Thursday, June 18, 2009

Be the perfect Hotel Guest!

Knowing how to behave and communicate well while staying at a hotel will help YOU have a better stay! The most important thing to keep in mind is to treat the hotel staff with respect, courtesy and understanding!


  • When checking in, always be polite, friendly and communicative. Never be snobby and, please, don't wear your sunglasses unless you actually have eye problems at that time. Eye contact is one of the most important things for a successful interpersonal exchange.
  • When checking in, don't ask "I'm a frequent guest here...can I have a Suite?", without familiarizing yourself FIRST with the current and upcoming occupancy of the hotel. You may ask the agent checking you in "Has the hotel been very busy these days?" and get a feel for the situation from there. If you are indeed a frequent guest on a reward system offered by the hotel chain and you have used your reward # for your reservation, stay assured that the best hotels will automatically upgrade you to a suite if it is available.
  • Don't flirt with the front desk agent. It is offensive and distracting, and creates a very uncomfortable interaction. It is possible that, depending on how the agent feels about your "flirty jokes", she will leave not so friendly comments about you in your account. Whoever pulls up your account will be able to read her notations about how you behaved at check-in.

  • IF your choice of room is NOT available, don't lose your temper and curse out the front desk agent. It is probably not her/his fault at all. Rooms are, most of the time, allocated to reservations long before your check-in time, and there are certain supervisors or controllers who are in charge of this. Losing your temper will NOT get you brownie points with anybody at the Front Desk, and you might end up NOT receiving any of your desired compensation (may this be free tickets to the shuttle to downtown, complimentary room service, a discounted rate, extra points on your rewards card etc)
  • Continuing, if your choice of room is not available, politely express your disappointment, and ask calmly "So, what do you think we can do about it?". Right there, the agent will understand your request for "something to be done", and will most likely give you options. Remember, however, for your future stays, call the hotel the day prior to your arrival, and confirm the room type you had requested. Explain to the agent on the line how important it is for you to have this type of room, and ask, always politely and very friendly, continuously repeating the agent's name on the phone while talking to her/him, if she/he could leave a note on your account for other agents to honour your room request (that means, not to move you/your reservation to another type of room).
  • IF the above mentioned step did not work out for you, know that there are situations beyond control of the Front Desk staff that could sometimes negatively affect other guests coming in (a group postponing their check-out, for example, will inevitably affect the room inventory somehow).

  • Remember your front desk agent's name and if you had a bellman escort you and your luggage to the room, remember his name as well. Try to establish a relationship with them, so that you become their guest. Throughout your stay, talk to them, ask them questions, and ask them for help if you need it. They will appreciate you trusting them and coming to them for help, and will be glad to offer you the best service. Tips are greatly appreciated (and, may I share my opinion, you should always tip good service), especially by valet-parking and bell stand staff. Front desk agents are not used to being tipped, but a "monetary gift" as a thank you on your day of checking out will never be forgotten.
  • Recognition goes a long way, and if you have 2 minutes (just 2 minutes!), fill out a guest comment card, acknowledging the people who gave you good service. Write down your name, contact information, and KNOW that these positive comments have a tremendous positive impact on hotel staff. They are read by management, and they are shared with other employees. It definitely helps ensure good service for other guests too!


Esperan├ža Futuro said...

Hello Denise!
Thank you for your tips, I jotted them down for future reference. As I am from abroad, some of this etiquette behavior does sometime not apply or is not acknoledge as important here in Brazil. Could you give me some feed back on that! And also, I will be staying in a Marriott in Thailand, Phuket. Are there any cultural difference I should know of when approaching the staff at the Marriott in Thailand? Thank you for your time!

Leticia Futuro

Denise Zaldivar with IES said...

Hello! Thank you for commenting on the blog! I understand that cultural differences might make the interpersonal exchange somewhat different at times. In Brazil, front desk agents could be slightly more personal, by wanting to know more about the guest's personal reasons for travelling, thus engaging in more personal talk while checking them in or out at hotels. Yet, they might feel, at the same time, a stronger "Power Distance" in relation to the guest (thinking they are superior hierarchically. There is an evident openness and friendliness in their tone of voice and body language, yet, they will not assume they are "equal" to you in "social rank". The norm, though, is to always remember to keep things at a professional level, and be able to read the guest's nonverbal clues. Southeast Aian customer service is TOP of the class. You might experience just about the best service you've ever had. Be corteous, smile and accept their hospitality with a smile, a nod and don't "feel bad" if you feel "too pampered"! Like Brazilians, they will also feel a stronger "Power Distance" towards you, different than most agents here in the U.S. Have a wonderful trip and thank you again for visiting my Blog!

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Anonymous said...

HI! as a 5 year veteran of hotel front desks, I would like to say a heart felt THANK YOU!!! all your points are dead on, and we at the desk truly do want to make your stay with our hotel (whether it be independent, Marriott, Hilton, Choice, or whatever) great! it is VERY hard to prevent all problems, but having a guest who is willing to state their issue and allow us to fix it is a blessing. i'm coming out of a sold out graduation weekend where nearly everything in this post was ignored and my whole staff feels like they were abused. it makes it hard to love your job when people get mad at you for things that were out of your control. if this post reaches even ONE of my future guests I'll be thrilled. and if it doesn't reach my hotel, i hope it reaches someone elses, because we all need some NICE in our day!