Nagging hotel guests are excellent for sales! … if you listen carefully … and draw the right conclusions …

A good marketing strategy, the right guests and occupancy and sales will sort themselves. If only it were that simple.

But (hotel) life is not perfect and when people come together, different expectations and personalities meet. That doesn’t always go smoothly … and that’s how complaints come about.

It may not be pleasant, but listen carefully!

Because this is the opportunity to view and understand problems from your guests’ perspective.

These are the moments when guests tell you what they really think.

Why is that important? If you want more direct bookings and more sales, you need to persuade, and that works best if you know the other person very well. Talking to guests and especially the problematic ones provides you with valuable insights and information.

People are always on the lookout for solutions to their problems. Show your guests you understand their requirements and issues (and offer the solutions), and you will get their attention. Website visitors will notice your hotel and your copy will pull them in. They feel a connection; you gain their trust and it’s now much easier to convert visitors into hotel guests.

An organizer’s biggest worry? The mike (or mic :)) stops working in the middle of the lecture. Spell it out. Show them why that it won’t happen in your hotel, or if it does, how smoothly and easily you’ll handle it.

Most hoteliers think they know what their guests want, but have you ever asked directly? The result might surprise you …

At times, you’ll also come across some … special … challenges.

Why else would a guest enter his elegant penthouse suite with a rooftop terrace and immediately complain about the view? (It’s 11:00 p.m. and pitch-black outside, with a few lights in the distance.)

Or why does another hotel guest seem to notice nothing about the unique state-of-the-art fitness studio that’s at his disposal, but immediately asks for the manager when, inside, he realizes that the TV program is missing his favorite station.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes there are good reasons to complain. If your toilet is overflowing for the third time in a row, or if your room neighbor is dancing naked in the hotel hallway all night long, I’d strongly recommend you notify management.

Even in a very well managed hotel, nothing always works 100%.

The affected hotel guests will point out the issue, you’ll take care of the problem and with a small gesture of goodwill the matter will – hopefully – be resolved.

There are other guests who complain on principle and get upset about every little thing. (.. preferably in the middle of a huge arrival)

For these guests, the alleged complaint is often only a means to an end. In truth, they feel offended by the lack of attention they received.

And then there’s the category “informed consumers.”

These days, we’re literally trained to find mistakes to

  1. a) receive a refund or
  2. b) get a discount,

because we know exactly what the “price-performance ratio” is all about.

Don’t get annoyed but use the complaint material to make your hotel marketing more effective.

Success and increased sales depend on impressive hotel rooms and chic interior design. You think that’s how your guests look at it as well? Or is maybe something else much more important to them? Are we missing something here?

Take a business coach, for example. When he made his reservation, he explained that he’d stay one night and prepare for a very important presentation the following day.

The reception at the hotel is friendly and helpful, and the room is fine. So far, so good.

Then he receives the first call: “We heard that you’ve got an important presentation tomorrow, and we’ve checked all devices and the internet, to make sure you can work undisturbed. If there’s anything else, we can do…” WOW!

A few hours later there’s the second call: “We didn’t see you at dinner, you’re probably still at it. Can we send something to the room?” WOW!

The next morning there is a coffee for him, even before the restaurant officially opens, and when he leaves, the receptionist wishes him “Good luck!” WOW!

Three small gestures and three touch points that turned the hotel into something outstanding and special for our coach..

It’s that easy to make a hotel experience memorable for your guests.

Find out what “problems” your guests have and help them solve it.

Some come to your hotel to celebrate, others have to close an important business deal, and others long for a relaxing weekend.

There are guests who have saved up for a real special treat. They book the cheapest available room and are now looking forward to their dream stay. After all, they invested a lot. Expectations are high and anything that goes wrong now is a major disaster in their eyes. It would destroy their dream and the disappointment would be grave.

Or you have guests visiting, who hope to solve their relationship issues while on vacation.

If you’ve ever been in the hotel lobby of a holiday hotel during the Christmas holidays, you know what I’m talking about. Bunches of tired people arrive; dark circles under their eyes and determined to make this vacation week or two the best of their life. THE opportunity to leave behind the stress in the office, have fun, get closer and re-bond. This rarely works and is one reason the complaints in a holiday hotel are usually at an all-time high during Christmas.

What I’m trying to say is this: Hotel guests often complain because they have emotional needs. They crave attention … They don’t buy a splendid room or nice interior. They long for a hotel experience that makes them feel good, where someone “cares” about them, a little pleasure and maybe even a few moments of happiness.

Isn’t a hotel the perfect place for such a dream?

Like any good host, sometimes it’s just a matter of truly listening and, with a small gesture here and there, show the other one that he/she is important to us.

That’s what leaves wonderful memories in the minds of your guests.

We all yearn for recognition. If we get it, we feel strong, happy and motivated.

Logistics, strategies and sales are important criteria, but maybe we sometimes lose sight of what is even more important: The people in our hotel – it all revolves around our team and our guests.

So, if you are facing the next guest who is complaining, listen carefully to what he says or does not say and read between the lines …

Because this question is also an option: “How come we always attract people that do not appreciate what we offer? Is there maybe a problem with our marketing?”

The more you know about your guests, the better.

What do your dream guests say, what words and phrases do they use? What statements keep coming up again and again? Persuade your guests with powerful reasons, trigger their emotions and show them what a superb host you are!

Want more direct bookings and the right guests?

Then I’ve go something for you!