The Inaugural Boutique Hotel Guest Experience Awards were held at 2017 Boutique and Lifestyle Hotel Summit 2017 in London on May 22 at The Montcalm Royal London House. The awards were open to any UK or international boutique, lifestyle or hybrid hotel, and winners in 9 categories were announced, as well as winners for Best Overall UK Hotel and Best Overall International Hotel.
The BoHo Awards are the product of a collaboration between leading guest feedback provider, GuestRevu, online hotel news and networking resource Boutique Hotel News, and the world-renowned hospitality management institution Glion Institute of Higher Education.
|For those hotels that did not have a guest feedback system in place, the GuestRevu system was provided free of charge to entrants for the duration of the awards. Over 10 000 responses were received using GuestRevu alone. One of the questions asked of guests was "What sort of trip was this?" and these are the results.|
When the team set out to create the awards, they wanted to put together something unique in the industry. “The hotel sector has got a plethora of awards around the world from a variety of different angles and the majority, as far as I know, are judged by industry experts,” explains Piers Brown, CEO of International Hospitality Media, the company that publishes Boutique Hotel News and Serviced Apartment News.
We just felt that awards that are meaningful, 100% transparent, different, promote best practice and recognition should ultimately be decided by that most important person in your hotel – the guest
“When Francine [of GuestRevu] and myself got together with Glion Hospitality School to look at doing some awards, we wanted to do them very differently,” said Piers at Monday night’s event. “We just felt that awards that are meaningful, 100% transparent, different, promote best practice and recognition should ultimately be decided by that most important person in your hotel – the guest.”
So, rather than being judged by professional critics or academics, the BoHos were awarded on the basis of a combination of aggregated verified guest feedback from review sites and booking engines worldwide, and direct guest feedback via questionnaires, collected over a period of two months. This data was then analysed and aggregated by students and faculty at the Glion Institute of Higher Education in the UK to provide a true illustration of the quality of the guest experience provided at each hotel. The winners were as follows:
UK Country and Coastal
|1 - 20 rooms||21 - 50 rooms||51+ rooms|
|Cedar Manor Hotel, Windermere, Cumbria||Glenesk Hotel, Edzell, Angus||Raithwaite Estate, Whitby, Yorkshire|
|1 - 20 rooms||21- 50 rooms||51+ rooms|
|The Abel Heywood, Manchester||The Draycott, London||The Lalit London|
|1 - 20 rooms||21 - 50 rooms||51+ rooms|
|Klaserie Sands River Camp, South Africa||Rivonia Bed Breakfast, South Africa||Hotel Indigo St Petersburg, Russia|
|Best Overall UK||Best Overall International|
|Cedar Manor Hotel, Windermere, Cumbria||Hotel Indigo St Petersburg, Russia|
“Each of the winners is very different and very unique, and that highlights the very best of the boutique and lifestyle hotel sector,” said Francine Heywood, Director Marketing and Sales at GuestRevu. Hence the necessity for direct feedback as well as online reviews when judging the awards.
“When we looked at the criteria for putting [the awards] together, we felt that although online reviews are crucial, they’re just not enough,” said Francine. “The boutique and lifestyle hotel sector is very much based on the unique experiences that you offer to your guests, and they differ depending on each hotel, and when I look at the entries that we’ve got, every one of them has something special and different to offer.”
|The question "How did you hear about us?" can give hoteliers guidance as to where marketing spend can be increased or decreased for more bookings. Data gathered from hotels using GuestRevu for the BoHo awards.|
“The online review categories that we see on sites like TripAdvisor, booking.com, or Facebook are very generic, and they cater for all of the different accommodation types around the world, and they don’t give you an opportunity to shine in what makes you unique. Therefore, as part of the reward process, we decided to combine online review data with direct guest feedback data.”
We're very excited – this means a lot more than any other award simply because it's from a guest’s point of view
The decision to base the awards off of the opinions of guests resonated well with hoteliers. “We're very excited – this means a lot more than any other award simply because it's from a guest’s point of view,” said Melissa Stoman, GM of the Draycott London, winner of the UK City 21 - 50 rooms category. “They [the guests] are the people we want to please and they are the people we want to hear from.”
|Of the over 10 000 responses collected by hotels using GuestRevu, 34% of guests said that they were repeat visitors.|
For those hotels that did not have a guest feedback system in place, the GuestRevu system was provided free of charge to entrants for the duration of the awards. “All hoteliers need to listen to their guests and working with GuestRevu is a way of doing this quickly and easily,” said Jonathan Kaye, Operations Director of Cedar Manor Hotel, winner of overall best UK hotel and winner of the UK Country and Coastal 1 - 20 rooms category. “We all think we know our businesses, but we rarely get to experience them from the guest’s point of view. Gaining feedback quickly and efficiently is an essential part of hotelkeeping.”