Back to Hotel Basics: Service Recovery

When a hotel services tens of thousands of guests each year, complications are bound to arise. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  No hotel is perfect and complaints pop up despite the best of intentions.  Service recovery, or how a hotel handles these issues, can make or break subsequent ratings and reviews.


Be One Step Ahead

The best way to provide a positive on-site experience is to stay one step ahead of potential problems. One way to do this is by monitoring feedback and common gripes to find solutions preemptively and train staff to identify and react to guest complaints properly.  Hotels should take advantage of slow seasons for general maintenance, property upgrades, and service recovery training. These simple steps help resolve minor complaints and save a hotel’s reputation. 


Be Accessible

Most guests understand that unforeseen issues come up and communication throughout the service recovery is a crucial piece of a proper response.  In most cases, front desk staff will be the first people to react to service issues.  They should be able to acknowledge and empathize with a guest issue, but more importantly, they need to be empowered.  What tools and options are available to immediately solve a problem?  Can a guest be moved to a different room or can they be provided a refund for a service that wasn’t provided as expected?

TrustYou Messaging offers a seamless platform for guests and hotel staff to communicate throughout the process.  Not only can guests notify the hotel of possible problems in a convenient way, but hotel staff can forward the message on to the appropriate department.  As the property works toward a solution, guests are notified every step of the way. With TrustYou Messaging, you’ll reach guests through text messages, Facebook messenger, and e-mail to ensure guests are informed and satisfied with their stay.


Be On Top of the Situation

When the initial point of contact doesn’t have the ability to correct the problem, management needs to step in and follow-up.  A quick response is not only a great remedy but it also presents hotel staff as competent and helpful.  If the hotel is busy, a brief call to apologize and reassure the guest that steps are being taken to fix the problem will remind them that they are still a valued and important guest.

Unfortunately, some guests never provide feedback during their stay but then report a problem in an online review.  That makes it more difficult for a hotel to respond and correct the issue, but it shouldn’t be ignored.  Whenever possible, management should still implement service recovery techniques by providing a response.  Making an appropriate response still impacts word of mouth, social media sharing, and the chance for a guest to return on a future trip for a second chance at getting things right.


Be Honest and Upfront

Regardless of what the issue is, the most important thing to remember is not to offer anything that the property can’t follow through with.  Failing to deliver on a promise will make the hotel look like they dropped the ball a second time and solidifying a negative impression that otherwise could have been fixed.  If a guest requests something that the hotel is unlikely to provide, staff should offer an alternative solution.


It takes a long time to build a reputation, but only an instant to lose it.  Although problems arise, hotels can maintain goodwill simply by making guests feel like someone is listening and reacting to their concerns.  

Catalina Brinza

Catalina is a social media and data enthusiast. At TrustYou, she's on a mission to bring the most out of travel and hospitality data. One day, she hopes to experience Japan's culture to its fullest.

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