As a hostel owner or hostel manager, you're constantly trying to improve the backpacker experience. What do backpackers love about your hostel or city? What did they hate? You can get some of this from your online reviews, but those opinions tend to be the most vocal, and because of that you may be missing out on some really good feedback that will help you improve your hostel guest experience. Here are some tips for getting the best feedback from your backpackers:
Make the survey or question as short as possible
Nowadays, with so much noise in email and on social networks, people's attention span is short! Jump right to the point and don't make it long enough where they'll even think twice about responding.
Think about your objective
As with everything you do, you should always ask yourself - why? What are you trying to get out of this post check-out conversation? And the questions you ask should be directly related to that objective. You don't necessarily need to be laser focused on one particular thing, like "What did you think of our hostel's cleanliness?", although if you're trying to validate whether some changes you made in cleaning are working out and being noticed, then you could. A good place to start off might be "Time for honest feedback :). What did you love about your stay at the hostel? And if you were the owner, what would you improve?"
Think about the format
You don't necessarily need a survey. Sometimes an email is actually better, and you'll get much better response rates there too. If you want to collect lots of data and have it categorized in a spreadsheet for later, then a survey might be your best bet. Some good tools are Google Surveys and TypeForm.
Don’t ask "yes" or "no" questions
Instead of asking yes or no directly, give your guest more space to express themselves. Most of the time, you'll learn more in how they describe their positive or negative experience at your hostel than you could with a yes/no answer.
Don't ask double-barreled questions :)
This is when you ask two questions at once. If you present two questions at the same time, respondents won't know which one to answer -- and you'll always miss part of the answer you were looking for.
Share with your staff before sending
Before you send out the survey or email, share it with your staff. They're manning the front desk all day, talking and interacting with backpackers and might have immediate feedback on new things to ask about, and how to improve the questions you already set up. Best of all: people love contributing ideas and it gets your hostel staff involved in your hostel's growth :).
Put on your editor's hat!
Last thing: put on your editor’s hat. Check your email or survey for grammar and copy editing. You don't want to look ridiculous sending out a poorly written
Have questions or ideas regarding how you can get feedback from your hostel's backpackers and guests? I'd love to hear more about it, send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org