Most hotels are good at advertising. They have the right slogans and advertise in the best places. However, the creation of a brand is more than a marketing strategy. The nature of the hotel’s brand will create a certain expectation for customers about the type of experience they will have if they stay there. Theoretically speaking this is a noble thing. However, if the experience does not live up to the expectations, guests are most likely to feel disappointed. In short, the guests feel as though the hotel has broken its promise by failing to live up to its brand.
Unluckily, this happens more than hotel managers may think. Too often, hotels are making promises they cannot keep due to gaps in the daily operation of the hotel. The consequences can be deeply problematic, alienating customers and slowly destroying the carefully created brand. The question is, therefore, how do you prevent such problems?
As a business proprietor, manager or expert, your promise to guests in terms of service delivery is of key importance. Much has to be done towards this direction. Not forgetting that guests are the main reason for your being in business, and without them, there will be no business. Your promise to guests must be specific, measurable, acceptable, reasonable, time-bound and commensurate with service delivery.
Here are few basics on how you should treat your guests;
Hotel Promise Objectives
Your pledge: To treat every guest how you would like to be treated
• Behavior breeds behavior – How you behave with guests will determine how they respond to you. For instance, if you are friendly and helpful even the most upset guest will respond in a calmer, less angry fashion and your kindness may be remembered for years to come.
• Remember you chose your behavior, even if you are “having a difficult day”.
• Many interactions with guests will have a moment of truth, where there is a particularly difficult moment, where an issue or problem has to be addressed. You then have a “moment of truth” about how you respond. For instance, does one become angry with guests, or stay with the issue and try to resolve it?
• Your behavior (how you act) to a guest can help or destroy.
• Even if you’re busy or dealing with a queue keep an eye on what’s going on around you. When guests are nearby or approach you, look up from your work and acknowledge them with a smile.
• When you meet a guest anywhere within the hotel premises, acknowledge their presence, which can be done either visually or verbally. For instance, look at the guest and address them by name. Treat each guest as
Verbally Acknowledge Guests
• Verbally address guests as soon as possible when you see them. Apologize for any delays and always use their name if possible.
• Confirm to them that you have been listening to them, by perhaps repeating back to them, the problem they have described. For instance “Yes, Mrs. Mwangi, I am sorry to hear your flight delayed. Let me get you a dayroom and make you as comfortable as possible.” His name is the most important word for him – use it.
• Check that you have understood the guest’s concerns and whenever possible give a choice. For instance, “Would you like to have lunch in the main restaurant, by the poolside, in our Seafood restaurant or do you prefer to have room service?”
• At the end of a conversation, confirm any follow-up on the agreement that you have made.
Visually Acknowledge Guests
• Be friendly and attentive, looking at the person with outstaring. The worst thing is to visually ignore someone’s presence, to act like they are not there.
• When you’re talking to guests, maintain eye contact and include their name in your conversation in a natural and discreet way. The sound of someone’s name to them is golden.
• In interacting with a guest, take notes if appropriate to show that you are paying attention. Use friendly body language, for instance, smile, and lean forward and make open gestures.
• When you’ve just helped a guest with something, tell them your first name and ask if there’s anything else they need.
• If you become aware of a guest need you can’t deal with personally, get in touch with someone who can help right away. Make sure you tell the guest who is dealing with the request, and when it will be sorted out.
• Remember, guests rely on you to make them feel at home at the hotel premises. Make sure you know everything there is to know about your own department, and that you’re well informed about the hotel’s facilities and services.
• When guests ask you for directions around the hotel, do more than simply show the way. Walk the first few steps with them, and offer to escort them to their destination.
• Try to anticipate what your guests need and offer it to them even before they have to ask.
• Avoid physical barriers between yourself and your guests. It’s much friendlier to step out from your desk or workstation (if possible).
• Provide small, unexpected remarks or services as you relate to guests. (For instance, you can ask a gust if they had a nice trip).
• Always ask if it is an appropriate time to enter if guests are in their rooms.
• At every opportunity, please open and hold doors and elevators for guests.
Be Equipped and Aware
• You are an ambassador for the hotel, so it’s important that you look your best at all times. Making sure you’re smart and well groomed.
• All staff should know and be able to describe all group’s chain hotels and lodges and be able to link guests with sales staff who to give them more details.
• Always be on the lookout for “suspicious characters” and report them to your supervisor or the security officer. Be familiar with what to do in emergency situations, like power cuts, security threats or illness of a guest.
“Hospitality managers must work hard to ensure that customers are given what they were promised in promotional materials that