You worked hard to get the promotion to hotel manager. And now the time has come for you to show your stuff. Some new managers are totally unprepared for the responsibilities of management. They often imitate the managers (good or bad) they’re replacing, or they become indecisive and constantly second guess every decision they make. Others simply “crash and burn.”
As a new hotel manager, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. And among the many challenges faced by all hotel managers is the finicky or overly demanding guest. Sometimes, it’s a VIP or celebrity with very specific and unusual demands. And, of course, there are the party-hearty musicians who leave your best suite a total mess. You should also know that most hotel companies use undercover inspectors who scrutinize everything from the bellman's shoes to the bathroom towels.
You no doubt rose to the position of hotel manager because you possessed the attributes of politeness and patience in the face of turmoil. You also demonstrated to upper management that you have the social and communication skills to do the job.
So now is the time to put those skills and abilities to the test—as you encounter your difficult guest. Keep in mind that such guests may have had a difficult day while traveling. They may have missed a flight, had their luggage damaged or misplaced, or simply had a bad day or a poor night's sleep. They may have arrived at your hotel with all this negative baggage already in their heads and just need someone or something to vent their frustrations upon. On the other hand, their problem may stem from something or someone in your hotel. Either way, here are some tips to help you deal:
You hear and understand. Acknowledge a guest's concerns by expressing their frustrations in your own words. Convince them that you totally understand their point of view.
Don't go on the defensive. Smile and keep everything on a professional level. Convince the guest that you're there to solve their problem and make them happy.
Keep a steady, friendly tone. Don't "dial up" the voice level regardless of how angry the guest may be getting. Keep it pleasant and conversational. Be wary of shifting into too serious a tone. And never be condescending.
Don't over promise. Some managers, in an effort to please a riled up guest, will make promises they can't keep. Be wary of this trap.
Nothing brings out a newly minted manager’s weaknesses than a demanding hotel guest. If you were born with natural people skills, you can survive the gauntlet of demands while still keeping your boss and other guests happy. Otherwise, you must rely on your training and the sage advice of any mentors that helped you move up.