As much as you may try, the hotel business is not perfect, and therefore there will be times when you will have guests waiting in the lobby for a room. Of course, guests hate this and try to avoid waiting for too long. Still, as a business, some situations occur because they are unavoidable, it is then left to you to try to change your guests’ perception of your business, especially first-time guests.
On the rare occasion that it happens that there are no rooms readily available and prepared to be checked into, or there is a mix up which is affecting guest’s ability to check-in to their room, or you are experiencing technical difficulties, there are a couple of things that you can do to keep your guests. They are not secure ways to guarantee that guests won’t form the wrong opinion about your hotel, but they will definitely help you to keep the guests.
Address them politely
In case guests arrive before their check-in time, or they come at an inappropriate time when cleaning is going on, or their desired room is not available, address them politely and explain things to them. Guest do not like being kept waiting with no explanation or no one to talk to them. Whether it’s your fault that the room is ready, or it’s theirs for arriving earlier than expected without prior notification, put that aside. Do not push blame around the hotel staff too on whose fault it is that things are disorganized. Engage them politely and help them understand that preparation is going on to check them in and make their stay as comfortable and possible.
Make them comfortable Although they are waiting in the lobby, try as much as possible to make your waiting guests comfortable. Give them good sitting spots and complimentary drinks on the house, or even free slap-up meals. Relieve them of their bags and help them to settle. If they have kids, you can help them locate the kids’ area and the restroom. Inform them of the many convinence they have access to and help them to settle. You can spare an available makeshift room if the waiting guests are a large family with kids or if they had been on a long trip.
Check up on them
Even when you have made your quests comfortable, endeavor to check up on them from time to time. Do not simply leave them and wander off doing other things. At intervals, call the waiting area to talk to them or have staff check up on them, asking if they need other stuff at the moment. This way, they do not feel neglected, ignored, and unimportant. Checking up on guests waiting for a room from time to time acknowledges that they are there.
Offer them alternatives
If the rooms they initially booked are not available, offer them alternatives. Give them information about how much they will be saving by choosing the option, how long they have to use the alternative, the facilities available in the alternative, the advantages they will enjoy, and many more. Offer them a twin room if they have initially asked for a double room, and help them to understand the differences between the two. Do this if you are sure that the requested room will not be available for a long while or if there are still people occupying it and won’t be checking out for a day or two.
Give them discounts
When it is finally time to check-in or when your guests have agreed to use the offered alternative, offer them discounts if you can afford to. Another sure way to ensure that they take your proposed alternative is by providing them a discount. For instance, the available room- a duplex room might be more expensive than the requested room- a double deluxe room. This means your guests might not be able to afford it. However, with the considerable discount offered, they will be able to take you up on the offer and get settled in a room as soon as possible Give our guests a deal to help them settle on picking a new room faster.
Give out gift cards and discount coupons.
If you have gift cards and coupons from the art galleries, restaurants, fast food places, or even spas around the hotel or in town, now is an excellent time to hand them out. These incentives help you to send your guests away for some time while you continue to make all plans to get their rooms ready. Hand out discount coupons for interesting places and give them directions to locate them quickly. This is especially good if you do not want to crowd the waiting area. Encourage them to go for a ride, visit the spa, or some other local places of interest to have fun. In the case that you do not have any of this readily available, it would be good to have a standing agreement with those places nearby. You can have guests directed to them from your hotel enjoy a specific discount on payment costs.
Let them explore the hotel.
In the case that you do not have places to visit nearby, allow your guests to explore the hotel. They could spend time beside the swimming pool, visit the hotel spa, the casino, or even the gaming center. Provide them with little things on the house and help them have fun while waiting for their room to be ready.
Speed up the process
Find put whatever is delaying the check-in and speed up the process. Are there guests waiting to check out of the room? Is cleaning going on? Are the previous occupiers still packing? Does the room need some special services from the plumber or other handyman? Figure out what needs to be done and do it fast! Have more staff on the cleaning to hasten it, call in a handyman if that is what you need. Your guests can only stay outside wandering for a limited time; they get agitated as time pass, especially if they have been on a long flight and need to rest. Coordinate your staff and keep checking the room’s status until it is ready for use, then help to get your guests settled as soon as possible.
Prioritize the room
Is there an order to which cleaning takes place in your hotel? Move up the room’s hierarchy since the guests are around. The housekeeping department may not be aware that the guests who reserved a particular room have arrived. Therefore they may continue to use the usual order of check out to clean the room. Inform them of the latest developments so that they can move up the room on the list of places to attend and have it cleaned out and ready in no time for the guests.
Give your guest the key.
While explaining the situation at hand, you may still go-ahead to give your guests the key. This way, they know that they still have their reservation and have a room at the hotel. Giving them the key assures them that they will soon be moved into an appropriate accommodation and only have to wait for a little while.
Giving the key earlier, though, has its downsides as well because some guests may go-ahead to the hotel room when it is not ready. Therefore, giving the guest keys is only advised when you are sure they won’t go ahead immediately. Better still, give the key with instructions on the estimated time of entry.
Think outside the box
As mentioned earlier, these ways are no sure-fire ways to help you keep a guest; they can only help you maintain your guests’ temper and keep you on the good list. When you can’t find out the best way to treat a guest or address a waiting situation here, you must think outside of the box. Different situations require different approaches. Therefore it is left to you to come up with the best way to treat a guest. Offering large family different rooms in exchange for their requested room may not be a good move for the books. It can confuse, especially if other people have booked those rooms before.
Having an “on queue” or “wait” room situation is not inevitable for hotels, especially during the high seasons. However, it can always be maintained and used to the hotel’s advantage when the managers and staff handle it calmly and do the necessary things. You do not have to panic during times like this; you can only hope to impress the guest enough with your services and make things faster so that they are not spending a lot of time waiting outside in the lobby.
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