The Key to a Better Rating? Better Team Cooperation!

Written by V. Tetour, R. Kubik

In the hotel business, first-class customer service and guest satisfaction always come first. In our study of a network of four- and five-star hotels, we learned that effective communication and cooperation among the client care and hotel operations teams play a large role in these. Exceptional customer service depends not only on the approaches of individuals, but also on their cooperation and a well-working team.

What’s So Interesting About Hotel Team Cooperation?

One key goal in the highly competitive hotel business is to get good guest ratings on sites such as A better rating improves a hotel’s chances at getting reservations, directly enhancing its revenue. Our study determined that one key to ensuring a high rating—and thus high guest satisfaction—lies in well-functioning teams. We learned just how important good hotel staff cooperation is for an exceptional guest experience during our sociomapping analysis of the teams on a private island in the Maldives—likely one of the world’s most luxurious resorts (learn more here)

This time around, we turned our sights to a place in the heart of Europe: the history-infused city of Prague. For a chain counting 22 hotels, we selected 15 of them, ranging from 25 to 90 rooms, and analyzed data on customers’ satisfaction with their services (roughly 300 guest ratings per month) along with data on the operations of the teams handling hotel operations and client care.

We divided up the hotels into three groups and monitored their operations for seven months. Specifically, we monitored the effectiveness of the hotel teams’ communication and cooperation. We measured how frequently and how well the staff communicated and shared key work information. We then visualized this data using sociomapping software built for precisely this purpose—identifying and improving important team relationships.

The visualization below shows the situation in one of the sociomapped teams. The blue-green area reflects the slightly below-average team functioning at the start of the study (the measurement depicts the effectiveness of team cooperation). The arrows, meanwhile, show which specific work relationships in the team work the least effectively. The selected teams could see this data and were also given room, via a sociomapping workshop, to take steps toward improvement. Improvement, for example, in how they shared information on key guests and on their satisfaction during their stays.

We randomly divided the 15 selected hotels into three groups of five hotels each. In the first group, we used sociomapping to perform an analysis of the effectiveness of team cooperation and then held workshops to improve communication and cooperation based on that analysis. For the second group, we only performed the sociomapping analysis of the effectiveness of cooperation (without intervention). And the last group only served as a control group. Throughout the seven months, we obtained and analyzed data from and observed the effects of the sociomapping and/or intervention.

Better Overall Rating and Team Communication

In connection with the sociomapping and the subsequent intervention, we managed to make team communication better and more efficient by 20% on average (from 9% to 43% in the monitored teams). The hotels’ ratings closely followed this improvement. They immediately improved by 5–12%. In absolute terms, the average growth in ratings was from 8.3 up to 9.0 points, but the largest jump and best outcome for sociomapping intervention was from 8.06 to 9.01 points.

What Sociomapping Showed Us

The visualization below is a good illustration of the improvement in a selected team. The team’s original configuration and effectiveness are shown on the left. The right shows the situation after the sociomapping analyses and the workshop. The comparison makes it clear that cooperation has improved throughout the team. (Specifically by 21%; the improvement is visible at first sight from the warmer coloration of the entire map—the blue-green area has changed to more of a yellow-green.) Effectiveness has also increased for individual members, no matter whether they were originally among the most effective (D) or least effective (C). And lastly, we also managed to improve cooperation among individual members (the map on the right no longer has arrows indicating ineffective cooperation among individual team members).

Communication effectiveness (November 2018)Communication effectiveness (February 2019)

How It Kept on Helping

Naturally we were also interested in the sociomapping’s effects from the long-term viewpoint. Analysis of data from the entire monitored period provided an interesting finding. It showed that over the course of seven months, the hotels that had not done sociomapping also saw an improvement to their ratings. However, the overall average growth for this group was 1%, while for the hotels where the sociomapping and workshop had taken place, there was an average of four times as much growth against the original average rating—a significantly faster growth in customer satisfaction.

Sociomapping as the Key to Long-term Improvement

Earlier studies have shown that improving the effectiveness of cooperation and communication leads to better satisfaction throughout a team. And this was once again confirmed through the example of the hotels studied here, where sociomapping made teams work better and thereby improved customer satisfaction—even in the long term.

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