Guest Requests: What’s in Your Service Recovery Toolkit?



Kicking off my on-the-road Interview Series with hotel ServicePro customers is Tony Gravley, Chief Engineer of Comfort Inn Gunston Corner, Lorton, VA. “We were the first PM Hospitality property to use hotel ServicePro mobile and we love it,” Tony reports. “I use hotel ServicePro for everything, but my morning wake-up call.”

I was wowed this month at the PM Hospitality Strategies, Inc. annual conference for executive housekeepers and chief engineers in Dulles, Virginia.  PM Hospitality used hotel ServicePro’s Guest Requests software to record 27,000 guest requests in 2011! hotel ServicePro calculated the top requests for the company’s entire portfolio, as well as for each property. Can you guess what ranked number one?

Everyone in the conference room knew the answer before I even shared my analysis. They had all been running hotel ServicePro reports for themselves.

The top two guest requests across the PM Hospitality portfolio were:

  • malfunctioning television remote controls and
  • HVAC systems.

The buzz at the conference was how to boost profitability in 2013. One answer is to minimize guest requests by using hotel ServicePro to spot and reverse trends. For example, room attendants can regularly test TV remotes and the HVAC systems to reduce service calls.

PM Hospitality also set a goal to reduce housekeeping costs. Did you know that saving one minute per room attendant per day, can save as much as $50,000/day across an entire company? (Total savings vary with the size of your company, of course.) One PM Hospitality property is already using hotel ServicePro to address its number one housekeeping guest request—extra towels. Filling that request takes a room attendant at least two minutes, often longer.  Routinely placing an extra towel in each room will save those minutes and move the company one step closer to the five-figure savings.

Use hotel ServicePro to identify trending guest requests—such as malfunctioning TV remotes. Set a schedule for regular battery replacement to save time and money, and spell guest satisfaction.

Once hotel ServicePro records a guest request, it creates and automatically tracks a service recovery call. The courtesy callback reminder prompts managers to ensure that problems get resolved to guests’ satisfaction.

In my opinion, graciously resolving a guest request takes three essential steps:

  1. Acknowledge the issue. Don’t make an excuse. Say “thank you for letting us know.”
  2. Apologize.
  3. Offer a guest recovery amenity as a thank you for the feedback.

The amenity doesn’t have to be expensive. When I was a general manager, I made handwritten thank you notes ahead of time. If I wasn’t on the property, someone could put a note in the guest room with my business card and cell phone number. I got very few calls, but the sentiment takes down the barrier between guests and management.

Service recovery at its most gracious: a handwritten thank-you note for a guest request. hotel ServicePro sends automatic callback reminders to check that incidents have been resolved to guests’ satisfaction.

As a GM, I also carried Starbucks gift cards in my pocket. It was my way of saying, “My apologies for your inconvenience. Let me buy you a cup of coffee on the way out of town.” I spent $5 on the card, but saved a $120 refund on an entire night’s stay.

Every front desk needs a service recovery arsenal. What’s in your toolkit?

Let me know, and look for me on the road next month when I’ll be talking to you about how to use hotel ServicePro Work Orders to make operations more profitable and efficient.

I look forward to spring (and of course pool season!), and I hope to see you soon.


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