As innkeepers we always provide service with a smile, right? In The B&B Team’s Aspiring Innkeepers Seminars we spend a good deal of time discussing service. We ask our attendees questions like…
Is the customer always right?
After some discussion, our response is NO, the customer is not always right. Thankfully that rude and offensive guest does not rear its ugly head often at bed and breakfasts. But when that occasional guest appears, it is memorable as well as challenging.
When a guest insults you or a member of your staff, makes unreasonable demands and complaints and all with the use of offensive language. Is this person always right? Of course not.
The fact is that some guests are just plain wrong and your business is better without them.
Today innkeepers can flag guests in their property management systems, making sure you or your staff doesn’t make the mistake of booking them in the future.
But how do you handle those guests during their stay? And how do you ‘encourage’ them to remove themselves? Service with a smile?
- Firmly explain that you do not tolerate certain kinds of behavior at your Inn.
- Suggest that if they are so unhappy with their stay they can leave and will not be charged.
OK, you may not be smiling during this conversation but you will be calm, collected and professional. As innkeepers, Rick and I only had to ’explain and suggest’ twice. Once to loud and intoxicated couples traveling (or should I say partying?) together. And once to a guest who made a very offensive and discriminatory statement in front of us and other guests. They both took our ‘suggestion’ and departed.
We recently had a conversation with Siobhan Kelly, innkeeper with partner Katja of the Towne Motel in Camden Maine. She told us a great story. Her mother owned the High Tide in Camden on the coast of Maine in the 80’s. Siobhan helped her Mom at the inn during the summers while in grad school. She remembers the method her Mom used when dealing with unhappy guests at check-in. She would simply take an eraser (remember those?) and erase the reservation in the ledger right in front of them. …
“Mom would try to work with them–offer a different room if she could, for example–but if they couldn’t be pleased, the eraser came out, Mom handed back their deposit, and said she’s sure they’d be happy elsewhere. Backtracking at this point was in vain: they weren’t staying there!”
Read more in detail about the legality of Guest Removal in an article from US Legal.
As I mentioned before, the rude and offensive guest appears rarely. Good innkeepers have a caring attitude, are flexible and have a genuine commitment to the guest. Offering genuine service with a smile means your guests are smiling too. And in 99.9% of the time, they do.
Thanks for Listening,