Mystery Shopping the Luxury Hotel
Last week I checked into a high end hotel. When I checked out the next day, my bill + tips was $700. I don't have to pay for any of it. In fact, in addition to all charges being reversed, I am being paid a fee for completing the shop.
If you've ever considered shopping at the high-end level, there are definitely some things to take into account:
- Companies don't refund $700 in charges because they are nice. They are exchanging the value of these charges for detailed information.
- The level of detail required for this type of shop is unlike any other shop you could do. Gathering names are required, for example. My instructions were to keep repeating a scenario until I had a name, no excuses.
- It wasn't all fun and games. Much of my time at the hotel really was spent working. When I was not posing a scenario on an employee, I was usually working on my report.
- Don't get me wrong, I had a great time. But it's all about perspective. By great time, I mean I got a full night's sleep, enjoyed some wonderful food, and even spent a little time at the pool.
- I had to evaluate valet parking, the doorman, the bellhop, housekeeping, turn down service, the driver of the town car, the front desk, the operator, and several restaurant employees. Many of these evaluations had to be performed more than once: check-in AND check-out, the doorman each time I entered or exited, etc.
- I had to evaluate dinner, room service, the coffee bar and lunch. These were all in different venues at the hotel.
- Much of the report was yes/no questions, but each section did require commentary. Fortunately, the commentary was generally only required for negative responses. If the scenario was all positive, one or two sentences summarizing it were adequate.