Hotel Mystery Shopping

hotel.jpg Hotel secret shoppers get paid to evaluate all aspects of the guest experience in establishments ranging from motels to luxury hotels, resorts and spas. Do you think you would like to get paid to stay in hotels, order room service and more? This article tells what hotel mystery shopping is like, and how you can become a hotel secret shopper.

The specifics of hotel mystery shops will depend on the client, the amenities offered by the property, and what they wish to evaluate. Often, the shop begins with the reservation process. The mystery shopper evaluates the service provided by telephone reservations agents. How long were you on hold? Did the agent use the correct greeting? Did they ask if you are a member of the hotel’s loyalty program? Did they confirm the details of your reservation and thank you for calling?

Once you arrive at the hotel, you may be expected to make observations about every aspect of your stay, starting when you drive up. Was the exterior clean and well-maintained? Did a bellman offer assistance with your bags? How was the check-in process handled? You will be given many specific criteria against which the staff and hotel should be evaluated.

During your stay you will typically assess cleanliness and service in many areas of the hotel. Your room, obviously, but also restaurants, gift shops, the pool, exercise facilities, etc. You may be asked to order room service, get services at the spa, or request special service. For example, some hotel mystery shoppers carry a burned out light bulb with them to check maintenance services. They replace a working bulb with the one they brought, then call to report the non-working lamp. The shopper notes how long it took someone to respond to the call and how they handled the problem.

The oddest thing I have ever seen, though, was the hotel mystery shop where the shopper was asked to take something from the room. No, the secret shopper was not expected to walk through the lobby carrying a television (!), but they might put a towel in their suitcase. The reason for this was to see if a charge later showed up on the shopper’s credit card for the missing item. If the shopper was charged, they would be reimbursed by the hotel.

Hotel mystery shop reports are typically very detailed, and may involve writing extensive narratives. Of course, some of these complex shops include significant fees in addition to reimbursement of all expenses. Some of the easier hotel mystery shops that do not involve as much narrative writing may be reimbursement only or include a small fee.

There are many mystery shopping companies that offer hotel mystery shops. If you would like to be a hotel mystery shopper, be sure to apply to the companies listed below, among others:

Bare Associates

Coyle Hospitality Group

Freeman Group Measurement


  1. says

    In conveying the impact consistently delivering delighting experiences at a hotel, I like to compare it to a friend of mine and his relationships.

    Joey was casually spending his time with 5 women, who are all pretty good catches.

    One day, a woman named Michelle came along and absolutely swept Joey off his feet. She wasn’t perfect, but she had everything that was important to Joey in finding a women. She swept him off his feet.

    The Result: Joey had been giving each of 5 women 20% of his time (and money). After meeting Michelle, that changed. Michelle got 100% of Joey’s time (and money as he loved to wine and dine her).

    The Translation: Hotels that provide “good” customer service will likely be one of the 3-5 hotels a business traveler chooses when he/she has to spend the night in a hotel. The hotels that can create differentiated, superior, “wow” experiences for their guests, consistently, have an opportunity to capture all of that annual spend. Instead of the traveler spreading his $2,000 / year in hotel stays across 5 brands, he/she spends it on 1.

    Mystery shopping helps companies to be that one. The one that makes the traveler fall in love and consistently return to.

    • Cathy Stucker says

      Freeman Group is a reputable company.

      Anytime you have an issue with a mystery shopping company, if your usual contact does not respond, go to the website and find another person to contact.

      Before inquiring about a payment, review the company’s policies to verify that the payment is past due.

  2. Jody N. says

    I am still waiting on a payment for a shop I did for Freeman Group that I did in SEPTEMBER… I am NOT happy with them and I have NEVER had this kind of experience with a mystery shopping company EVER!!!! They keep telling me they have to research it, or payment will be on this date… the date comes and goes and still no payment… I have even left a message for the president of the company with NO RESPONSE… I am beside myself. I never would have expected this… just be cautious… I hope my experience is the exception and not the rule… but I have been contacting them since October regarding payment and am still waiting….

  3. Anne says

    I have gotten paid by the Freeman Group but it took a long time. I think I did the shop last March and got paid in August. However they were also proactive with me in letting me know that payment was delayed and added a bonus on for the delay. Makes me leary of doing it again but I would if the circumstances were right.

  4. Thomas H. Scott says

    After a very long delay Freeman began payment in three structured settlements. I was paid in full, plus a bonus.I would shop for them again, after obtaining a payment schedule.

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