5 Best Ways Of Resolving Hotel Guest Conflicts
The hospitality industry is all about dealing with various types of guests. We all know that without guests, the hotel will not get business. There are many different types of guests with different needs, preferences and perspectives of what constitutes a great service.
With these factors in play, hotel guest conflicts are bound to happen. One of the cardinal rules of hospitality is that the “guest is always right” or “the customer is king”. However, with every rule, there are exceptions. The purpose of this blog is to help you to deal with guest conflicts.
“Guest Always Right” - Origin
You must be wondering how the “guest is always right” became a cardinal principle? Especially in the hospitality industry? This principle was a marketing strategy to attract hotel guests. The idea was that the hotel will take care of all the complaints and criticism of the customers diligently.
In the olden days of traditional marketing, customers didn't have many sources for verifying the quality of the hotels. They had to take the word of the travel agents and the hotel themselves. The rating of the hotel was only possible through star ratings, that too by official sources. When hotel guest conflicts did happen, it was genuine. The guest complained directly to the hotelier or the travel agent.
Hotel Guest Conflicts In The Internet Age
However, with the growth of the internet, hotel guests have gained an additional arsenal. With great power comes great responsibility. However, many people get drunk on power. This is where many motivated hotel guest conflicts started to occur.
Hotel guests can now use online reviews to extract undeserved concessions from the hotel on the threat of ruining the online hotel reputation. Online reputation is a delicate matter, which unscrupulous guests take advantage of.
How To Resolve Hotel Guest Conflicts
Now that we have understood that customers are not always right, let us now understand how you can solve the various guest conflicts the hotels face.
1. Fake Reviews For Undue Benefit
The facility of guest reviews on OTAs and review sites has been a boon to the customer. Before booking the hotel, the guests can now verify the quality of the hotel with testimonials from actual guests along with star ratings. This has increased transparency in the hospitality industry.
However, many guests are misusing it to extract undue benefits from the hotel. The hotel guest would put a fake review. The hotel would respond by offering freebies such as free room nights or discounts. Sometimes, even competitors would create fake IDs and give bad reviews to pull down the hotel rankings.
Before responding to the hotel review, the online reputation management team needs to assess whether the hotel review is genuine or fake. Fake reviewers will not specify the details and will give reviews that are too outlandish to be true. Deal with them accordingly.
2. Nuisance To Gain Attention And Discounts
In the age of social media, many hotel guest conflicts involve nuisance that is created to gain attention and undue concession. The guest will make unreasonable demands, behave rudely, and try to use social media to gain attention. This leads to negative marketing for the hotel.
Hotel guests also misbehave with the staff and management using pressure tactics to get discounts. For example, they will raise some issues, trivial ones to getting free breakfast and discounts. Sometimes, the guests will make irrational demands that are impossible to fulfil and even illegal, such as asking for bills without taxes.
The first step to dealing with the situation is to politely ask the nuisance creator to stand aside from the lobby and ask them to tell them all the issues they are facing. Assure them that they will take care of their needs. However, if the guest still creates a nuisance, then you will need to help with security.
To avoid issues beforehand, you need to check in with the guests to identify whether everything is fine or not, or do they need anything else. Put out a clear-cut policy regarding discounts and complementary offerings.
The hotel also needs to state the circumstances in which the guest will be entitled to on-the-spot discounts as a compromise for any issue.
3. Staff And Guest Conflicts
Sometimes, the guest may have an incorrect idea of the services and amenities provided. They may argue with the staff to get concessions or just to vent out their frustrations. The guests often raise their voices, however, the hotelier can't do the same as it can tarnish the hotel’s reputation. Sometimes the staff may behave rudely, or his/her behaviour can be perceived as rude by the guest.
The hoteliers need to handle the situation calmly without losing their temper. Try to calm the guest down. If there is some misunderstanding between the guest and the staff, then the staff needs to handle the situation with care. The staff need to apologize if it was their mistake. However, if the guest exceeds a limit, or gets physical, then security needs to be called in.
4. Guests Misusing Amenities
Sometimes guests believe that they are entitled to take hotel towels with them, steal hotel amenities, break valuables in the rooms and even dirty the property and room. So how do we handle these situations?
The only way to deal with such situations is to penalize them. If the guest is caught, they need to be blacklisted from the hotel.
5. Drunk Hotel Guests
Drunk hotel guests are a common sight, and they need to be dealt with immediately before they become a nuisance to the other guests and ruin their experience. The hotel bar and restaurant are common sites for drunk guests.
Solution Call the security. That’s the only solution to the issue. As long as the drunk guest is not creating nonsense, they can be handled politely and given a place to relax. If needed, take them to the bathroom in case they like vomiting. Then take them to their room.
If they create a nuisance, they need to be restrained and taken to their rooms. The staff can then be there with them to manage them till they get sober. Afterwards, it's the call of the manager to decide whether blacklisting the guest is warranted in this situation.
Handling guest conflicts is one of the most challenging exercises for hotels. Hotels need to look at each situation and handle it on a case-by-case basis. However, having a standard of procedure (SOPs) is essential for responding to the situation at the initial state.
Hotel Guest Conflicts - Frequently Asked Questions
What are the various types of hotel guest conflicts?
Some of the most common types of hotel guest conflicts are fake reviews, guests creating a nuisance, irrational demands, using pressure tactics to get benefits, stealing and dirtying amenities and drunk guests.
How to deal with guest conflicts?
One of the best ways to deal with guest conflicts is to have a calm mind and resolve the issue by being polite with the guests. If needed, you need to call security if the issue goes out of hand.
What to do if guest creates a nuisance to get their irrational demands met, or get unwarranted discounts?
Tell them politely that it is not possible and if they still create a nuisance, call the security and manage them. It is one of the most common hotel guest conflicts.