I have to admit. Typically when I arrive at a hotel, I’m not at my best. I’m tired and impatient, with a strong chance of jet-lag. I’m anxious to get to my room, if only for a quick shower and change before finally starting my trip. That’s why I look forward to the moment I arrive at my hotel, eager to finally get some personal space.
This is also the moment that everything can go wrong.
Most of the time, my arrival is quick and seamless. However, the times that it hasn’t been? As stated before, I am not at my best. Small delays or mishaps can put me in a foul mood, and what’s worse? I’m usually more likely to view everything moving forward in a more negative light. This is not a mature point of view. But it’s an honest one.
The first impression I get of a hotel can be lasting. The worst part is normally the bad experiences could have easily been avoided.
Here are 4 scenarios that you will want to avoid:
How Much Longer Until I Get My Key?
Two years I visited Amsterdam and arrived around 7am from the United States. I was exhausted and jetlagged, and in desperate need of a hot shower. My hotel couldn’t find my booking, and the issue took about 30 minutes to resolve. The problem is that at that point the 30 minutes felt like a lifetime to me.
There is no worse feeling than having a time delay. Whether this is due to the room not being ready, lost bookings, or simply a long operation process, this is a huge pain point for travelers. This type of first impression ensures your hotel a bad image that will subsequently be difficult to change. It is crucial to have an efficient hotel management system that will allow the hotel to be prepared for each guest’s arrival.
Did They Know I Was Coming?
If I arrive before the check-in time, I understand if my room might not be ready. After check-in, I don’t typically expect to need any kind of assistance for a while. I go right to my room, and am ready to start my stay. However, you would be surprised at the number of times rooms are not stocked, or stocked for the appropriate number of guests.
Worse yet is when basic features of a room do not work. When I was backpacking through Italy last year, I stayed at a small hotel in Deiva Marina, a beach community. The air conditioner in my room not only did not work, but when I spoke to the front desk, she remembered the issue from before. They were able to repair it by end of day, which I appreciated due to the heat, but why wait until I was already checked-in?
There are numerous issues and repairs that occur in the operations of any hotel. It’s easy to have some “slide through the cracks,” and why it is so important to have clear lines of communication between the staff in order to follow up.
What Do You Mean Check-Out is in 10 Minutes?
Many times when I travel, I’m provided with information that I rely on, such as check-out times, WIFI fees, etc. The problem is I don’t always see that information. I know it’s my fault; after it’s pointed out, I will see it labeled on my phone or the back of a door. But since I haven’t planned on that time for check-out or cost for WIFI usage, I’m probably already irritated.
I stayed in a hotel in Prague that actually called me the day before my departure to confirm I was checking-out, check-out hours, and to see if I needed any transportation help. It was a 2 minute conversation, but I loved it, and it was a great way of being proactive ensuring my check-out would be hassle free. It is important to not only list information on reservation confirmation emails and upon check-in, but also check in with the guest to make sure they are aware or have questions.
Are They Ignoring Me?
When navigating a management system, answering calls, or completing administrative tasks, it’s easy to forget how our focus can be mistaken for indifference. There is a lot to do when running a hotel or front desk, but the guest isn’t always aware of the work you are doing. It is a bit of a dilemma: as a guest I want to have requests handled quickly, but other guests want your attention as well.
Earlier this year, I stayed at a small hotel in Chile and wanted help with the wifi. The receptionist was on the phone in Spanish, and after waiting five minutes without acknowledgement, I made an admittely snide comment. She apologized and told me she was trying to locate a crib for another guest. I immediately felt guilty for reacting so rashly, but the miscommunication was due to the fact that since I hadn’t been acknowledged, I assumed she was ignoring me. Having an efficient management system will help with time management, but make sure to acknowledge any customer waiting. Even if it’s a smile and a quick comment that it will be just a moment, these gestures can go a long way.