What hoteliers need to know about attracting Baby Boomers

Over the past few years, marketing companies have been focusing their efforts on attracting the Millennials.

With so much attention on Millennials, the former largest generation, the Baby Boomers, have been placed on the back burner when it comes to marketing. As a hotelier, one cannot overlook this still-important generation group.

The Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are still spending money and they are still traveling. Boomers are responsible for 80% of travel spending and spend over $150 billion a year on travel.

Though Millennials are the future, Baby Boomers still play an important role in travel spending and hoteliers should work to attract more Boomers to their rooms. There are specific ways to effectively market to Baby Boomers, but first hoteliers must understand the qualities and needs of this target audience.

Over one-quarter of Australia's population are Baby Boomers. With such a large population available, hoteliers should understand what the Baby Boomers want. Understanding the characteristics of Baby Boomers will help hotels market to them more effectively.

  • One of the most important things to remember about Baby Boomers is that they are not “old” and actually see themselves as being forever young.
  • Baby Boomers can also be just as tech savvy as Millennials so don’t underestimate their connection to technology. That being said, Boomers still value face-to-face interaction more than other generations.
  • As opposed to their parents, Baby Boomers see travel as a necessity, not a luxury.
  • Boomers are also willing to spend more for luxury and convenience.
  • Another unique attribute to Baby Boomers is their focus on family. Taking family trips and connecting with their loved ones is something they hold dear.
  • Baby Boomers are fans of active relaxation. This means, instead of lounging by a pool to relax, they prefer activities like golfing, hiking, massages, and wine tasting tours.
  • There is also the idea of the “Bucket List” that is unique to Boomers. They are looking for great experiences and memories to create, so risk and adventure are high on their list.

Being authentic in your message is necessary to attract them to your hotels. Don’t oversell the luxury of your rooms or the surrounding area of your hotel or use cliches because Baby Boomers will see through them and look elsewhere.

Also, Boomers like to associate with people like themselves so reflect your Baby Boomer-friendly environment in your ads by displaying inclusive photos and copy on your site and social media.

Because Boomers value family, make your hotel copy and social media posts multi-generational. Show them something that’s fun for the 50+ crowd as well as their grandchildren.

Although Boomers are tech savvy, having an easy booking process and making communication with your hotel simple will definitely woo them into choosing a room in your hotel. According to Hospitality Marketing, one of the most important things to remember is to keep your marketing campaigns simple. Appeal directly to the Boomers’ wants and needs and show them what your hotel has to offer without extra fluff and pizazz.

Once you understand the Baby Boomers and use your knowledge to market to them effectively, your hotel will benefit from this valuable generation segment.




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Mystery Shopping in the Digital Age

It is every customer experience business leader’s worst nightmare; a customer service representative engaged poorly with a customer, who then recorded the encounter and made it public. In today’s digital landscape, going viral can literally boost or doom your business in a matter of hours. How can companies proactively mitigate their risk to these viral situations in an omni-channel world where customers can reach out via chat, email, phone, or even social media? The answer lies in a quality monitoring tool called Mystery Shopping.

Mystery Shopping has evolved tremendously as the interactions with customers have evolved. Moving away from the traditional brick and mortar interaction, Mystery Shopping can now be performed across any of the channels in order to identify specific areas of opportunity and mitigate risks through real-time feedback on specific scenarios that your agents may face. There is some confusion that Mystery Shopping would just replace a Quality Monitoring program, but the most effective solutions use the Mystery Shopper Tool to achieve targeted needs.

Working hand-in-hand with a traditional Quality Monitoring program, here are three needs a company may have that would be fulfilled from a Mystery Shopping program.

Immediacy: While quality monitoring provides an overview of how a customer experience program is performing, mystery shopping allows companies to receive real time diagnostics and provide immediate feedback to agents. This helps to proactively prevent issues rather than coaching to them once they have occurred through a quality check. With many conversations between brands and consumers taking place in public places, being able to immediately identify and correct customer experience issues is paramount in a digitally dominated customer experience world.

Consistency: Even the best contact centers face unhappy customers. As customers begin to contact customer service with more complex issues, making sure agents are skilled and adept at handling each of the situations with consistency no matter who answers the phone, email, chat, post or tweet is crucial. Mystery shopping allows us to control the wide variety of scenarios that are presented to agents, so we can use the quality data to determine areas of weakness in product, process or protocol and test that specific skill until we are confident in the consistency demonstrated across agents, channels, and situations. 

Specifics Risks: In industries with critical compliance needs, such as transportation, finance and healthcare, customer interactions regularly present customer service teams with regulatory risk. Whether customers are contacting agents through phone, email, chat, or social media, mystery shopping can provide the ability to test agents’ readiness to comply with any specific regulation mitigating the risk of compliance related fines when agents are communicating with customers. Girl Friday Solutions believes that a Mystery Shopper overlay program can help mitigate the risk of fines.

Mystery shopping is a great way to obtain a reality check and ensure continuity between the variety of channels that customers use to engage with brands. The smartest companies adopt a view of end-to-end customer service, that includes an omni-channel approach so that all parts of the customer service machine are working well and working together.

Are you getting the best customer experience metrics? Are you looking for mystery shoppers? Contact us to find out more.


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What Today’s Millenial Business Traveler Wants from their Hotel

Gone are the days of traditional, Mad Men-esque business travel – no more chain smoking on airplanes, hired car services, or flavourless hotels booked by the secretary. With a simple swipe of the screen, our nation’s Millennials have transformed business travel. They’re now the biggest portion of America’s Labor Forceand they’re traveling for business more than any other group before them. Business travel is here to stay, of course – but the How and the Who has changed.

According to MMGY Global’s Portrait of Business Travelers, Millennials are traveling for business more frequently (averaging 7.7 business trips in 2016) than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, and the frequency of their business travel is expected to continue increasing. This is great news for the hospitality industry, as long as leaders, managers, and guest service agents pay attention and adapt to the different behaviours, desires, and spending habits of Millennial business travellers.

What do Millennials Want?

Major hotel chains are fully aware of this valuable audience and have created new looks to cater to Millennials’ tastes, with brands like Moxy by MarriottGLo by Best Western, and Canopy by Hilton, which are designed to offer a stylish, boutique hotel experience. They’ve also engaged in years of client interviews and focus groups, and what they found is not so surprising. Yes, this traveling generation does love a cool lobby, but the top driver for guest satisfaction is still a high-quality room and easy check-in. With, of course, some Millennial-essential amenities.

1. Digital Convenience

This should not come as a surprise: Millennial business travellers love technology, and digital convenience is high on their priority list. Free hotel WiFi has become a necessary amenity with the Millennial generation, which means they will typically choose hotels that have free WiFi over hotels that may have a better location, but no wireless internet.

With WiFi comes a plethora of devices that need charging. How many devices, exactly? Research completed by Toni Stoeckl of Marriott’s Distinctive Select Brands has shown that the average Millennial business traveller brings five devices that need to be charged. This makes the availability of outlets and USB plug options more important than traditional perks such as pay-per-view or cable.

In addition, Millennials grew up with intuitive design, where user experience is of utmost importance. This means that they should be able to find and operate light switches, outlets, remotes, blinds, and curtains seamlessly and intuitively.

2. Mobile Guest Service

The favourite and most used device of all travellers today is the smartphone. The majority of Millennials like to use their phones (in tandem with brand and industry apps) to select rooms, check in, order food, or find nearby hotspots. The use of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and social media hashtags allow peers to share their recommendations for the hotel and the area surrounding it, making mobile “the concierge for the social age.” Online reviews are also important –the online sphere is a big way that Millennials voice their pleasure and displeasure. While every facet of a hotel does not need to operate via mobile, if you want your hotel to be relevant with today’s business traveller, having a social and mobile presence is of utmost importance.

3. “Bleisure” Is a Real Thing

According to Expedia Media Solutions, “bleisure” now accounts for 43% of all business trips. For those unfamiliar with the term, “bleisure” – or “workcation” – is the blending of a business with leisure, work with vacation. It’s typically achieved by extending one’s stay by a few days, and perhaps inviting a significant other or one’s family to join. Not surprisingly, the concept of bleisure is strong with Millennials – they are 62% more likely to extend their business trips than their older counterparts. According to the same report, a business trip can serve as inspiration for a future leisure trip, too. This means it’s important for your hotel to stand out a little – drab office parks or poor guest service will not exactly beckon potential leisure.

4. A Personalized Experience

If the ever-increasing popularity of Airbnb has taught us anything about Millennials, it’s that they appreciate travel experiences that feel “localized.” They don’t necessarily want to walk into a hotel that looks like all the others; they desire a touch of authenticity and realness. Radisson’s Millennial-focused hotel brand, Radisson Red, achieved this by commissioning local artwork to help create a personalized ambiance reflective of each hotel’s location. Small touches like this add some character and make the hotel feel less “cookie-cutter.” If the hotel promotes local flavour and makes an effort to connect guests with the gems of the neighbourhood – bars, restaurants, or area tours – it can help the Millennial business traveller feel more connected, and make your guest services stand out.

What is important to take away here is that Millennials aren’t so complicated when it comes to their business traveling needs. They still want easy check-in, great guest service, a quality room, and a good location. But little details like free WiFi, digital conveniences, and local touches can go a long way with this generation. The best approach is to concentrate on adding some millennial-driven benefits that maintain universal appeal, and to always make sure your brand is visible in the social sphere. Neither business travel nor Millennials are going anywhere any time soon, and that’s great news for those who can adapt.


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Mystery shopping in an omnichannel world

Mystery shopping as a research methodology continues to stand the test of time and for good reason: Properly-designed programs deliver corporate-side stakeholders with line-of-sight analytics across their organisational hierarchy in near real time with the ability to prioritse resources for improving customer experience delivery with pinpoint accuracy.

While mystery shopping has most often been applied in a targeted or siloed manner and focused on the operational execution in select customer channels, Second to None views 2018 as the year this research methodology becomes widely adopted as an omnichannel strategic tool within the domain of customer journey mapping as brands recognize the need to design a journey map and build out an enterprise-level solution to evaluate all phases of the customer experience.

Broad consumer adoption and increasing preferences for e-commerce, online customer interactions and digital communications have created an unprecedented shift in consumer expectations – one in which our experiences with a brand should be met equally well whether in-person, online or over the phone.

Peak-performing omnichannel mystery shopping programs measure and report on a host of key distinct touchpoints within the context and lens of a fully integrated journey map:

 Omnichannel mystery shopping | The channels


Owned sites

Mystery shopping is exceptionally good at measuring site-level ability to deliver along key operational standards, including location cleanliness, appearance, customer greeting, staff helpfulness, speed of service, adherence to protocols, product/merchandise knowledge, asking for the sale and thanking the customer, among others. 

Partner/franchise sites

In addition to measures typically important to owned sites, partner or franchise locations can be assessed on compliance to signage, marketing, pricing, displays, associate perception of your brand, how your brand is mentioned/positioned among alternatives and whether it is portrayed in a positive manner. 



Key metrics to monitor include site access and rendering across device types, ease of site navigation, ability to locate products,evaluating the path-to-purchase, ease of checkout, order confirmation,out-of-stocks, time or days elapsed until delivery, condition of package upon delivery and ease of returning/exchanging product via shipping or in-store. A common iteration of e-commerce mystery shopping is the execution of a BOPIS measurement program – the full cycle of buying online and picking up in-store.

Messaging apps, chat, e-mail

Brand-driven digital communications through mobile apps, online chat and e-mail are fertile ground for extracting customer experience insights through mystery shopping. As more brands adopt direct-to-consumer strategies for nurturing highly personalized customer relationships, companies overlooking this channel as part of their mystery shopping strategy may easily put brand equity at risk. 

On the phone

Contact centre

Customer interactions with contact centres often represent prime opportunities to strengthen the customer relationship through agent ability to answer questions and navigate a path toward optimal issue resolution. Customers typically reach this channel while interacting with a brand’s e-commerce site or after an in-store transaction, amplifying the importance of measuring wait/hold times, agent friendliness and knowledge, addressing the customer’s need on their first call and the speed with which issues are resolved. Dismissing the importance of contact centre mystery shopping creates vulnerability in a solid understanding of experience delivery across all touchpoints. 

The challenges

Brands with a desire to measure and continually improve the omnichannel customer experience often face headwinds early on in attempting to internally identify who owns the customer experience at each touchpoint, where the CX ownership handoffs exist, then arriving at agreement around the priorities and standards of measurement. Navigating through this requires CX champions from the highest level of the organisation, with an ability to advocate, articulate and champion cross-channel mystery shopping in a manner that can cascade downward and throughout the organisation. 

 As with brand-side operational execution, the design of mystery shopping programs across disparate channels and customer touchpoints demands diligent planning and a research partner with the seasoned leadership, nimble project management resources, technology framework and analytical capacity to reliably administer a program at-scale. 

The benefits

Omnichannel shopping programs developed to be adaptive and evolutionary in nature and initially designed through an internal collaborative framework will enjoy long-term organizational support. Aligning study design to assess and uncover the critical metrics reflective of the paramount customer experience elements and then leveraging a broad set of analytical tools, including key drivers, predictive analytics, sales linkage and text/sentiment insights, allows stakeholders across the organisational hierarchy to understand the story in the data, communicating priorities in real-time, affect positive change and continually enhance the customer experience. 

Insights are verifiable and robust as each shopper completes multiple shops throughout their journey across each channel touchpoint. The shopper-research provider rapport is much like that of a customer community, wherein these shoppers participate over a longer time span and throughout a detailed set of interaction scenarios. 

Progressive mystery shopping organizations will also be able to assist with your customer surveys as well. This simplifies the steps needed to create a 360-degree view of your customer experience gathered via marketing surveys, operational measures and journey evaluations. Your supplier should be apt to feed all data streams into the same dashboard for convenience. 

As we witness high-performing brands embracing omnichannel mystery shopping as a much broader, integrated, cross-organisational journey map research tool in order to leverage the unique quantitative insights these measures provide, this holistic perspective is viewed as a critical means to informing continued brand relevancy, the protection of brand equity and the ability to outperform the competition.


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Using Mystery Shopping to Increase Profit in the Hospitality Industry

A customer’s point of view and perceived levels of service are critical to increasing profit in the Hospitality industry. How can your team ensure customer expectations are being met all while achieving brand standards? Sending in a mystery shopper acting as a customer, your company gains the knowledge to react and focus resources on the priorities of your clientele.

Mystery shopping can have both immediate and long-term benefits depending on how an organisation utilises the results and reporting. Keeping in mind any shop program is a snapshot in time, they are most impactful at expanding insights when partnered with results from guest satisfaction programs already in place within your organisation. 

A professional mystery shopper will experience your property without pre-conceived notions impacting the evaluation of your business. The unbiased reviews provide your organisation the opportunity to clearly understand your customer’s perspective on daily operations in a specific moment in time. Shop programs are an inexpensive method to hear which “wow” factors have a substantial impact on your guest’s perception and loyalty. This additional source of professional feedback gives executives’ confidence in their strategic initiative decisions regarding levels of service to meet the company’s brand promise.

Trained feedback allows leadership to make confident and educated decisions about: 

- Implementing best practices in service and daily operations

- Refining levels of service to maximise your competitive advantages

- Confirming the integrity of employees, procedures, internal controls and safety issues. 

- Training efforts to reinforce top notch service, as well as correct weaknesses in an operation

- Increasing your customer’s intent to return rate and recommend 

The concept of a shop program is also a powerful motivational tool for employees. The thought of a mystery shopper checking in at any time encourages the staff to be more likely to provide excellent customer service to each and every customer knowing that they may be evaluated.

Benefits your team will gain with an effective mystery shopping program:

- Learning a client’s impression of the property and tangible products

- Understanding the value and quality perception of your customers

- Insight into employee interaction when management is not present and how staff attitudes positively or negatively affect your business 

- Monitoring success of training in place to yield a turn on investment

An ongoing mystery shop program provides the benefit of invaluable information with regard to how your business is functioning as a whole. Implementing a shop program enables the collection of 1st hand data on how to move your business forward and can evolve with your business to meet changing needs of your company and your customers.

Mystery shopping is a valid tool as part of any overall strategy formed to gain insight into the customer experience that is difficult to get in any other way. Mystery Shopping is a valuable stand alone tool, but when coupled with your guest and employee survey data, its value grows exponentially as you now have a full picture of cause, affect and results. Implementing a program that correlates customer satisfaction to other key measures enhances your organisation’s ability to increase their top and bottom line.  

For more information on how a mystery shopping program can help increase your business, visit


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Using Mystery Shopping results to motivate employees

Some employees may look at Mystery Shopping as a bane rather than a useful training tool. However, the purpose of a mystery shopping program is to help staff and ultimately the company to provide quality service to customers. Is there a way in using mystery shopping results to motivate employees?

The cause of staff members seeing the program as a bane may be due to various factors. Maybe a manager does not explain why they failed. Instead the manager only tells the staff that they failed. Failure without reason, will not result in improvement it will result in frustration.

Though sometimes tricky, the results from a mystery shopping report can be used to motivate staff to perform better. Which will help in the overall result

Can Using Mystery Shopping results to motivate employee work?

Communicate and explain

It’s a vital part of any business and/or company. Communication is key for smooth operation. If a staff member failed an evaluation, they need to understand why.

The manager needs to sit down with the staff and explain the areas in which they performed below par. Allowing them to understand the quality of service that the company is looking for. The staff member would also need to understand how to work towards providing better service and which methods would work best.


Staff need to receive some recognition for the good work that they do. A pay cheque is all and well and good, though, being told that you have done a good job is more intrinsic.

This should also be explained and communicated to them as to why they did well. Noting the positive points and what the staff did right. Again, it is always important to note the quality of service that the company is after.

Slow steady improvement

When it comes to providing service, it is often times a mix of selling skill, attitude, social aptitude and training. That’s a lot to take into account. One cannot discount on any of the factors mentioned.

When it comes to behavioural changes, adults often find it hard to recondition themselves to a new way of doing things.

Staff members need to be allowed time to improve and not be expected to perform above standards immediately, in any area that is being evaluated. If a staff member is weak in greeting customers, maybe they can spend a month working on this area specifically. Moving from smiling in acknowledgement of the customer to greeting them in a more personalised manner. It may take some time, however the results would be seen in the long run.

Provide Intrinsic Value to The Staff

As people, we look for value. Companies look to providing value and quality service to their customers. This is done through the staff. Although, staff also need value in their work.

For example, allowing staff to develop their skills over time would provide intrinsic value. If a staff member is shy and can find it difficult to greet customers or even attend to customers, over time and with training, the staff member may get better. This would translate to their personal behavioural improvement in social skills. Giving them more intrinsic value in character development.

There are many other ways to use the results to help the morale of a staff or team. A team lunch or small gifts – for good results can be used as well.

Do you think that Mystery Shopping could help your company? Contact Girl Friday Solutions at


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