News for the Hospitality Executive
How Can You Turn an Upset Guest into a Fan of Your Hotel?
By Sam Astorino, The Hamister Hospitality Group, LLC
We've all been there: a guest approaches the desk, upset and yelling about a problem. Dealing with upset guests is one of the most disagreeable tasks for any hospitality professional. However, with the attitude and technique, we can turn problems into opportunities. Here are my best tips on how to gain loyalty through calm conflict resolution.
Step One: Bring Calm to the Situation and the Guest
Step Two: Action Plan
A guest recently complained that his key was not working. I apologized and made him a new one, but a few minutes later he returned. This time he was even more upset because he had to come down to the front desk a second time. Instead of making another key, I accompanied the guest to his room in order to learn what the problem was. I found out the guest had two adjoining rooms and that he had bolted one of the doors from the inside and left through the other door; he was trying to get in through the bolted door. We entered through the other door and found that the key worked when it was not dead-bolted. The guest was grateful for my help. By attending to the problem myself (instead of giving the guest another key or asking maintenance to check on the problem), I won the guest's gratitude and loyalty.
Step Three: What to Do if the Guest Does Not Calm Down
I previously worked at a timeshare/hotel property where home owners decorated their units according to their personal taste. Although there were decoration guidelines, no two units were exactly the same. A guest became very upset with me when she did not get the exact unit that she wanted, even though we never guaranteed that guests would receive the unit of their choice. She screamed at the front desk agents, including myself. She used bad language, threatened me with a law suit, and demanded my bosses' contact information. Although the unit that she wanted was occupied, we did offer a comparable unit. My boss and his colleagues supported my position. I learned that day that you can't please everyone: you have to stick by the regulations your company while trying to please a guest.
When you work at a front desk, you are bound to have a guest who will
be upset about something. Don't take it personally: most of the time the
issues have nothing to do with you. If you are confident in yourself and
your support system you can make almost any situation better for the upset
Sam Astorino is a Hamister Hospitality Group, LLC manager. Feedback can be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information on The Hamister Group, Inc., a growing hotel and healthcare management company, see www.hamistergroup.com
|Also See:||Golden Opportunities Lie in Handling the Cranky Guest and the Next Guest in Line / Brandt Ford / The Rooms Chronicle|
|Taming the Guest from Hell / Steven Ferry / May 2008|