How To Handle Hotel Guest Complaints

How to handle hotel guest complaints is through attentiveness. Such attentiveness requires the obvious, which is attention, along with genuine sensitivity and substantiation. When a guest believes there is cause to lodge a complaint, the expectation of an effect exists. Almost all guest compliments are received by the hotel’s front desk staff. As hotels constitute a major portion of the hospitality field, excellence in customer service for guests is an industry standard. While a hotel provides accommodations, it is at the discretion of front desk staff to provide guest services. These services also encompass the occasional opportunity to resolve hotel guest complaints.

To handle hotel guest complaints, you will benefit from a familiarity in or with:

  • Knowledge of relevant hotel policy
  • Front desk guest parameters
  • Managerial resources
  • Maintenance access
  • Customer service
  • Resolution expertise
  • Retention skills
  • Diplomacy
  • Patience


  1. Listen attentively to the hotel guest’s complaint. It is important for a desk clerk—or any other member of the hotel’s staff—to make eye contact upon listening to the guest. The desk clerk should maintain serious facial expression, and poise in posture that demonstrates attention. Avoid any temptation to interrupt or interject while the guest is voicing a complaint. This strategy shows respect to a guest that is dissatisfied, while it enables the desk clerk to understand the problem.
  2. Identify with the hotel guest. Rather than to express an all-so-common, “I am sorry,” sincerely acknowledge with a full apology for the guest’s unfortunate experience or inconvenience. Apologizing does not reflect upon a desk clerk’s representation, though rather and appropriately on the behalf of the hotel. When a hotel representative identifies with the guest, an opportunity to establish communication and confidence is possible.
  3. Assess the complaint. In a proactive manner, substantiate any circumstance or issues that are adversely impacting the guest’s hotel stay. In a feasible fashion, promptly advise this guest that a solution to the problem will be sought. Display sensitivity, and inquire of the guest if any form of temporary comfort or convenience may suffice while this complaint receives attention. If at all possible, deliver on what the guest may temporarily request. Should the interim request be impossible to provide, suggest other momentary alternatives that are available.   
  4. Consider the guest’s complaint. Quickly categorize the complaint as to its origin—essential, amenity or service. Determine how the complaint ranks in its severity. Decide the best course of action to seek a resolution. Contemplate if such a complaint is within the scope of the hotel’s front desk to resolve, or will it necessitate a more extensive or external option.
  5. Plot the course towards resourceful action. Use the origin of a guest’s complaint to seek resources. Decipher if the nature of the matter is a housekeeping, maintenance, amenity, or service issue. Draw upon a responsible hotel source that correlates with whatever matter is at cause for the complaint.
  6. Delegate a complaint to the appropriate resource. For an optimum resolution, immediately make all possible efforts to contact the appropriate member of hotel personnel. Upon reaching the applicable staff member, thoroughly, though concisely, explain the guest’s complaint. Inquire of the responsible staff member as to how the issue will be resolved, and the approximate time that it may take to remedy such a posed situation.
  7. Apprise the guest of action. Advise the inconvenienced guest as to how this hotel is progressing to resolve an unacceptable situation. Should the scope of the problem be excessive in either scope or time frame, then take a different course of action, and accommodate the guest.
  8. Compensate for the hotel’s mishap. When a guest’s complaint has been addressed and resolved, do not let the inconvenience pass without retribution. Dependent upon the infraction, present this guest with extra amenities, service, upgrade, or even an additional night’s stay. Through such an ethical act of hospitality, both guest retention and satisfaction are achieved.
  9. If circumstances are at an extreme, exercise alternative options. Should the complaint, upon validation, be to the extremes that exceed a reasonable remedy, relocate the guest to equal or greater accommodations—without any further charges.



Customer Retention


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