Holiday makers can be demanding and at times inconvenient. Hoteliers aim to provide the best, most personalised experience for guests with a ”nothing is too much trouble” attitude. However, there are times when demands may be too much, and saying “no” to a request can be justified.
While going above and beyond is all part of the hotelier lifestyle, there are policies and procedures in place which may place limits on what a guest can expect from you as a hotel. Most of these policies and procedures are in place to enhance the guest’s experience, allowing you to say yes to most requests anyway, but these procedures are also there to protect yourself and as a company, for example, insurance reasons. As a result, some requests are not viable which leaves you with no option but to say no.
People as a whole do not like hearing no as an answer and your guests are no different. If there are times when the request cannot be delivered, it is important to keep the guests happy and offering an alternative is a way to do this. For example, if a guest is unhappy with a service and they request a refund which is not possible, then a discount or complimentary service for next time could go some way to keeping them happy and thereby keeping the guest as a loyal customer.
As with anything, it is important, to be honest with your guests. If you are unsure as to whether their request can be fulfilled, be honest with them and let them know that you will have to check with the relevant member of staff. Making a promise which you cannot fulfil can lead to a lack of trust between you and the guest, which could possibly lead to them not using your service again and leaving a bad review.
Some requests that hotels receive may be personal. It is important that staff listen to the reasoning and show empathy towards what the guest is asking for. To keep guests happy, it is important hoteliers look into every possible solution to accommodate their requests.
While some guests may have a good reason to why there are asking for a certain request (and going above and beyond is all part of our service), it is also important to keep your staff in mind. Should a guest come to you with a specific request, one which you may not feel comfortable carrying out, you are more than entitled to seek assistance or assurance, provide an alternative solution or arrange for another member of staff to help, before giving a definite answer.
It is also important that you and your staff are on the same page so that you, as a hotel, can provide the best service possible. Having clear roles and responsibilities for your staff ensures there are no mix-ups in communication between guests and different members of staff. Providing your staff with the relevant levels of training will lead to them being able to carry out requests themselves, providing a more efficient service for your guests. If your staff can see a viable solution, then they should be able to provide it, and in turn, you, as a senior member of your team, are able to know that you can stand by your staff members’ decision. In summary, an ideal motto for hotel staff to work by would be “only ask permission to tell the customer ‘no’, you don’t have to ask permission to say ‘yes’”.
By Rebecca Davidson.