A Culture of Yes: How 21c Museum Hotels Personalizes the Customer Experience and Closes the Loop

By: Clarabridge Team

July 22, 2015

Tags:
CEM Programs
CEM Solutions
customer experience
customer experience management

At a time when many hotel guests are victims of ‘survey fatigue,’ receiving too many surveys with no real incentive to fill them out, one hotel brand is breaking the mold.

21c Museum Hotels is a brand of luxury hotel accommodations that combine contemporary art with Southern hospitality for an award-winning hotel experience in Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas and North Carolina.  A winner of the Clarabridge CXC Innovation Award, 21c excels at closed-loop handling. By following up directly on guest feedback to create a more personalized experience, they give their guests a reason to fill out their surveys.

With a culture of YES, 21c makes sure guest feedback does not sit untouched. Survey data impacts everything they do, from staffing to design improvements in guest rooms.

In previous years, 21c received a noticeable number of guest surveys stating that the counter space in the bathrooms was insufficient for fitting toiletries comfortably next to the sink. Based on this feedback, the company created an action plan to renovate the guest bath design. They installed sinks with more counter space, as well as refreshing the overall bathroom space.

During the remodel, they also found ways to accommodate their guests’ needs until the renovation was complete. When a guest provided feedback about lacking vanity space as well as about bed comfort, they entered those comments into her guest profile. When she returned a year later, she checked in to find an extra luggage stand placed in her bathroom and an extra memory foam cushion on the bed. No one needed to point these things out to her, she knew the team had listened and followed through with a fix to make her stay even better the second time around. Upon checking out she stated on her survey, “This process of listening to my feedback and making the changes that were possible was the nicest thing ever! Thank you!”

Creating a culture of “YES” would not be possible without buy-in from the entire 21c Museum Hotels team. For example, housekeepers and bell/valet teams are regularly recognized if guests mention their exceptional service in survey responses. Management teams share the feedback with everyone so teammates can see how they impact guest satisfaction. This empowers teammates to provide a superior guest experience. For example, when a guest was staying with his young son at their Louisville hotel, he shared the following: “My 4-year-old walked up to one of the housekeeping staff asking about taking the red penguin home. The guy talked with him and gave him his red penguin pin and a high five. My child was on cloud nine.”

As a company, 21c Museum Hotels challenges teams at each property to follow-up on 100% of guest feedback, whether positive or negative. They include best practices and strategies for delivering a superior customer experience during teammate training programs, and everyone at the company leverages guest feedback to improve the services they offer. 21c Museum Hotels is on a mission to redefine the art of modern Southern Hospitality with a culture of YES; and it’s working.


Serina Aswani is Manager of Content Marketing and EMEA Marketing at Clarabridge. As part of her responsibilities, Serina serves as the voice of Clarabridge’s customers, highlighting customer stories and sharing proven best practices for implementing successful Customer Experience Management programs. Serina also oversees content marketing strategy and PR for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. She is responsible for establishing Clarabridge’s position as an industry thought leader across EMEA. Serina holds a M.S. in Commerce, specializing in Marketing and Management, as well as a B.A in French and Studio Arts, from the University of Virginia. Read more from Serina on Twitter at @SerinaAswani

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