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Red Carnation focus group dinner (part 1).

by Rajul on December 16, 2009

The Chesterfield Mayfair was the venue of the recent Red Carnation "focus group dinner" The Chesterfield Mayfair was the venue of the recent Red Carnation “focus group dinner”

We’ve featured Red Carnation Hotel Collection repeatedly for one reason: consistently good guest reviews across all its luxury London hotels.

All 6 of the company’s London hotels are currently in the top 22 on TripAdvisor, with 5 of the top 11 London hotels (and all offer free WiFi).

There have been various articles on this blog on different aspects of this performance.  For example, we’ve looked in depth at the Milestone Hotel, including the hotel’s interesting history and its “tiny noticeable touches”.

Check rates at Milestone Hotel

We’ve also explored Red Carnation’s training policies, visited its Egerton House and Montague hotels and highlighted some special offers.

Check rates at the Montague Hotel

Check rates at the Egerton House Hotel

Today I’d like to reveal a further “secret” behind this company’s outstanding performance: its unique “focus group” dinners.

The idea behind these regular events is for the Group’s MD and other executives to get direct feedback from guests in an informal setting.

The company invites guests with past grievances (however minor) to enjoy a slap-up complimentary dinner.  In exchange, they must promise to provide feedback to give pointers on where it can improve.

The idea behind "focus group dinners" is that the most useful feedback often comes from guests who have a complaint - however minor The idea behind “focus group dinners” is that the most useful feedback often comes from guests who have a complaint – however minor it may seem

This is impressive given that most comments about Red Carnation hotels are positive.  It would be so easy for the company to rest on its laurels.

Check rates at Hotel 41

But when recently invited to observe the most recent dinner, I was struck by how far they went at the dinner to actively try to elicit complaints!

The session was led by Roger Collis, a professional and affable moderator who is himself an experienced globetrotter.

In attendance too were the Group MD Mr Jonathan Raggett – recently crowned “Hotelier of the Year” – and Mr Terry Holmes, an Executive Director with a distinguished hospitality industry career spanning several decades.

The dinner was held at the group’s Chesterfield Hotel, a venue with a calm and understated charm.  This hotel is currently in the TripAdvisor top 10.

Check rates at the Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel

What then of the guest feedback?  What positive (and indeed negative) things did past guests have to say?  How will the company address them?

I’m afraid you’ll have to read the next instalment of this article to find out!

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Photo credits: Red Carnation Hotel Collection.

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