Measuring the Emotional Connection to a Hotel Brand


Founded more than 70 years ago, this worldwide hospitality company has a prestigious portfolio of over 5,000 hotels and resorts, including some of the world’s most iconic luxury hotel brands, in nearly 100 countries.


Management at the hospitality company wanted to be sure its hotels were in full compliance with brand standards, but it had another agenda as well: to further refine the guest experience.

Industry research has shown that what motivates a guest to return to a luxury hotel is largely an emotional connection to a brand. While “big things” like a hotel’s amenities and reward programs clearly influence booking and loyalty, it’s also the “little things” like a warm welcome at check-in or an offer to “get you anything else you need” that largely play a role in customer satisfaction.

The hotel company approached Coyle Hospitality for assistance in defining those nuances that could positively affect its bottom line and improve the emotional connection of guests to its brands.


Coyle Hospitality designed measurement tools and protocols to gauge the emotional connection of guests. The goal was to provide highly specific feedback that could instruct opportunities for improvement at the hotels.

From its global panel of 35,000 evaluators, Coyle chose professional evaluators who had the most experience in luxury hotels. They were asked to provide comprehensive and structured feedback on a wide range of touch points, such as check-in, amenities, concierge, food and beverage, problem resolution and check-out.

Coyle employed two different but connected diagnostic instruments to separate the nuance from the clinical analysis of brand-standard compliance. Through a proprietary series of open-ended questions that covered the guest experience before, during and after the stay, evaluators were able to give thoughtful, detailed insights into areas such as:

  • How staff was (or wasn’t) truly connecting with guests
  • The kinds of emotional outcomes staff was creating
  • Whether crucial elements such as safety, comfort and loyalty were being engendered
  • How the hotel compared with competitive brands during similar moments of truth

In addition to its detailed brand audit, Coyle was then able to provide feedback to the hotel about what it calls “the human aspects of travel,” the emotional connection that turns a casual guest into a brand enthusiast and lifelong ally.


What Coyle found in its evaluations was that often the top performers in the brand standards audits were missing opportunities to personalize and improve the guest’s experience. The hospitality company was able to reexamine its training initiatives. Hotel managers received very detailed and objective insights they were previously unable to obtain and were delighted in their actionability. Finally, Coyle was able to provide a roadmap to improvement through a simple action plan based on years of proven best practices.

“Innovative brands understand that quality is not about creating checklists and ticking boxes,” explained Jeff Gurtman, Managing Director of Coyle Hospitality. “Everything can’t be boiled down to a number or grade. Brand compliance isn’t enough. Emotional connections are a critical component of the quality equation, and hotels that understand that X factor are the ones that will see the greatest success.”

© 2024 Coyle Hospitality Group. Reproduction of any material without written authorization is strictly prohibited.

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