service
A top global hotel chain and a leader in Europe, Accor is present in 90 countries with over 145,000 affiliates. With 4,100 hotels and close to 500,000 rooms, the group’s various brands offer several options to suit their guests during theirs stays, should they be traveling for business or pleasure.
Over 5,000 opinions are published each month about Accor’s different brands on sites like Booking.com or Tripadvisor. In a period of economic recession, Accor decided to focus on customer satisfaction and quality of service as an effective and cost-efficient way to help increase the bottom line.
The company approached Synthesio with a desire to:
- Establish one centralized platform to learn what customers are saying about both Accor’s and competitor’s hotels – a total of around 12,000 hotels worldwide.
- Provide hoteliers with an in-depth monitoring platform to understand their specific hotel’s strengths and weaknesses, and establish guidelines for taking action on social media content.
For Yves Lecret, Novotel’s marketing director in France, the main goal was being able to “identify the root of a problem at its source, in order to be able to fix it as quickly as possible”.
Short term goal -‐> Raise Awareness and Measure Customer Satisfaction
Run a pilot on a few hotels and raise brand managers’ and hoteliers’ awareness on the importance of social media data. Build custom KPI’s (see below) to measure customer satisfaction.
Mid term goal -‐> Identify Best Practices
Use this information to identify which hotels were faring better than others, and compare the hotels among themselves. Implement social media data in Accor internal monitoring system.
Long term -‐> Improve Customer Satisfaction
Identify problems, and improve Accor’s online image and reputation. Give hoteliers guidelines on how to respond online and increase customer satisfaction and brand awareness.
In 2008 when the project began, Synthesio performed a first audit of the brand’s reputation and
- Topics discussed by web users are similar to customer comments collected through other
channels (on site questionnaires, customer satisfaction surveys) but sentiment differs.
- Customers use review websites to give an objective comment on their stay
- Online reviews could give a representative understanding of the reputation of the brand for a
certain population of customers (tourism trips rather than business trips).
- For Yves Lecret, Novotel’s marketing director in France, “Synthesio’s analysis of unstructured
data offers a more global view of the brand’s online reputation”
The brand decided to put into place an ongoing monitoring service to complement their regular
customer satisfaction data and raise brand awareness on social media.
Within the Accor group, the Novotel brand has seen numerous benefits resulting from their global web monitoring and analysis including:
- Improved Reputation & Customer Satisfaction: The volume of positive feedback has increased by 55% in just 1 year, while the number of negative comments has stagnated.
- Increased Sales: The improved reputation and satisfaction have played a vital role in their double-digit growth in online sales.
- Rapid Detection of Problem Hotels: Identifying hotels with bad reputation and alerting hoteliers of the importance of customer satisfaction, while establishing company-wide processes for improvement.
- Rapid Insight into Strengths & Weaknesses: Accor has direct access to the latest data, empowering them with the ability to understand at a glance the levels of negative and positive comments within each hotel and each category such as price, comfort, etc.
- Better Understanding of the Market: Accor has been able to utilize the analyzed data to extract valuable insight into their consumers’ psyche – likes, dislikes, wants and needs – with regards to each hotel, and quickly identify and resolve customer issues, which used to take far longer to understand, if at all. One example Yves Lecret gave was: “we identified a problem with guests’ room keys being de-magnetized by their smartphones. We reported this problem to our supplier who was able to make the technical changes necessary to correct this issue.”
- Internal Incentive Program: Thanks to Synthesio’s continuing flow of online public banter, Accor has been able to set up a rewards system and training program, educating hoteliers on the importance of customer satisfaction, and encouraging each hotel to engage in online conversations with their consumers to improve their reputation.
Other Takeaways Include
1 - Start Small, Think Big
We started Accor’s project on a small set of hotels in the idea of proof testing our service to implement it globally. Ongoing close communication with the Accor team during the first months of the project made it possible to build a powerful tool, suitable for all types of social media needs.
2 – Get Commitment From Internal Teams
The corporate team at Accor worked closely with Synthesio to define the service and customize it to their needs. They largely promoted the service internally, meeting with each brand director globally and presenting results.
3 –Keep it Simple
When working on global projects like this, there is a tendency to build complicated processes to match everybody’s needs. At Synthesio, we spent a lot of time to compile the needs, and understand the different uses of the product in order to build user-friendly platforms that are easy to set up and to maintain.
Synthesio created a hybrid tool & human-analysis approach specifically designed for tracking the online reputation of 12,000 of Accor’s and competitors’ hotels worldwide within 8 languages, aimed towards marketing and operations directors for each of the different brands.
Three customized approaches were created to cater to various levels within Accor’s enterprise:
- Corporate Marketing: 1 global dashboard with all online data pertaining to all Accor and competitor brands worldwide.
- Brand Marketing & Operations Directors per Country: 40 dashboards with country-specific data for all Accor and competitor hotels.
- Hoteliers: 4,000+ dashboards with detailed data within over 30 topics & subtopics of concern – such as pricing, comfort, etc. – for each individual Accor hotel and its top competing hotels located within the geographic vicinity.
During the first 3 months of the project, Synthesio first identified Accor and competitor hotels to monitor for each country and defined custom KPIs and dashboards for each levels of Accor management. We then defined 30 topics and sub-topics to monitor and analyze in partnership with the customer service department.
For 1 year following, Synthesio monitored 1,000 hotels worldwide in English, French, and German. We ran a pilot on 2/3 brands to test and optimize the service for brand managers and hoteliers. The corporate marketing did “a social media tour” to present the service to each country and raise there awareness on the importance of social media data.
Worldwide Implementation (Ongoing)
Synthesio now monitors 4,000 hotels worldwide in 8 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, and Chinese.
Accor decided to implement this service on a larger scale in order to:
– Have a homogeneous set of data for each brand and country
– Empower each hotelier with the ability to efficiently identify and manage their hotel’s online reputation, while keeping a close eye on the competition
All Accor hotels are now monitored and results are integrated into Accor’s internal market research system.
Accor worked on defining guidelines for hoteliers and work with content providers such as Tripadvisor to provide more customer reviews on their own websites.
Synthesio developed custom KPI’s and scores to measure customer satisfaction. Some custom KPI’s include:
– Customer satisfaction index and evolution over time (Takes into account the volume of positive
and negative data published on the topic)
– Hotels’ score on review websites (all out of 10)
– Global brand overview (sentiment analysis across all sites for all hotels)
– Hotel search (the ability to search for keywords within all comments from the Synthesio
– Top and flop hotels (an automatic ranking of the Top 5 and Bottom 5 in terms of guest sentiment)
Automated monitoring to control at site level and hotel level that all reviews are collected Our team is alerted whenever a change appears on the content harvested.
On a regular basis, quality project leaders work on a sample of data previously analyzed by
researchers and confirm the quality of the data set.
On each dashboard, the client (hoteliers or brand managers) can alert Synthesio of a wrong
classification (topic, sentiment).
Main Challenges – Data Extraction
Synthesio had to put into place a system that can:
– Identify reviews on specific hotels even when the name of the hotel is not mentioned
– Group reviews mentioning the same hotel on different websites
– Identify hotel scores on review websites
On the client side, the main challenge was involving internal departments in the process. The internal teams’ awareness was improved by initiating rewards and training programs to complement the tracking of hotels’ online reputations to motivate their employees for “their” brands and to train employees on how to better respond to online comments.
Innovations in Global Listening for Hospitality
- One comprehensive reputation score – Booking sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, etc. have different rating systems, which are not created equal. To simplify and make a consistent comparison between different review sites, Synthesio created a custom system that unites all scores together and calculates an overall reputation score for each hotel. Hotel managers at an individual hotel level are able to identify which hotels are faring better than others, compare the hotels among others, and respond online quickly to increase customer satisfaction and brand awareness.
- A complete view of customer data – Moving in the direction of next-generation marketing research and fully embracing the spirit of One Voice of the Customer programs, Synthesio integrates offline and online data, structured and unstructured, in order to have a complete view of what Accor’s guests expect and experience when staying at their hotels, providing them with a more complete, centralized view to better understand how to make their stay more enjoyable. This alignment of social and offline data allowed Synthesio to initially discover that topics discussed by web users are similar to customer comments collected through other traditional channels (on site questionnaires, customer satisfaction surveys), but the sentiment differs. We also are able to detect negative comments immediately, online or offline, as well as what topic they pertain to and exactly which hotel.
- International coverage – This is the first time a hotel chain has monitored its hotels’ reputation in 40 countries and 8 languages concurrently, synchronizing online reputation efforts at a global level. Ensuring the buy-in of each level was crucial for us, so we started small but thought big. Running a pilot allowed us to raise brand managers’ and hoteliers’ awareness on the importance of listening and responding via social media, as well as having customized KPIs for measuring a complete view of customer satisfaction before, during, and after a guest’s stay.
Synthesio is a global, multi-lingual Social Media Monitoring, Research and Engagement company, utilizing a powerful hybrid of tech and human monitoring services to help Brands and Agencies collect and analyze consumer conversations online. The result is actionable analytics and insights that provide an accurate snapshot of a brand and helps answer the ultimate questions – how are we really doing right now, and how can we make it better.
Founded in 2006, the company has grown to include analysts who provide native-language monitoring and analytic services in over 30 languages worldwide.
Brands such as Toyota, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Accor, Orange Telecom and many others turn to Synthesio for the data they need to engage their markets, anticipate and prepare for emerging crisis situations, and prepare for new product or new campaign launches.
Accor, the world’s leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe, is present in 90 countries with 4,200 hotels and over 500,000 rooms. Accor’s broad portfolio of hotel brands -‐ Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, Adagio, ibis, all seasons, Etap Hotel, Formule 1, hotelF1 and Motel 6, and its related activities, Thalassa sea & spa and Lenôtre -‐
provide an extensive offer from luxury to budget. With 145,000 employees worldwide, the Group
offers to its clients and partners nearly 45 years of know-‐how and expertise.