Executive Summary: Although written surveys have their place in determining how guests view a particular hotel, a graphic-based approach gives them a chance to show rather than just tell hoteliers what is important. One such graphic technique is photo-elicitation, which encourages guests to use images and descriptions to respond to a hotel's design and amenities. In a photo-elicitation assessment, the hotelier simply gives participating guests the use of a camera to photograph whatever catches their eye as being meaningful. Then the guest and hotelier can review the sets of prints (or internet albums) for an explanation of why the guest considers a particular image to be important. In a test at Cornell's Statler Hotel, the 40 guests who participated seemed to be enthusiastic in recording their likes and dislikes. For this pilot study, the researchers handed out one-time-use film cameras and then interviewed the participants to learn more about why they took each photo. The disadvantages of this procedure were the relatively high cost of the cameras and processing and interview time. Using digital cameras and internet photo albums might make for a more economical approach. With their photos, guests pointed out such problems as an armoire door that refused to stay open and a bathroom telephone that was badly placed. On the other hand, participants were delighted with the hotel's beautiful view of central campus and its thoughtful placement of home-like furniture in guest rooms.
Pullman, M. E., & Robson, S. (2006). A picture is worth a thousand words: using photo-elicitation to solicit hotel guest feedback. Cornell Hospitality Tools, (7), 6-14.