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Through the eyes of the Hotel Butler:
Recovering increased guest satisfaction with the least sacrifice of the Hotel
by Osvaldo Torres Cruz,
March 2011

To achieve the guest satisfaction is undoubtedly the ultimate Hotel goal, because a satisfied guest becomes a faithful client either by returning every time he chooses the same tourist destination or by giving value to the Hotel through his recommendations and endorsements. However, it is not always possible to reach the highest degree of satisfaction due to mishaps either fortuitous or not, resulting in unsatisfactory feelings and it is then when we must solve the situation or, even better, to turn it round. What we have to consider is the amount of sacrifice invested by the Hotel when reversing the situation.

A Hotel is foremost a business enterprise and hence its main object is to be profitable and obtain a reasonable income in the niche of the market where its products and services are offered. It is well known that the greater income of a Hotel comes from the sale of the rooms, so that the larger number of rooms sold at their standard rates as per the different categories, the higher profits the Hotel will get. Lost occupancy nights or rooms sold at a much lower rate, represent lost irretrievable income and unfortunately, this often occurs in a Hotel because it is a tool that is frequently used to resolve and reverse complaints.

The discount of occupancy nights and the offer of upgrades as a means of compensation for any drawback is, undoubtedly, the biggest sacrifice a Hotel makes to compensate a guest and paradoxically does not represent, in many cases, the most accurate way to achieve his gratification. In some opportunities when dealing with complaints, the guest has been offered discounts or upgrades and even so, when checking out to withdraw from the Hotel  he expressed his displeasure or published it in the social media, so I wonder: who won and who lost?

The true way to solve complaints is achieved when the negative emotional effect which provoked the guest mishap is reversed, i.e.
  1. How would our guest react if after being unable to sleep one night due to noises from the air-conditioning system, he were offered a discount on the room rate or non-payment of that night, finding  himself at the completion of his stay with more money in his pocket but with less comfort and welfare during his leisure time?, or …
  2. How would our guest react if being faced to this inconvenience he were offered a massage session at the Hotel Spa, to recover his wellbeing and  positive emotional level after being kept awake during the whole night?
Through the relations personalized service the Hotel Business Experience provides the valuable opportunity to get to know the emotional patterns and behaviors of each guest, thus easing the path to adequate the ways and means to compensate these, achieving the highest degree of satisfaction for the guest with the lesser degree of sacrifice for the Hotel.

In other articles I have commented about the reorientation that suffers the Hotel product and its associated services in the Experiential Hospitality, that is to say, more focused on the generation of emotional values which will help to reverse complaints. I think that every service must be designed with emergency alternatives to be applied in cases of need to recover or reverse dissatisfaction, issues that may be the less expensive cost. The main point is to know how to offer them to the unhappy guest so as to generate the greatest emotional value and thus the highest satisfaction.

The hotelier, as an experience maker for the guest, must have the ability to discern what recovery strategies to apply (type of service to offer) according to the emotional patterns and behaviors of the guest he is caring for.

Let us go back to our guest example: his behavior at the Hotel shows that he practices sports every day in the morning in the gym. From his interaction with the experience maker it is known that he uses the Jacuzzi (“whirlpool bath”) in the room. This guest expressed dissatisfaction on account of a wrong wakeup call in the early morning hours. She is offered as compensation for the mistake a hydrotherapy session in the Spa with her preferred scent, at her most convenient time. The guest accepts and schedules the last day before departing prior to her over 13-hour flight back home. She is most grateful and promises to return to the Hotel during the next year. It should be noted that the cost of this compensation was the lowest, since the scented hydrotherapy is one of the most inexpensive treatments of the Spa.

The use of the Hotel products and its associated services at lower-cost for the Hotel, guided to the generation of emotional values in unhappy guests is without a doubt, an effective tool to revert complaints through the least sacrifice of the Hotel and the highest benefit for the guest: his emotional satisfaction.

Osvaldo Torres Cruz
Hotel Butler
[email protected]


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Also See: Through the eyes of a Hotel Butler:Yes, Mr. Butler: I let you get into my hippocampus / Osvaldo Torres Cruz / February 2011

Through the eyes of a Hotel Butler: The emotional factor in the Hospitability Industry / Osvaldo Torres Cruz / December 2010

Hotel Butler Service: To Have or Not to Have? / Osvaldo Torres Cruz / July 2010

The Active Role of the Butler in Today's Hotel Industry / Osvaldo Torres Cruz / July 2008

Through the Eyes of a Hotel Butler: Transforming Displeased Guests into Satisfied Ones / Osvaldo Torres Cruz / September 2009

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