Kevin Charity, founder and CEO of the Coaching Inn Group, has proven his hospitality industry acumen by growing one of the most successful hospitality groups in the UK, but he’s not stopping there. Having just concluded an investment in hospitality technology provider GuestRevu, he’s now got his sights set on changing the way hoteliers think about their guests and the insights they can provide.
I was drawn to invest personally in GuestRevu because I see so many parallels in the way we operate our businesses: a passion, a vision and a total belief in what we do,” said Mr Charity.
“That was the initial appeal. While using the system in the Coaching Inn properties, I came to see that the foundation of GuestRevu is built on an understanding that the most important thing for a guest is not what we as hoteliers say or do, but how we make them feel. I believe this should be the foundation of any brilliant business, and on this we are totally aligned.
GuestRevu is a cloud-based hospitality guest feedback and online reputation management solution. The company’s mission is to enable hospitality providers to listen to, learn from and earn from their guests by enabling them to leverage the power of their guest intelligence to build lasting loyalty and drive revenue. One of only three TripAdvisor Platinum Review Collection Partners globally, the company currently has offices in the UK and South Africa and is growing fast.
“Having a hotelier of Kevin’s calibre invest in GuestRevu reflects so much more than just a business transaction,” said Chris Alexandre, founder and CEO of GuestRevu. “There is no higher praise than a customer deciding to become an investor. This is an incredibly exciting time for GuestRevu because we are meeting a real and growing need for hoteliers and others in the hospitality space. Competition and technology are making managing guest feedback and one’s online reputation an essential part of running a competitive business.”
Mr Charity began his journey with GuestRevu in 2014 by piloting the technology in just two of his Coaching Inn properties. The pilot results were immediate and immense. One property received an increase of more than 300% in the number of reviews published on TripAdvisor in the first three months after GuestRevu with TripAdvisor integration was implemented, and both properties saw an improvement in their average review score.
The improvement in TripAdvisor performance, however, was just an added perk for Mr Charity, who was more interested in the value GuestRevu provided as a management tool, helping the Coaching Inn properties to fulfil their mission of providing an exceptional guest experience, and putting the guest experience at the centre of operational decisions. The resolution to roll out GuestRevu to the rest of the Coaching Inn Group properties was, according to Mr Charity, ‘a simple decision’, and was made within months of the pilot.
GuestRevu has become an integral part of the management of Coaching Inn properties. “We simply want to make our guest experience better, and what better way than understanding what guests like and dislike about us Ð GuestRevu delivers this information,” said Mr Charity. “GuestRevu provides us with intel directly from our customers, which is invaluable. We are able to drill down to each and every comment to really get to the crux of what the guest experienced, and deal with it in the right way. As a group of properties, one of our aims is also to make sure that our ‘guest culture’ is the same in every one of our venues, and GuestRevu makes this possible.”
After several years as a satisfied client, Mr Charity’s decision to buy shares in GuestRevu is evidence of his belief in the alignment of GuestRevu’s mission to help hoteliers put guest experience at the centre of hospitality and his personal beliefs about best practices in the hospitality industry.