Lonely Planet Writer

Hotels given guidelines on how fast they need to be to respond to guest queries

Just how long should hotel guests have to wait before having a right to complain about the service they are not getting? ALICE Consumer research has endeavoured to come up with some definitive answers for the growing online communications between guests and hotels.

In the future, guests could be making their online queries like this.
In the future, guests could be making their online queries like this. Image by Matt Bird

According to the hotel service innovator, the time frame on these issues for guests – and hotel staff  – are; 12 minutes for response to a text query, 26 minutes if the request is made via email and 27 minutes if correspondence is through social media.

The research was undertaken as an aid to hotels understanding how they can serve their customers better in an era when virtually instant communications through smartphone or social media are becoming the norm.

Alice’s findings came from an online survey of over 400 frequent travellers from across the USA at a Lodging Conference in Phoenix, Arizona last week. Alex Shashou, the co-founder and president of ALICE, said hotels had traditionally being graded according to how quickly they picked up a phone to respond to a query from a potential guest.

He said they had conducted the latest research because it was time the industry understood what response times should be like online. Mr. Shashou stated that with a widespread shift in communication to online, it behoved hotels to see how they were responding and processing this new form of business. The bottom line was that the same guest was making the inquiry – except through a different channel, he pointed out.