Running a Successful Guest Services Desk

Dr. Ryan Giffen

Almost everyone has heard the phrase, “the customer is always right.” While there may be exceptions to this rule, it is often true. In the hotel industry customers are referred to guests, and it is true that they are almost always "right". This maxim is even more important in the hotel industry, as they have a role dedicated to guest services. The guest services desk is a critical part of hotel operations. Surprisingly, it is also one that is far too commonly neglected by both staff and patrons. Here are some easy yet important ways to improve your guest services desk operations.

Guest Services Before Arrival

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that proper guest services start before a guest even arrives at the hotel. The hotel webpage should be clear and straightforward to allow guests to find exactly what they need. It should also have properly located booking links so that they can make their reservation conveniently. 

This results in a much smoother check-in process. The guest service personnel should focus on making their stay personal and pleasant. 

Making a Personal Connection with Guests

Another way to greatly improve guest services is by making a personal connection with guests. This can also begin before they arrive at the hotel. Some hotels do this by getting in touch with them through social media or web forms. In addition, learn more about your guests so that you can make small adjustments to personalize their experience. A personalized experience will make an impact on guests and they will be more likely to come back. They will also be more likely to write a glowing review and recommend the hotel to their family and friends. 

The Importance of Guest Feedback

A critical factor in the area of guest services and relations is feedback. Guests should be receiving emails and satisfaction surveys after their stay so that they can relay their feedback. This feedback is the best way for the hotel to find out what they need to improve upon. Guest feedback can also be used in conjunction with marketing data to create new promotions. Often guest feedback is used to perform needed renovations that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Hire the Right Person for the Guest Services Job

It is important to have the right person operating the guest services desk. It is not going to do any good to have a disgruntled or impersonal employee over the guest services desk. In fact, this could cause rough repercussions like bad reviews and non-returning guests. When hiring someone for guest services, the employee should be pleasant and personable. This way, they will be able to handle guest concerns or requests and make it the best possible stay. 

Streamlining with Technology

Technology can help the guest services desk operate much more fluidly. This includes having an up to date booking system that allows guests to book directly through the hotel website. A channel management system is also important. Channel management streamlines the process of selling hotel rooms to various agents. This cuts down on tedious administrative tasks. This could also include upgrading or adding various technical amenities within the hotel. Consider amenities such as charging stations, smart keys for rooms, apps, and more. Guests will love being able to book quickly and enjoy the amenities during their stay. 

About Dr. Ryan Giffen

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Ryan Giffen is an expert in human relations and business culture. His career began in hospitality, leading operations and human resource departments for Fortune 500 companies and the like. Not long after, Ryan found his passion for teaching and consulting. He earned a Ph.D. in Hospitality Management with a Human Resources focus from Iowa State University and now works as an assistant professor at California State University, Long Beach. For over a decade, he continues to research and speak on organizational culture, relationship intelligence, and leadership effectiveness. Ryan is also the founder of Inospire, a company helping bosses and employees build stronger relationships with one another.  Lastly, Dr. Giffen is producer and host of the Corporate Shadow Podcast. a show helping everyday employees overcome workplace nonsense.