Workers and Guests: Is it time to get on the same side?


Why the great divide between hotel workers and guests

What one thing can ruin a stay for a guest?

  • Lack of cleanliness
  • Excessive noise
  • Preset alarm clocks (this falls under the “noise” category, but it bothers enough people that it deserves its own mention)
  • Electronic issues (wifi fees, not enough electric outlets, difficulty using the TV)

What one thing can ruin a guest for a hotel worker?

  • Bad attitude on arrival
  • Questioning policies and pricing
  • High expectations on front desk employees (especially overnight)
  • Expecting hotel schedules (housekeeping, room service, check-in or check-out) to conform to their whims

Why the disconnect between these two lists? These groups simply don’t understand each other.

It is easy to see why many in the industry are fed up with guests before they arrive. A demanding personality, a list of requests (or demands) a mile long, and the expectation of a discount based on nothing but their threats to complain to management are enough to push any overworked staff member over the edge.

But what about the other side? Why do guests behave in this fashion? Why walk in the door with expectations that go so far beyond what was promised? I believe that a large part of the responsibility lies with OTA-type organizations that promise lower rates and advise travelers to demand more from providers.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with getting more for your money, it has bred a sense of “us versus them” in the travel industry. Some guests walk in with a chip on their shoulder, expecting to be taken advantage of at every turn. This in turn sows seeds of animosity with the staff, which does nothing for the guest experience.

This is wake-up call for hotels to take back the controls. Eliminate the middle man and get to know your guest.

From the first point of interaction on your user-friendly website, to a checkout day hand-written thank you note, prove to your guests that you are in it for them. Bridge the gap by training staff to understand the why behind a request, and work toward diffusing problems before they happen.
Will this eliminate every rude comment you and your staff endure? Unfortunately, no. There will always be guests who exceed the boundaries of a typical service challenge. In these instances we might wish for an attitude tax, but dust off your best fake smile, work your magic, and continue to keep your own team’s staff vs. guest attitude – in check.”