5 Unique Ways to Handle Difficult Customers and Diffuse The Situation

 

Handling difficult customers can be a challenge for even the most experienced employees which makes it an even harder task for in-experienced employees to have to solve the problem at hand. Several studies show that 95% of your customers who experience bad customer service share their experiences with others. Not only do you lose that particular customer but then it can damage your reputation because they will tell their friends and family to not go to your hotel, post negative reviews and create content that could go viral on social media and become a true disaster. New employees who are unprepared to deal with difficult customers may be caught off guard and inadvertently make a bad situation even worse. These five ideas can make handling difficult customers easier for inexperienced employees and help save customer relationships before you lose that person forever.

The Customer is Always Right

When inexperienced employees internalize the mindset of the customer is always right,  they will respond to customer complaints from the perspective that there’s a solution to the problem, and it’s their job to find it. This is easier said than done because you have to be honest and willing to listen to the guest, even if they are irate. You need to be sincere and the words coming out of you should be heart-felt.

The Fastest Solution is Always Best

The last thing a difficult customer wants to hear is that they’re going to have to wait. When customers are forced to wait to speak with management or wait for a refund, the delay leads to frustration and doubt. The longer a customer has to wait for answers, the more they perceive a business to be indifferent to their complaints. The faster the resolution, the better. You then force uneasiness and tension because they feel that you should have been the person that took control of the situation and found an answer immediately.

The Most Relevant Resolution is Always Ideal

Customer dissatisfaction isn’t always solved with a refund or even a replacement for a service or product that failed to meet their expectations. Training new employees to listen for specific keywords or the factors that caused customer dissatisfaction may indicate that something else might actually be the most relevant resolution for handling a complaint. The more relevant the customer finds the employee’s response, the more likely they are to feel truly heard and understood.

The Option That Leaves the Door Open is Always the Goal

It can be tempting to choose an answer or resolution that sends a difficult customer on their way as quickly as possible. However, solutions that leave the door open with a dissatisfied customer, giving a hotel another chance to deliver on customer experience and expectations, is preferable to one that represents  a customer will ever come back. The more times a negative customer experience can be transformed into a good one, your job is pretty much complete.

The Ability to Follow Up is Critical

A new staff member may feel that a difficult customer was taken care of only to find out that the customer left even more unhappy than before. Obtaining a guest’s phone number or email address for the purpose of following up and offering to redress any remaining issues can be key to preventing negative word of mouth and online reviews.

Sooner or later, nearly every employee will deal with difficult or unhappy customers. Use these five ideas to your advantage by making a part of your new employee training program to help your staff feel at ease when dealing with confrontation. It is always something that no one wants to deal with but it will eventually happen.

3 Trends for Hotels in 2017

Image result for hotels trends

Hotels have always been a place for people to go to simply get away from normal routine. Whether it would be for business or pleasure, people like to go somewhere where they can get taken care of by others. The spirit of hospitality can be great if given by the correct people and under the right circumstances. 2016 did see some great changes in certain areas but if hotels can stay ahead of the curve in 2017, they will be more successful than ever before. Let’s look at three of them in further detail of how a hotel operation can be stay on target with trends that will become mainstream very soon:

Boutique and Niche Hotels

Travelers want to go to a place that is not generic. It’s nice when you go to a Marriott or Hilton but the truth is, they are everywhere and people know what to expect when walking in. By going to an independent or boutique property, you never know how it will be besides maybe a review or picture you see online or through word of mouth. The actual experience needs to be personalized and people want to feel that they are staying somewhere fun and exciting.

Technology

Hotel management teams need to stay on top of the latest technology and use it to their advantage. Keep your website and fresh and innovated to keep people coming to it on a daily basis. Make the experience more interactive with developing cool apps for a smart phone to create an almost virtual concierge. Utilizing this aspect can separate yourself and give people what they want.

Turn Lobby Into Fun Atmosphere

Your guests don’t want to be stuck in their hotel room all the time and like to venture out. That is why it is so important that you convert your lobby into something that is inviting and exciting. Intermingle the design and architecture so people feel at home and comfortable. Create a neat vibe to get people interested.

These three trends will be critical to how people will judge what hotel they will stay at. All three are almost interconnected in a way that makes the whole hotel travelling experience unique. Personalization is the key element to making a person feel that they are special and getting their money’s worth.

4 Ways to Reduce Hotel Expenses

Hotels can be a very profitable enterprise is run the correct way. The revenues can be amazing but it’s those operations that control costs end up being the most successful in the long run. We are going to look at four ways of how to reduce hotel expenses in more detail:

Staffing

It is critical that you forecast correctly and have enough employees on during a particular shift or certain day. You don’t want your staff to be just hanging around and not be utilized efficiently. Your department heads have to use a labor standard to constantly be checking how many rooms sold and other market factors that could be affecting your location.

Cross Training

It’s important that all staff members be cross trained in different departments. This is certainly helpful when you have someone call or sick or is unavailable to work for a different reason. It does leave you shorthanded but you can patch things together to get by until that individual comes back. People should have the ability to jump in when necessary during any time of the day.

Conserve

Creating an energy management system that allows you to control temperature as well as lighting throughout the property. Utility costs can be high and if you are wasting energy, it does not make any sense. Even by switching to LED lighting can save your hotel thousands of dollars year over year.

Preventative Maintenance

Maintenance teams should create a PM program that allows your team to go in rooms at least once every 4 months. This will ensure that the property stays in good shape and you can push off any major renovations that could be in store.

5 Hotel Phrases That Guests Remember The Most

Hotels are an extremely busy location with hundreds of guests coming in and out of your building on a daily basis. Some of our most frequent guests come to our property so much that they like to be recognized as much as possible. The front desk does their best in accordance to making sure they are hitting there basic standards but also you need to be as personable as possible. The main goal for any hotel operation is to get as many guests feeling like they had a wonderful experience and that they felt a connection with the staff. There are certain phrases that we can use during our interactions that can make a difference and we will look at five of them in detail:

“It’s My Pleasure”

Guests stay in a hotel with a mindset that their needs will be catered to. Not only that. They expect the people tending to them will exude a certain level of joy in doing so. This is why the expressions above matter. Telling your guests that it gives you pleasure or happiness to take care of them rubs off on them. They would feel more positive because they know that the people attending to them are happy to do so. They will feel more comfortable reaching out to you and your staff for their needs.

“Thank You”

We owe everything to our guests. Travelers will only come back to hotels where they feel that their business is appreciated. This is why every opportunity we get, we have to thank them. Thank them during arrival and departure is essential. Thank them when they give you feedback. Thank them when they say nice things about you and your hotel. A simple “Thank You” can go a long way in terms of building a lasting relationship with hotel guests.

“Welcome”

We don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The first interaction with guests is all we have to make them feel at home in our hotel. This is why we should never forget to give all our guests a warm welcome – no matter how tired we are or how late in the night it is. You sometimes have to be creative in nature but giving your devoted attention and really respecting the guest is important.

“Is Their Anything Else”

Sometimes, hotel guests hold back on their requests because they don’t want to be perceived as demanding. Train your staff to ask guests if there’s anything else that they need or want. Though your hotel might not be capable to give everything that your guests want, at least you showed that you have the intention to make their stay as ideal as possible to the best of your abilities.

“We look forward to having you again as our guest”

Again, a simple expression that goes a long way. Of course, you want your guests to book with you repeatedly every time they travel to your area. But you have to say it. Never assume that this is already a given and that your guests don’t need to hear it. In fact, if you don’t say this, you might just make your guests feel that you did not enjoy having them in your property.

In the hospitality industry, these expressions are definitely more than just words. They articulate your passion to serve your guests. They establish your willingness to give them the best hotel experience you can. These words show your gratefulness that they chose your property among other hotels. They are powerful expressions that can make a difference in the success of your hotel.

10 Ways to be a Successful General Manager of a Hotel

Working in the hospitality industry can take a lot out of you. There are things we can do as a manager that make not only the hotel successful but yourself as a professional. I know that the hours are endless and things are always coming up but it’s how you deal with them in a respectable manner that separates you from the rest. The experience that a GM has can help you achieve years of success. There are certain skills that you need but you must have the confidence to know you can do it. We will look at 10 things in particular:

1. Listen to Your Staff
One of the indications that you’re doing a good job as a hotel general manager is if your staff feel that they are truly part of your hotel. One of the faults of many hotel managers or anyone holding a managerial position for that matter is the tendency to be dismissive of their staff. Listen to them because they offer insights on how you can run the property better.

2. Share Your Knowledge
Teaching is part of your job as a hotel general manager. Sharing what you know to your staff will not only foster a sense of empowerment in your hotel. It would actually make your job easier because you’re equipping them with knowledge and skills they can use to perform their job without constant assistance from you.

3. Have Discussions
More heads are better than one. Having regular collaboration sessions with your hotel staff can give you a well of ideas on how you can improve your hotel and even how you can generate more bookings and increase customer satisfaction.

4. Dedicate 30 Minutes A Day Reading Industry News
You should always be in the know when it comes to recent trends and news that might affect your hotel. We know you’re busy but set aside even just 30 minutes per day to read about industry news and trends.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Being a hotel manager is one of the most stressful jobs in the world and one reason for this is that most managers are ashamed to ask for help. Even though you’re expected to be able to handle everything that comes your way, everyone has a limit. When you reach this limit, don’t be afraid to tap into your staff and ask for help.

6. Don’t Pretend That You Know Everything
When someone from your team ask you something and you don’t know the answer, don’t be embarrassed to admit it. Just say that you don’t know the answer and that you’ll get back to him or her once you know.

7. Welcome Criticisms
Nobody’s perfect, even a hotel manager like you make mistakes – whether you’re conscious about it or not. Instead of being defensive, take criticisms as stepping-stones to get better at your job.

8. Get to Know Your Hotel Staff in a More Personal Level
You still have to maintain a certain level of “distance” between you and your hotel staff, but you also have to make sure that you are interested to get to know them personally. It is also known that other hotels who treat their employees as family have higher productivity.

9. Always Have the Interest of the Hotel In Mind
Every employee in your hotel will have his or her own interest and it would drive you insane if you’ll try to accommodate every single want. To remain impartial, always remember that your first responsibility is to protect the interest of the hotel you work for.

10. Never Be Afraid of Change
The hospitality industry is evolving every day. In your hotel, this might be a change in policies, staff turnover or a new technology. Don’t be scared of change. Embrace it. If your employees see that you are adopting to change rather than resisting it, they will follow you.

Knowing that you’re making a difference in other people’s lives is partly why we chose the hospitality industry. The way you interact with your staff, guests and surrounds will most likely contribute to your attributions of being someone who knows what to do to be successful.

4 Ways to Cut Costs for Major Hotel Expenses

A general manager of a hotel is sometimes defined on how you can control costs. This is something that can separate the great ones from the ones that don’t make it. Owners and management companies always look for high revenues which is important but it’s how you manage your expenses that make your hotel more profitable. It can sometimes be difficult when we go through certain seasons during the year but we will look at four ways that will help you reach that goal:

Labor

This is the biggest cost of any hotel. You have to schedule and plan out to make sure you are not overstaffed on a particular day or shift. If it is slow, send people home. Cross train your staff so they can assist in other departments to cut costs from hiring new people for one particular position. Limit or eliminate overtime whenever possible. Staffing levels should be dictated depending on occupancy and have certain people work for half a shift instead of a whole if necessary.

Utilities

This is a hard one sometimes to control. Being more energy efficient would be beneficial in the long run. Having sensors in rooms that turn on lights and heating units is a great way to make this happen. If someone is not in the room, why waste electricity. Replace thermostats frequently and change out the batteries in smoke detectors.

Property Operations and Maintenance

Have the right vendors in place to fix equipment at a reasonable price. Don’t pay an arm and a leg to get something fixed if it does not make sense. Try to get things corrected in-house before you call someone. Sign onto agreements that are good for a year so your month to month costs will be low instead of calling someone in the middle of the night to fix a boiler that is leaking.

Marketing & Advertising

Marketing is a vital cost that hotels need to keep an eye on. Now with social media, you need to advertise in moderation. Costs are rising and you sometimes have to overpay for certain spots that you advertise for online. Researching and seeing what the competition is doing can help you be successful. This can be a never ending expense because the type of target market you go after. Monitor and see what make sense.

5 Ways of Making Your Hotel More “Green”

We are living in a world where our resources are being depleted. Every little thing that we can will help us converse our resources that will in turn help ensure that we have a positive future. If doing something the environmentally friendly way isn’t always your first priority, then the good news is that  being more green will directly affect your bottom line for the better. A few careful measures and a little investment now will easily pay for themselves in the long run. Energy, waste hauling and water bills go down but your profits can go up. Hotels which put effort into caring for their hotel, staff and guests not only keep them happy but more bookings will be a result as well. Let’s look at five ways that you can concentrate your effort to make your hotel “Green”:

Electricity

Hotel guests are happy to walk around their house turning off lights when it’s going on their own bill, unfortunately they tend not to be as cautious when we’ve paid to stay somewhere as in a hotel room. If key cards are used in your accommodation, the solution is fairly simple: invest in a card system that powers down the room when it’s vacated. Bathrooms, conference rooms and other public spaces can be fitted with motion sensors for the lights, meaning that they’re only on when needed. Beginning a linen reuse program, so that fewer guests are simply throwing their towels onto the bathroom floor for housekeeping without a second thought, can have a huge impact on energy expenditure. If guests reuse your towels and linens, you save labor costs and use less water as well.

Refuse

Providing an extra bin for mixed recycling is also a good way to help guests be more green when staying in your accommodation. If you can, ensure that packaging from produce in your kitchen, cleaning products and toiletries are all recycled properly. Aside from limiting your carbon footprint, waste hauling can be a huge expense for accommodation owners which recycling can drastically reduce. Use wool dry cleaning bags instead of the plastic ones that are commonly used.

Equipment

While you may not love the look of a few solar panels on your roof, they will definitely send a good message to guests. Other equipment, ground source heat pumps, wall and window insulation and storm water management are all worth looking into. One measure that can be taken in pretty much any kind of accommodation, however, is installing low flow water systems for your sinks, toilets and showers. These are not that expensive to purchase.

Products

Try to source your products and produce from suppliers near by. This is great for reducing fuel consumption. It’s great when you can tell guests that the food that you purchased is from a local area, they will be commended you for doing that. Buying things in bulk is most cost-effective when limiting the amount of deliveries you get and you can save from having to purchase things on a repeated basis.

Go Online

Putting all your info online is a great way to be more green. A comprehensive website and a firm grip on social media will mean that fewer materials are needed for advertising and guest information. Make your property management system have the ability to send guests their hotel bill/folio via email to cut down on paper usage. Use 100% recyclable copier paper that is better for the environment.