“11 Most Common Hospitality Mistakes and How to Avoid them”. This is a guest contribution by Ugo Ofordu – The operations manager at Curzon and Jones.
The hospitality industry is service-oriented. Service to customers has to be professional at all times. No room for a drop in the quality of service or continuous inconsistencies.
Considering the number of hospitality service providers growing by the day, it is of business brilliance to acquire and retain customers by maintaining and improving the quality of service. Not forgetting to mention the unique selling point that stands you out of the crowd in the business.
Like every other business, hospitality has its own challenges from man-power, wrong decision making to seasonality just to mention a few.
Listed below are some of the mistakes in the hospitality industry.
11 Most Common Hospitality Mistakes and How to Avoid them
1. Disregarding feedback:
Most guests read online reviews of hotels before making a choice. Not paying attention to feedback from guests will impact negatively on the online reservation stream. When the negative reviews outweigh the positive reviews without follow up responses by the hotel, online potential bookers become apprehensive and look for alternatives within the same star grade and pricing. Most hotels offer feedback forms either at check out or in the room.
An in-house guest with an unpleasant experience is easier to manage than a checked-out guest. It is professional to create a “courtesy call” routine daily to get real-time feedback from guests before the checkout date.
The receptionist or guest relations person initiates the calls to all occupied rooms to get feedback on their stay so far. It is also important to get these negative feedback complaints fixed as soon as possible. Follow up with the guest to show you care about their stay.
Guests’ feedback helps the hotel to know the areas of operation to improve on or maintain the standard on. Feedback can also lead to the introduction of innovate services to meet customers’ demands.
Read Also: How To Start Hotel Business In Nigeria
2. Unprofessional customer service:
Uncouth staff members have a higher chance of determining if a guest returns or not than other factors. Body language, eye contact, choice of word and grooming are the most visible customer service interface.
Peoples’ religion, culture, gender, and beliefs must be put into high consideration when interacting and providing a service. A superb customer service delivery can almost guarantee that a guest will not only return but also make referrals.
Customer service covers all areas of the hotel. It is not only the responsibility of the receptionist and waiters but the responsibility of every staff in the guest service area to be professional in approach and appearance.
A hotel or restaurant that relays largely on referrals and repeat guests will definitely run out of business in the nearest future.
The hotel needs to do marketing to stay competitive and relevant in the industry. The reach of marketing cannot be underestimated.
The world has moved ahead from referrals and repeat guests to solidifying their grip on the largely available guests from all over the world by providing extras services that normally would have been considered ‘‘luxurious” a few years back.
Nowadays, some hotels do complimentary pick-up and drop off, welcome drink, turndown service with chocolate, etc.
Guests should be able to know what you are offering from anywhere in the globe. An interactive website, online ads, magazines, newspapers, radio and TV commercials, etc.
Marketing is a continuous process. It helps to balance the deficit that may be experienced during the low season in hospitality.
4. High/Low seasons:
Most hotels/restaurants do not put into recognizance that the hospitality has its low and peak seasons. When the peak and low periods are established, it is always brilliant to plan ahead to sustain the business.
A hotel during a low season cannot be as expensive as it was in the peak season. The room prices may need to be reviewed to encourage guests limited by budget to come to stay (longer) in the hotel.
The low season may include religious periods of fasting, election duration (voting and announcing results), weather report and the first few months of every year (mid-January until about April).
Rainy season and fasting periods disrupt business for most restaurant owners here in Nigeria.
Peak season may include during election campaigns, Christmas and New Year, summertime and during a major event in town.
Read Also: Profitability of hotel business in Nigeria
5. Poorly serviced room:
Poorly cleaned and maintained rooms will cause dissatisfaction and affect repeat guests. Not ignoring the bad online reviews that may come with it.
When guests do not get value for their money, they make alternative plans. Air conditioning, hot water, water pressure, bad mattress, linens and towers, ambiance, poor TV signal are some of the major complaints about rooms.
It is more frustrating for guests where they are moved to another room and they experience the same or even worse challenges from the previous room.
Housekeeping needs to be a step ahead of guests’ expectations in cleaning rooms. A few in-house guests may not necessarily patronize the restaurant or bar in a hotel but will definitely appreciate it when their room is on point!
Room amenities readily available, room smelling fresh, dust-free, well washed and ironed linens, good TV signal, working intercom, working room electronic safe and so on.
6. Staff welfare:
Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group was quoted on the 3rd of February, 2018 during an interview saying, “Clients do not come first.
Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” Opinions may defer on this. However, the crux here is that when staff members are treated fairly in remunerations and entitlements, they tend to put in their very best efforts by going the extra mile.
An average Nigerian worker knows what is expected (job description) but would rather look for excuses to avoid putting intangible effort to make the job go smooth. The same average performance is passed on to the guest either consciously or unconsciously.
Providing a staff meal is a necessity. Where there is denied the staff, they would turn to the kitchen to steal food. They may upgrade they act by taking money from sales to buy food.
To discourage this behavior, it is recommended providing a meal per shift to staff members.
7. Wrong pricing:
Charging too much without the value for money is a wrong move in the wrong direction.
Guests and customers do not mind paying more for quality and professional services. They feel cheated off their money when the price does not equate to the service rendered.
When a 3-star hotel is charging more than a 4-star hotel, the guest needs to sense the reason from the entrance of the premises. Personalized services tailored to make the guest’s needs must be topnotch and timely. No room for too many excuses or delays.
When the high price is unjustifiable, the guest becomes uncomfortable and seeks alternative hotels leaving with a bad taste in their mouths.
8. False advert:
False or misleading adverts tend to infuriate guests and customers in no little way. Pictures of rooms or meals displayed online are not what they see when they arrive.
It is at the reception terms and conditions or clauses are unprofessionally explained and mishandled making the customer look helpless.
This kind of behavior is detrimental to the business image.
Improper handling of a reservation is equally as unprofessional as the above mentioned. It can be unforgiven to arrive for dinner in a fancy restaurant or check-in at a hotel and you discover your reservation is unmade or unfound. Such a situation still happens even with reservation and confirmation numbers.
No explanation can suffice for this unethical action. The customer or guest will be upset at least to say. It leaves a bitter experience in the mind of the customer and the tendency for repeat business is slim.
Other customers/guests watching the back and forth argument unfold will also be skeptical about their reservations in the future with the hotel or restaurant.
10. Price change after a reservation:
A change in the price of a reservation upon arrival is awkwardly discomforting to the guest or customer. This can negatively alter the fixed budget of any guest especially when it is a price hike.
This can be frustrating to the guest. The impression would be that of an unprofessional place.
Review and referral would not be positive.
Customers and guests easily get turned off when there is no continuity in the quality of service. It is either the quality is maintained or improved. When the service fluctuates every time of visit, the customer becomes anxious and not knowing what to expect next.
In some hotels, you can easily hear a repeat guest asking the receptionist, “Hope I’m getting a good room today”. Some restaurant customers will ask the waiter, “Hope your soup taste has improved? I need to know before I order”. These comments are bad for business.
Every hospitality business outfit needs to observe and look out for these common mistakes to avoid a continued decline in revenue.
If you are setting up a hotel or restaurant and would like to know more, firstname.lastname@example.org (operations manager) can assist.
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