N is for Nonsense & Nincompoops

What are you going to write about for your next letter? A few friends have asked me. I take out my small note pad that I scribble ideas and partial conversations from new characters in, it’s a very interesting note-book to review. I share my focus is on the theme of the hotel world. N is for nonsense (leaning towards guests again) and my friend shared to use a fun word like nincompoop – I love it and that’s what I’m going with.

The guest is always right has been ingrained into our hospitality world and any customer service related position. I use to believe this when I first started my hospitality career. After countless encounters with guests over the past twenty years, I know that not every guest is right. Guests may think they are right and deserve a free meal or complementary room night because they have been wronged in some way. When I first started out in the hotel world as a server I would recoil when I heard the guest was having a bad experience during their stay at he resort. It may not have been anything that I did, but I wanted to be helpful and give a free dessert because they were expressing their negative experiences.

Your Customers Are Not Always Right, But They Are Always The Customer ~ Forbes Magazine

I recently dealt with a guest who proved to me that guests are not always right, but they are still our guest and that’s the bottom line. They are paying money to stay at the hotel and we can’t forget that. We wouldn’t have a job if we didn’t have guests to check into the hotel. However, guests do not have the right to be rude to employees to express that they are right. As a manager, I’m being paid to be that sounding board. Guests can yell at me, I’m like a duck, negativity falls away from me like beads of water off the duck’s feathers. I have empathy, bu I also don’t need to carry the weight of the world from every guest who complains.

This particular guest booked their room reservation through a third-party and made a request for a king bedded suite. Can you guess what happened? If you guessed the third-party didn’t share the guests request for the king bed for their special occasion, you would be right. They received a lovely one bedroom suite that happened to have two queen beds. I should mention this is a holiday long-weekend and the hotel is sold out of king bedded suites. When the guest called the front desk to ask to move to a king bedded suite, the front desk agent shared the truth with the guest of not having any requests from the third-party about the king bed and shared options for the guests. The guest didn’t want any of the facts or options, she wanted a king bed and wanted to talk to a manager.

I first did a little research on their booking and we did not receive any information about a request for a king bed. (No surprise at all. Hint: if you’re going to book through a third-party make sure you follow-up with the hotel directly for any special requests, or make your reservation directly with the hotel.) Then like any miracle we had another guest who had to check out early due to unforeseen circumstances. They checked out of a king bedded suite – thank you hotel gods.

When I called the guest, I first shared the exact same information as the front desk agent did regarding the third-party not providing us with the requests and we hope that she will share this with the company after their stay. The guest basically did not accept my information and threatened to write a “negative report on TripAdvisor” – she knew what she was doing. I don’t take lightly to idle threats and a part of me didn’t want to give her the king bedded suite for such childish behaviour, however I remembered that she may not be right but she was still our guest and I wanted to make sure she had a good experience. I shared the miracle of someone checking out early and we would be happy to help her move to the king bedded suite once it was cleaned and ready. The guests pushed me further to have the room ready right away, this is where I can push back to say that the room will be ready by check in time but we will do our best to get it ready earlier. I suggested to go out for lunch and we would be happy to hold their luggage and put it in the new room when it was ready. This seemed to be a good option for her and that’s what happened. They dropped off their bags they thanked me for getting them the suite they wanted. I smiled and nodded while saying ‘you’re very welcome, and have a good afternoon.’ I wanted to add, you nincompoop (okay, truth, I would have used another choice word, but we’re having fun with words during this challenge.)

This scenario is common in the hotel world, we deal with different personalities every day during an eight-hour span. It can be draining one minute and uplifting in another. Why do we do it? For me, each guest that I come in contact is a new character – they provide me with a little part of their personality that I can plunk into a story. For this I am grateful.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

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