In the hospitality business we spend a major part of our time cleaning, organizing, planning, motivating, training, advertising, promoting, and serving. So, it is a shame when something goes very wrong, we miss a good opportunity to sell rooms or groups, we disappoint a guest with poor service, or a staff member upsets a guest with unprofessionalism.
We just can’t afford to shoot ourselves in the foot. Our guests are too valuable to lose. With all the challenges we face in this business, the last thing we need is to shoot ourselves in the foot. In other words, doing something that results in a negative guest experience.
Here are some bullets heading straight toward your shoes:
A first-time guest calls and asks if there is a room available for that night. Staff replies, “Sorry, we are totally sold out tonight.” The disappointed caller quickly hangs up. An opportunity to sell the hotel, and maybe a room for the next night, was lost. Whoops!
A guest asks how much a meeting room would cost. Staff replies, “Sorry, I don’t know anything about the rates. You will have to talk to sales after nine.” The guest goes back to his room and calls the hotel next door and books his quarterly sales meeting for his 10 managers…as well as 22 room nights. Shame, shame!
A guest asks if there is a restaurant that delivers to the hotel. Staff replies, “There is a Domino’s Pizza nearby. They can deliver within a half hour.” A good chance to sell the hotel’s room service team (or take out) was lost. You must be kidding!
A guest asks the front desk if they have shoe polish or where to buy some. Staff replies, “We don’t have shoe polish. I am sure they have some next door at the 7-11.” The chance to Wow! and for a good tip for one of the bellmen or housemen for polishing the guest’s shoes was just lost.
A guest has a minor problem or complaint. The server doesn’t attempt to solve the issue and gets the manager, who says, “I understand we have a problem here.”
A guest asks for a second chair in his room. Staff replies, “Our interior designers decided that there is really only room for one chair. Can’t you just sit on the bed?” Ouch!
A guest is not feeling well and asks for a later check out. The front desk manager agrees to a 2 p.m. checkout. However, the housekeeper is not informed and knocks loudly at noon. The housekeeper says, “When are you leaving? Don’t you know that checkout is at 11 a.m.?” That’s bad!
A guest arrives at 1 p.m. hoping to check in after a long trip. The front desk agent says, “Check-in isn’t until 3 p.m. Why don’t you go have lunch and check back in a couple hours?” Later, the guest discovers that there was, in fact, a room available. That makes ‘em mad!
As the saying goes: “Unmotivated or poorly trained staff members can be excellent at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” We simply should not shoot ourselves in the foot.
“This place is run for the enjoyment and pleasure of our guests, not for the convenience of the staff or the owners.”
–Bill Marvin, Restaurant Doctor
“We have met the enemy…and he is us.”
–Pogo, daily cartoon strip, 1971
“Over the course of a season, a miscue will cost you more than a good play.”
–Jerry Coleman, baseball player