Of course, by hotels I mean the people who work at these places and people who manage them.
1. Treat the hotel room as a perishable product
Back when we went to hotel school, our teacher Miss Lumsden would remind us daily “if you can’t sell your hotel room today, you can never sell it today”. She is right! A hotel room, or at least the potential revenue from it, is as perishable as it can get! You only get few hours to sell it. If a hotel room is left vacant overnight, the revenue from that night is lost forever. Dates don’t repeat, therefore the revenue that would have come from that room will never be realized. Every available room is a potential product that needs to be sold that day. In my most recent travels I did come across a few sales and reservations agents who do not realize this. Sometimes they came across more as representatives of booking.com rather than of the hotel. Most of them weren’t really willing to negotiate. There was no real sense of urgency. They weren’t really interested in “winning” me. May be they aren’t empowered enough to offer discounts in order to sell the room. A few times when the hotel staff did not yield, I opted to go with booking.com and ended up getting the room at around 20% cheaper than what was quoted directly by the hotel. Why are hotels so keen on giving so much to the booking engines / OTAs? So much for yield management.
2. Be generous with late checkouts
Late checkouts are something hotels need to be very generous with. Not only because it is such a minute charge from a long staying guest compared to what they have already paid but also because it gives the hotel an opportunity to make a lasting final impression. The decision on a late checkout can make or break a guest’s impression of the hotel. I recently stayed at a hotel where they refused to give me a late checkout despite me paying INR 100000.00 on accommodation over 8 days. I only asked for 3 hours! They wanted to charge me INR2000.00 for 3 hours! The housekeeper and the restaurant manager said that I could definitely get a late checkout free but the reception staff said they had very strict instructions from the GM not to extend any late checkouts without charge. I don’t understand the GM’s rational but they could definitely have bought my loyalty for 2000 Rupees.
3. Families mean children
Ah! I remember back in the 90s when I was a front office person, my supervisor once send me loggerheads with a family who negotiated with a second child in the room who they said would not require an additional bed. We maintained that we were not looking at the number of beds that went into the room but the number of heads! Little did I realize how frustrating it would be for the family. Hotels who pride themselves for being family-friendly must really be family friendly in every sense of the word. Sometimes families want special arrangements when it comes to accommodation and extra beds. Some families don’t require extra beds for each head that goes in to the room. Hotels often do take advantage of families by charging extra as child supplement. Some hotels charge these supplements even when on room only and when no extra bed is required – and not have the decency to provide additional pillows, towels or water. Family friendly hotels must redefine their child policy – especially regarding age. For some hotels, any child above 5 is considered an adult for all intents and purposes.
4. Wifi is a basic need
Who doesn’t need wifi these days? Even children have their smart devices that require internet connections. Wifi, to be honest, high speed wifi is a basic necessity for most travelers these days. To deny this or not to acknowledge this reality is a very unprofessional attitude on the part of any hotel management. Hotels do have their special tricks to manage their bandwidth and alleviate network congestion. Some hotels do this by issuing limited time vouchers. Some do it by signing out idle devices or limiting the number of devices per password/room. Hotel managements who put such limitations on wifi use do not upgrade their networks according to demand. Mobile devices and wifi use grow and expand at quite a speed and hotels need to upgrade their networks along with the user driven demand and find smart and innovative ways of cashing on and profiting from the widespread use of mobile devices by using such technology as NFC to keep guests engaged.
5. Wait till people ask for servicesFew years ago, Qatar airlines came up with a series of commercials that show their cabin staff helping/serving passengers and strangers without being asked for the service. Exceptional service is no longer about doing what is expected or what is requested – it is about going beyond what is expected. It is about anticipating and thinking ahead. It is about actively seeking opportunities to help and offer service. Service personnel must keep their “Radar on and antenna up” all the time they are in the service area. Some hotels still don’t get this. Recently, when a GM asked me for my feedback, I told him that I would really have preferred a flat pin adapter for my charger. He smiled at me and said “it is available from housekeeping, most of our foreign guests require that so we keep a stock”. To me that is so yesterday’s service! The new paradigm is about staying ahead and delivering service just when the guest needs it not when the guest asks for it. I remember the joy on my guests’ faces when they realize that they only express their preferences once and service person remembers it for the rest of their stay. If Mr.Saeed likes milky weak coffee with low calories sugar every morning, he should not have to ask for it every morning. Service personnel should make note of it and deliver it everyday without him having to ask for it.
Exactly. Your are absolutely right Mr Hassan
Exactly. Mr Hassan you are absolutely right.
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