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5 Hotel Staff Behaviors That Frustrate and Turn Away Guests

Hotel Staff Behavior That Frustrate

Keep an eye out for these frustrating staff traits that drive guests to your competitors.

No matter how nice your rooms are or how many outstanding amenities and services your hotel offers, one rude, angry or indifferent staff member can ruin the guest experience for many.

In fact, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents ranked “unfriendly staff” as the most frustrating part of any hotel stay, according to “Hotels at Face Value,” a report from hospitality technology platform Alice.

“When booking hotels, nearly three in five (59 percent) guests who prioritize amenities care most about high ratings and reviews, and almost half (49 percent) prioritize friendly hotel staff, calling attention to the need for hoteliers to ensure staff are attentive and welcoming, delivering more favorable guest experiences to ultimately drive positive reviews,” says the Alice report.

But it’s not only unfriendly staff that turn off guests. Employees who don’t come through on their promises or take too long to provide guest services are also on the list of guest frustrations.

More than one-third (38 percent) of survey respondents say they become frustrated when front desk staffers take too long to fulfill their requests, according to the Alice report. And 31 percent cited “delays in service” from hotel staff as a top pet peeve.

When those frustrations add up, guests may turn to another hotel chain for their next stay. But even one bad run-in with staff can send them packing.

“A sole instance of poor service might lead your guests to switch to your competitors,” says online hotel management system eZee Absolute. “Treating every customer with the utmost respect and listening to their complaint helps in serving them a better guest experience.”

If disgruntled guests post about their bad hotel staff experience on social media platforms, that could also deter lots of potential guests who might otherwise have booked your hotel.

So, what are the most off-putting staff behaviors?

Read on to learn more about the effects of unfriendly staff and how to make sure that hotel staffers appreciate the value of offering a friendly and helpful guest experience.

1. Unfriendliness

Unfriendliness can come across in many ways. Maybe a front desk staffer avoids eye contact and doesn’t smile while checking in a guest. Perhaps a staffer having a bad day exudes hostility that makes a guest feel less than welcome. Maybe the staff minding the breakfast buffet is slamming metal pans around a little too hard out of frustration because they’re short-staffed.

Any staffer can have an off day, but when their unfriendly behavior affects your guests’ experience and ultimately, your bottom line, it’s time to take action. Address the importance of friendliness privately with the offending staffer and in general at staff meetings. When staff is friendly, commend them and encourage more of the same.

2. Indifference

Hotel staffers don’t have to be unfriendly to put off guests. Simple indifference will have the same effect. For example, if a guest complains about their room not being cleaned properly, it’s not enough for the staff member to listen with little interest to the complaint.

Train staff to record guest complaints and concerns, letting the guest know they’ll look into it and correct the situation. Then make sure they follow up.

3. Distraction

Few things are more irritating than waiting at the front desk while a hotel staffer ignores you because they’re on a personal phone call or scrolling through social media. Stress to staff the importance of being fully present and engaged while attending to guests.

4. Anger

We’ve all been there. Some guests are difficult, demanding and even rude. Others are just having a frustrating day with annoyances that exceed their capacity to handle things well. But getting angry at the guest will only drive that guest to competitors for their next stay.

Working with staff on how to de-escalate a tense situation will benefit staff and guests alike. When you notice a staffer calming a guest that walks away happy, let them know they did an outstanding job.

5. Poor performance

While some employees may slack on their duties, most want to do their jobs well. So, if a staff member isn’t getting things done on time or taking care of their job duties, it may be that the person wasn’t properly trained and/or needs additional training.

If the employee’s guest-burning behavior continues, address their poor performance privately and provide them with clear expectations of how and when they must complete their duties.