The truth about hotel mystery shopping

Mystery shopping at a hotel might sound like the ultimate vacation, but there is definitely an art to this tricky assignment. It takes time, guts and experience.

Mystery shopping at a hotel might sound like the ultimate vacation, but there is definitely an art to this tricky assignment. It takes time, guts and experience.

Travel and Leisure reports that at the highest level, hotel mystery shoppers have significant management experience in the luxury hotel business, the financial means to book extravagant visits to top resorts and even time to attend classes so they can familiarize themselves with details like thread counts and expectations for concierge behavior. Often, these shoppers spend a majority of their year traveling and reporting on their time away.

Perhaps the biggest difference between a mystery shop at a five-star hotel and a five-star restaurant is the amount of commotion you are required to make in order to complete your report. The anonymous shopper interviewed by Travel and Leisure recalls having to invent problems with the toilet or television in her room to see how quickly and happily the staff remedied the problem. It takes a bold and committed shopper to complete hotel assignments.

The hotel industry is considering more mystery shopping assignments than ever before due to the upswing in online reviews from unsatisfactory customers. Hiring an experienced shopper to review the customer service in an establishment can be invaluable information to combat negative online reviews.

On her blog The Professional Hobo, Nora Dunn discusses the perks and drawbacks to mystery shopping hotels if it's more of a hobby and less of a full-time position. She has had trouble lining up assignment dates with her planned travel. Keep this in mind if you're planning on just tacking a mystery shop into a travel itinerary – it may not work out exactly as planned.

According to Hotel News Now, the most successful mystery shoppers know exactly what the hotel is trying to change or looking to improve.