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Guests are always right or are they?

By Abhishek Pandey.

It is a question that many Hoteliers struggle with: Is the customer always right? Yes, and no. The saying, “The customer is always right”, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to run your business according to everything they say. How can a hotel work without knowing the guest is right or are they? You would constantly be making changes to satisfy every guest’s desire and still can't keep up with guest satisfaction. But it is the duty of a hotel to keep up with the guest's desires, I know I am making a contradictory statement here but who all are reading this knows it is somewhat the truth. So how can one deal with a situation like this I asked this question myself when I was doing my training and somewhere someday we all hoteliers have to face this problem, so after thinking about this question I tried finding answers to satisfy my curiosity and luckily I found my answers and now I am going to share this wisdom with you.

1. Listening is the key.

As a hotelier, you need to be consistent and sustainable, but you should also listen to your guests. Even if you don’t agree with feedback or complaints that a guest gives you, there could be valuable takeaways from them. Don’t view negative feedback as an attack on your ego. It may be the constructive criticism that you need to improve and grow, that's the rule.

2.the power of apologies.

Whether you are right or not, saying you’re sorry is part of customer service. It shows that you care and have empathy. At times, you may be wrong. When you are, it’s better to own up to it. CEOs of the most successful businesses have openly admitted their mistakes, apologized publicly, and received positive responses from their customers. For inspiration, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos are two examples of CEOs that know how to deliver a thoughtful apology.

3. When appropriate, learn how to say no with care.

Even if the customer is wrong, don’t be rude. In the digital age, your interactions with guests are highly visible and public. If you dispute or discredit what guests say, it comes off as defensive and shady.

If a guest demands something that you can’t possibly provide, let them down gently and professionally. Apologize for it, and if possible, offer alternatives to their request or compensation for the problem. In some situations, it may help to calmly explain why you are unable to fulfill their request. A little more understanding of a situation can also improve a customer’s disposition.

4. Consider what is right for your hotel.

The motto shouldn’t be followed so literally. You shouldn’t overhaul your business or add something ridiculous to your property just because one guest said so. Of course, it is important to note that it would be naive to think that every customer is great. In the hotel industry, there are bad and good guests. Although I like to think that the good guests far outnumber the bad, as a hotelier, you have to be alert to scammers. For the most part though, if you take the right precautions and procedures, your guests are likely reasonable people with reasonable wants and needs from hotels.

The customer is always right doesn’t mean that you always give the customer what they want. It means that you care about their experiences and want to ensure that they have the best stay possible. Managing guests and delivering quality guest service can surely take a lot of work.


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