What are mystery checks in TUI hotels all about?
Elke C. Janssen: In the framework of our mystery checks, we check our holiday hotels based on a set of quality features. The checks are primarily carried out in hotels around the Mediterranean. We provide a list of around 2,500 questions to our checkers, covering any aspect of a hotel. We check ten categories, so-called outlets, from the hotel’s website via its reception all the way to the entertainment programme. Of course, most questions in the list relate to the rooms, restaurants and outdoor facilities, as these outlets are particularly important for the guests.
Are the checks carried out by “undercover” guests?
Janssen: The booking for the mystery checker is made as a regular TUI reservation. The checker therefore arrives incognito at the airport in the destination and is welcomed by the rep, just like any other guest. The checker then uses the same transfer services and is welcomed at the hotel like a regular guest, and the hotel staff have no clue as to who is checking in. What is special about our programme is that the checker will “lift the secret” at the end of the visit, and management will receive a presentation of the checker’s first impressions.
What are typical shortcomings frequently identified?
Janssen: Our mystery checkers pay a great deal of attention to the hotel staff’s behaviour and service orientation. They check how the staff solve problems and whether they also handle difficult cases in a sovereign manner, in particular in the event of complaints. Regarding markers such as paper tissues deliberately placed in hotel rooms, they accurately document whether and when these are removed by housekeeping staff. We also check direct contact with our guests. Check-out, for instance, may occasionally show some improvement potential. Although check-out is always friendly, it is quite common for staff not to ask the guests how they liked their stay and whether they would wish to provide some feedback.
Do mystery checks help improve quality?
Janssen: Mystery checks are part of our numerous quality measures and help the checked hotels work to remedy their shortcomings. We also offer local training programmes and detailed analyses. Thanks to our customer surveys, we know that our hotels deliver an average score of 8.6 on a scale from zero to ten, with ten being the highest grade “excellent”. We have a Net Promoter Score of more than 90 per cent for all TUI hotels around the world. This is a top result, and we can be very satisfied with this performance.