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How to improve your meetings

See how Denmark's second-largest hostel, with approx. 80,000 night stays each year, uses the feedback from their customers.

DANHOSTEL

“You cannot put a price on the concept of word of mouth. So the cheapest marketing we can do is to have happy and loyal guests.”

It is no secret that the reason we focus on customer loyalty is to get our guests to come back. They are the cheapest guests: they come back automatically, which means we do not have to spend a lot of money on marketing. And if we are really good, they recommend us to their friends, acquaintances and families. You cannot put a price on the concept of word of mouth. So the cheapest marketing we can do is to have happy and loyal guests.

Among other things, every week we work on the ratings which come through our own system. If there is anything relevant or something we can lay our hands on, based on the feedback we get, we consider whether any changes are required or errors need to be corrected. Otherwise, we take it on a monthly basis. We look at what general and bigger steps we can take: Is there anything relating to the staff? Do we need to train them to provide better service? Should they have better knowledge of Copenhagen or the local area? Also, if it is possible, do we need to check up on our own cleaning? Place ourselves under more careful scrutiny? We work on these slightly larger and perhaps more general changes at our weekly and monthly meetings with representatives from the various departments.

At the staff entrance, we have various graphs on our bulletin board, so that each department can see how things are going, how things have gone this past month, and how things were the previous month. Our staff pass through here every day, several times a day, so are always able to stay updated: “What needs to be done in my department? Is there anything in particular I need to be aware of? Do I need to help my colleagues, or help increase staff satisfaction among the customers?”

 
 

“Putting it at eye level makes it tangible and accessible. Each employee can accept it easily, although one might think initially that it is not a part of their job description.”

So we use it a lot and try to update it regularly, playing with the graphs so that the staff finds them interesting to look at, not just long paragraphs of text. In the beginning it definitely took some getting used to, while we experimented with some different graphs as well. But gradually it has become very tangible, I think – and now that it has become routine, it doesn’t take much to look at it when you enter, go to change or pick up a tenner for a soft drink. All you need to do is look to your left and see: “Oh, it is green this week – it looks promising.” Or if it is a different colour: “I must check the comments. Are the guests saying something we need to act on?”

The reason it is important to keep this customer loyalty information at eye level is that it may not be the first thing the employees think about when they come to work. They are thinking, “I am going to work to make some breakfast and serve it,” or, “I must clean some of the rooms/log in and reply to the e-mails we have received during the day.” Putting it at eye level makes it tangible and accessible. Each employee can accept it easily, although one might think initially that it is not a part of their job description. But in this way, we make sure that the guests’ loyalty becomes a focus area for all employees, no matter which department they work in.

Danhostel Copenhagen Amager wants all their guests to feel at home. To emphasise this, they have painted their manifesto in capital letters in the dining room: We’re your COPENHAGEN Family. WELCOME HOME! – The Staff