Every mystery shopper will tell you that there are certain types of evaluations they enjoy more than others.
For me, hands down, it’s hotel evaluations.
There are plenty of perks that come along hotel mystery shopping. In addition to staying on hotel properties that I might not otherwise be able to afford (some rooms are $400 per night!), it’s a nice way to break up the boring elements of everyday life by having a staycation in my city. Or if I’m feeling adventurous, it’s a good excuse to drive or fly to a nearby city for a day or two away. Plus, there are the credit card points that comes with booking the room and the hotel reward points for completing the stay.
Just two weeks ago I completed a one-night stay at a major hotel chain in my city. The room was located on the concierge level which had a nightly going rate of over $320! This was a real treat since I never would’ve spent that kind of money on a hotel room.
The room had just been renovated with updated furnishings and decor, and linens on the king sized bed so comfortable and relaxing. I could’ve stayed in bed all day. Over the course of 16 hours, I was required to do evaluations on the bar service, the concierge lounge, room service, and the breakfast buffet. ALL of this was reimbursed once my report was approved.
That’s right – free room, free cocktails, and free food.
Did I grab your attention yet?
Paid hotel evaluations can seem to be hard to locate if you don’t know where to look. Maybe that’s how you ended up on this page. Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place because I’ve compiled a list of mystery shopping companies that either specialize in hotel mystery shops or have been known to post hotel evaluation opportunities.
“Get paid to stay in a hotel and write about my experience? SIGN ME UP!”
Before I give you the list, I feel obligated to tell you, hotel mystery shops are not a walk in the park. This is especially true if paying attention to detail and writing long reports are not really your thing.
- Hotel evaluations require you to follow instructions meticulously, and failure to do so could result in not being reimbursed for your lodging expenses. (Some properties are over $400 a night which would really sting if your evaluation wasn’t accepted because you didn’t follow instructions.)Speaking of reimbursement…
- You’ll have to reserve your room with your credit card until your evaluation is approved by the mystery shopping company. Depending on the mystery shopping company, reimbursement might be anywhere from 30-90 days. I’ve seen a company that reimburses within 2 weeks, but that’s rare. Having a credit card and being able to float the bill until you’re reimbursed is a must.
- A well-written report is the expectation and requires some time investment. It generally takes me anywhere from 1 -2 hours to write a report that checks off all the requirements for acceptance. (Don’t worry, you’ll get a sample report to use as a guideline. They’re extremely helpful!)In exchange for the hotel stay, free food, cocktails, etc, the hotel chains expect some serious detail. They’ll typically want to know exact quotes from hotel staff interaction, and they’ll also want to know the exact timing. (How many minutes and seconds it took for your meal to arrive, for example. Hint: Use a timer on your phone).
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be.
The time-consuming portions of a hotel evaluation can be mitigated with organization, scheduling, and other tools that help you take shortcuts(without eliminating quality).
On to the list…
ACL lands on my top 5 mystery shopping companies list due to the caliber of shops they have available and how simple their site is to search for particular types of shop, like restaurants, health and wellness, apartments, etc.
Once you’ve signed up to be a mystery shopper, you can search for hotel shops by going to:
- the AVAILABLE tab
- Select Type of assignment you’re looking for
- Search by Zip, City, or State
Regal is another company that I highly recommend due to hotel mystery shops being their specialty, often including high caliber properties. On average, they will reimburse expenses within 90 days of your stay.
Coyle typically has a variety of hotel shops to choose from, depending on your state. The majority seem to be on the East and West coast, but you might be able to find something in the Midwest from time to time. Coyle requires some of the most detailed reporting of any mystery shopping company that I’ve worked with, though. Keep this in mind.
Though they are known for having automotive dealership shops, other shoppers in the industry have stated they’ve found hotel shops with Best Mark. Again, this is dependent on location and timing.
Buckalew is an Orlando-based mystery shopping company that posts hotel evaluations in several parts of the country. You will need to apply and be accepted as a shopper before you can view their list of available hotel shops.
Trust Guest specializes in hospitality evaluations, including restaurants and hotels. Want to shop with them? They mention on their website that shoppers who have completed the most assignments get first priority for hotel evaluations.
Are you a new shopper? They suggest applying for a restaurant shop first so they can get a feel for your writing style and attention to detail before approving you for hotel evaluations.
The hotel rooms on True Guest are often around $500 per night, so be sure you have sufficient room on your credit card available. The good news is that True Guest reimburses quicker than most other companies. Reimbursement may take between 2 and 4 weeks after the reports are submitted.
I’ve found mostly diners and drive-in shops with Strategic Reflections, but other shoppers report the occasional hotel evaluation posting. It doesn’t hurt to check it out periodically.
HS Brands is most known for their casino resort mystery shops. You’ll be required to play various table and slot games, but you’ll be reimbursed. Even better, you can also keep a portion of any winnings.
Questions about hotel evaluations? Drop me a comment.