Tips to Complaining at the Front Desk of a Hotel

Image from the Hotel Urban:

Image from the Hotel Urban:

Everyone wants to enjoy their stay at a hotel. But we all live in the real world – things go wrong. And when things go wrong there are usually a variety of responses. These responses fall into two categories: Emotional and non-emotional. Emotional responses usually hijack us and focus our energies on how we feel about what went wrong rather than on doing anything constructive about it.

Unfortunately it’s usually the staff at the front desk who bear the brunt of hotel complaints. If food and beverage department are the stomach of a hotel, concierge is the back, then the front Office staff are the face. They are the ones through whom just about everything is channeled. They are the ones asked to ‘do something about it’. And they are the ones usually held responsible (whether or not they actually are).

When problems arise the goal should be to rectify them rather than to vent. With that in mind, here are some tips for dealing with front office staff should things go awry during your next stay:

  1. Be specific about your complaint. As much as possible know the time, place and details of the incident. This will allow staff to get moving towards a solution faster and more effectively.
  2. Try to remember names. Especially remember the name of the staff member to whom you made the initial complaint. Sometimes, with shift changes for example, information gets lost. Knowing the name of the person actioning your complaint gives incoming staff a central resource.
  3. Always feel comfortable asking to speak to management if you’re unhappy with how things are progressing. That’s what they are there for. Even though staff will be doing all they can to rectify your problem, sometimes they either lack the authority or reach to do so.
  4. Remember you are dealing with people, not lackeys. The people at the front desk are often the most highly qualified and busy people in the building; so don’t talk down to them or be dismissive.
  5. As an adjunct to the above, don’t start by asking to speak to a manager because you think front office staff are incapable. With their considerable responsibility comes far-reaching powers, you’d be surprised what these people can do on their own initiative.

Staff at the front office want you to be happy. Being angry, disappointed or dismissive neither helps you, nor helps them to help you. Next time things go wrong during your hotel sojourn remember these five suggestions – and have a good stay.

This article was brought to you by Hotel Urban – a unique Melbourne Hotel perfect for business or pleasure.



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