Interview: The Know

Martha Elwell By Martha Elwell
Uploaded 14 March 2018

How does The Know differ from other feedback services?

The key difference is, at The Know, we use real paying guests rather than hotel inspectors or reviewers who are compensated for their entire stay.  In addition, our guests stay longer so they often see more, and as they come with their partners, children, or even pets, the feedback encompasses a range of different points of view.   Each review consists of 60-70 questions and is based on qualitative written feedback, recommendations and suggestions as opposed to just ratings and tick boxes - no other feedback service in the market currently provides the same level of detail from paying guests. Our members (or Knowers) are reimbursed for one night of their stay if their reviews are sufficiently detailed and meet our quality standards, so they are incentivised to spend approximately one hour sharing their views.

Congratulations on your new partnership with Conde Nast Johansen's - how will this partnership and others like it help you build The Know?

We are delighted that our latest initiative is to partner with Condé Nast Johansens. Their carefully curated list of luxury hotels fits perfectly with the ethos of The Know and our aim to 'Make Great Hotels Exceptional.' Condé Nast Johansens' hotel partners truly understand it is often the little things that make a difference in the luxury hotel sector and information is key to continually exceed expectations of the discerning guest.


You have said that the aim of The Know is to 'make great hotels exceptional'. Have you seen this working in practice?

The very reason we started the business was because we saw an opportunity to feedback to luxury hoteliers in a structured way. It's often the smaller, but incredibly valuable, details that can really set a hotel apart.   Our recent, independent research showed that almost 60% of guests staying in luxury hotels rarely or never complete surveys following a stay.  Of those who do respond, 54% spend between two and five minutes completing their response with 43% spending less than two minutes.  When asked how much detail they usually provide in hotel guest surveys, 86% provide ratings only and minimal words.
When our hoteliers receive feedback through The Know, they are assured of detailed, qualitative written feedback.  This enables them to easily identify issues and to generate ideas by learning from our Knowers what they have been impressed by elsewhere.
With the British Hospitality Association (BHA) calling recently for more to be done to tackle fake and malicious reviews and provide greater transparency in current ratings systems, The Know is providing a worthwhile solution.


What feedback have you received from hoteliers about The Know?

They really like the level of detail and the structure we provide and, of course, they generate revenue through our paying guests!  Hoteliers also appreciate the additional value they receive from having access to an existing pool of experienced luxury travellers such as market insight, direct marketing opportunities and the ability to use our pool of Knowers for market research purposes prior to implementing a change in strategy.  Our dashboard allows our hotel partners to track progress over time, easily identify areas of concern and create their own action plans to really help turn the feedback we provide into real enhancements to the guest experience.


In what ways if any has The Know changed since launching?

The core product itself has remained relatively constant but the pipeline of future enhancements has changed significantly to allow us to provide a more holistic service to our partners. In an age where there are a diminishing number of trusted sources of information, hoteliers love one of our future developments, "The List", which is a publicly available list of the top performing hotels in each location based purely on survey results. As you can imagine, our Knowers are excited about this new feature too!


What's next for The Know?

Our official launch to hotel partners was at the Independent Hotel show in Nov 2017, so 2018 is all about building the brand and getting more luxury and boutique hotels on board.  Together with our Condé Nast Partnership and various other opportunities this year, we have great plans to significantly build our portfolio across the UK and beyond!


What are your long-term goals?

We are really excited for the future.  Ultimately our goals centre around our two distinct client groups - hotels and Knowers. We want to be the trusted advisor to guests globally in terms of the best hotels who have committed to continually improving and exceeding guest requirements. We also want to be the strategic partner to luxury and boutique hotels globally to allow them to meet these continually evolving needs.

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