hrg-complaint resolution global
Post on 30-Oct-2014
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Complaint ResolutionInformation you need to effectively handle complaints to maintain excellent guest satisfaction. Guests dont always feel comfortable bringing their concerns to the attention of hotel staff. Understandably, this can sometimes cause frustration when your goal is to maintain excellent guest satisfaction. The Hospitality Promise was designed to encourage communication between guest and hotel but is also a promise designed to satisfy our guests even after they have left the hotel. Guest Relations aim is to work with you in resolving customer concerns. Hotels are notified of guest contacts through WebGURU which can be found in Merlin / Applications. Your hotel will have the opportunity of viewing these cases and provide a resolution within 48 hours for those that have been referred. When complaints are resolved on a hotel level and the guest is satisfied, there is no need for the guest to contact Guest Relations. Keep in mind it is less costly to satisfy a guest on the front end rather than when they contact Guest Relations and a Case Management fee is often generated in addition to any compensation. Try to encourage open communications between your guests and staff. Follow up every check-in with a courtesy call to the room.
Customer ServiceThis section details basic customer service techniques, including communication tips and helpful dialogue. These techniques should be applied to all guest interactions. Guest Facts Satisfied guests come back. Customer service builds repeat business for your hotel and increases brand loyalty. Satisfied guests will tell their friends. Guest service is an excellent advertising tool; word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Dissatisfied guests provide important feedback. Feedback from guests will help you detect problem areas in your hotel organization and enable you to take corrective action. It is six times more expensive to acquire a new guest than it is to retain an old one. Good customer service not only corrects the damage, but gives your organization a strategic advantage over your competitors. You will see that your profits will rise with longevity; the longer you keep a guest, the more they are worth to you. The better guests know and trust you, the more they are willing to buy from you, and hence the better you get to know and serve them. It is inevitable that you will deal with dissatisfied customers at some time and it may be demanding. By making every effort to resolve all complaints while the guest is still on property, almost every problem can be resolved. In failing to deal adequately with a disappointed guest at an initial stage, you are actually creating your own demanding customer who will be far more difficult to deal with as the problem escalates. IHG Standards state: Any guest complaints received by IHG will be resolved immediately and fairly to the customers satisfaction.
In other words, you should respond quickly and effectively to any guest concerns, including Guest Surveys driven by IHG so a guest is less likely to reach out to Guest Relations for a solution to their concerns. In this section we will elaborate on the art of effective complaint handling through good guest communication. We will go through the process of complaint handling, step-by-step. We will consider aspects of verbal and nonverbal communication, listening, questioning and feedback skills, and telephone skills.
Communication TipsWhen communicating with a customer, you are the public face and voice of your hotel and of IHG as a whole. Therefore, your ability to communicate well with a guest is of paramount importance. There is verbal communication: do you speak pleasantly to transmit a positive attitude, consider the tone and pitch of your voice, smile, establish eye contact and have a good posture? There is also nonverbal communication: your body language, how you look (closthing and adornment), how you act (facial expression, head movements, gestures) what you say and how you say it (voice tone). If your guest is upset or angry: Remain calm. Dont be defensive. Do not take criticisms personally. o It is not you the customer is angry with; try to be objective and put yourself in their shoes Offer an apology, even if the disservice is not your fault. o "Im very concerned you are so upset" o Does not admit blame, but does establish some rapport with the customer. Empathy - show empathy by using phrases such as, o "I can understand how you feel." o "I appreciate what you are saying." Address the customer by name. o "I'm sorry Mr. Jones." Accept responsibility. All communication should be in the first person. Use: "I apologise.", not "We" No excuses! Avoid making excuses or blaming others in your organization. o The customer is asking for a solution to the problem, not an inquisition into your internal operations. Attention - give the customer your full attention and establish eye contact. o Sympathetic nods and note taking help defuse situations and help customers feel they are receiving a fair hearing. Understanding - paraphrase their complaint to determine if you have correctly understood their concerns. o Play the situation back to them to check for understanding. o "I just want to verify that I have understood you correctly." "I'll find out!" - If you dont know the answer to their problem, do not lie. o Adopt the old teaching maxim and admit you dont know but make a commitment that you will find out and get back to them within a specific time. Keep commitments. o Call back when you say you will, even if, for some reason, you havent been able to obtain a satisfactory answer by then.
Consider their thoughts. Make the customer part of the solution - not part of the problem. "Here's what I can do.." Tell them what you can do...not what you cant do. Ask: "Will this problem be resolved if I...?". o Find out what it will take to turn their dissatisfaction into satisfaction. Do they want a refund, credit, discount, replacement? Offer a solution and obtain the customers agreement that this would satisfy the complaint. Act quickly. If they agree with the solution, act quickly before they change their mind. If they dont like your solution, ask them what they think is a fair outcome. Follow up. Below you will find phrases to use to assist the guest. Avoid: Instead use: "You" language (intimidating) "I" language "You have to" "I will try" "I suggest that you... / "Will you please" "I will" / "I am going to" "No, but" "Yes, however" "Your problem" "This is not the kind of service we want to provide. "Your situation / concern" "What can we do to correct the situation?" "We are not perfect" "We make mistakes too"
Helpful DialogueSometimes you never know what question or problem will be thrown your way next. Being able to think fast on your feet is not just helpful; it's a necessary survival skill. Therefore, you need to be able to respond to even the most difficult customer complaints in a way that will not only address the guests problems efficiently but will also direct them toward reasonable solutions. What to say: "I am sorry about the frustration this has caused you and I would like to fix this problem for you. Here's what I can do about it" Why this works: It's important when you have an upset customer that you acknowledge and restate his/her concern. This shows you have been listening, you understand and you are personally interested in getting the problem resolved. The fact that you can immediately act to rectify the situation also demonstrates you are a knowledgeable person who has authority to handle the complaint. Problem: The guest seems unsatisfied after you have told him/her the options to resolving his/her case. What to say: "It seems you are disappointed with this resolution. What can we do within reason to retain your business? Why this works: When you have suggested everything you can think of, ask the customer what the ideal solution would be from his/her point of view. They might say, "All I really want is an apology." Make sure you offer one! If the conversation still proves difficult, try, Let's start over at the beginning and see what we can do to resolve your concerns. This can alter the conversation from a confrontational position to one of resolution.
Problem: Although you have worked very hard-- and professionally, to resolve your customer's complaint, he/she accuses you of a variety of hostile attitudes, including "you really are being testy today aren't you?" What to say: "I am truly concerned about your situation. What can I do to change your perception?" Don't react with the same hostility they may be accusing you of. Why this works: Demonstrating a sincere interest in learning what has upset the customer can give you the information you need to turn their attitude around. This is an excellent time to learn, as long as your own defensiveness doesnt trip you up. After all, don't overlook the possibility that your customer could be right. Being prepared for customer's complaints is always your best plan of action to ensure that they are satisfied with the level of service you provide. However, for those unexpected problems that inevitably arise, remember to attend to those problems quickly and remain focused on providing solutions that are agreeable to both you and your customers.
On Property IssuesThis sections details techniques to use during common guest interactions. It includes suggestions for cost effective, creative compensation. Face-to-face In your encounters with a distressed guest, you first need to realize that the complaint is a request for help and not a reflection on you personally. This will help you maintain your composure and leave personal feelings and opinions behind. Following are 10 useful customer service steps, which can be used when you are face-toface with a guest. Attitude & Environment Sometimes a guest may be slightly out of control and may exaggerate. Do not take the guests criticisms personally. Often a guest finds talking about the problem stressful and therefore, displays defensive behavior. Remain professional and courteous. Never joke about the complaint. Do not get sarcastic or offhand. Do not get too familiar. Create the right space; remove physical barriers. Take the guest aside. A customer should not have to speak over a counter or desk to resolve a problem. Try to keep a complaining guest out of sight and earshot of others. Say "Thank You" Thank the guest for contacting you. Personalize your contact with the guest. Give the customer your full attention. Listen carefully and with interest. Use body language. Signals of listening such as smiling, nodding your head, leaning forward, orientating your body towards the guest and establishing eye contact all send the message, "I care" to the guest. Identify Allow the guest to tell their story without interruption. Determine the exact nature of the problem. Bear in mind that the real problem is often masked by minor complaints. Restate what you have heard, and clarify what the guest is saying. This will help you
get the facts straight, and allow the guest a chance to cool down. Ask questions, they are perfect tools to assist you in finding out just what it is that the customer wants and needs. Listen Listen for the nonliterary meaning. Observe the nonverbal behavior that accompanies the words you are hearing. Identify what the guest really wants: an apology, a refund or an explanation. If the guest seems unclear, be perceptive and help them decide what they want. Empathize Try to see the problem through the guests eyes. Use the guests name frequently and show your concern. Apologise, even if you or your hotel did not cause the problem. Research If necessary, check any facts put forward or disputed by the guest. Apologise Once you know what caused the problem, explain the situation to the guest in clear and factual terms. Do not go into lengthy explanations and beware of making an unintentional admission. Apologise, this shows you take responsibility for what has happened. Apologies are not an admission of guilt or weakness. Even if you do not agree with the guest in fact, you can agree in principle or can agree that the guest is entitled to feel the way they do. Do not try to justify the hotels action by making excuses as to why the problem occurred. Do not participate in fault- finding and do not agree with a negative observation. Be positive about your hotel. Blaming another part of the company for the problem may take the pressure off you, but it makes the company as a whole look bad. Resolve & Take Action When issues are resolved swiftly, customer satisfaction is increased. Empower your staff to resolve problems that arise as well as the ability to compensate when necessary. Establish monetary guidelines so your staff is clear on the boundaries of compensation and when to escalate. Resolve the problem to the guests satisfaction and offer an effective solution. If you cannot do it then and there, agree how it will be resolved as quickly as possible. Let the guest know the approximate amount of time it will take. If necessary, offer refreshment while the guest is waiting. If you need input from other staff members and other departments, coordinate their efforts.
Let the Guest Decide Determine whether the solution is acceptable to the guest. Make sure the guest is entirely satisfied. Work within the boundaries of your authority. Assure the guest that you are available should there be a further problem. Follow up Close with an appropriate phrase or gesture, and remember to maintain eye contact. Follow up with a telephone call, email or letter to the guest.
On The Telephone When dealing with a complaint on the telephone, you can apply most of the techniques used in a face-to-face interaction. There are, however, some differences between communicating on a face-to-face basis and communicating on the telephone. The most important difference is that one cannot see gestures, postures, facial expressions, and so on. Your telephone tactics therefore, require an extra effort to establish goodwill. Your most powerful tool is your voice. Let your voice complement your words. Relay a warm and helpful tone. Keep your voice calm and low. Never leave the phone ringing. Discontinue the other activities you are engaged in and concentrate on the conversation. A caller can tell when you are not fully focused. Start with a courteous greeting and try smiling when you speak. You may disarm the most distressed caller. Take responsibility for the call by stating your name and asking how you may help. Be aware of the fact that there is a greater potential for misunderstanding when dealing with a complaint over the telephone. Clearly indicate interest in the problem and concern for the guests inconvenience. Match the conversation pace of the customer and use their name several times, create rapport. Use expressions like "Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention" and "I appreciate your call". You can reserve the right to investigate a situation and get back to the customer, but never keep a caller waiting without notice. Follow up quickly on your promises.
Creative CompensationGuest Relations has always found that little things matter most. In many cases a sincere apology and making things right is all that is needed. Monetary compensation may not be what the guest is looking for. Many times they are only looking for someone to validate and address their concerns. A sincere apology and creative compensation could be just what is needed to make things right. Be creative and have fun! Take a look at the resources your hotel has to offer. Perhaps sending up a fruit basket, offering a free movie, or other items will let the guest know you are aware of their dissatisfaction and are sincere in making it right. Here are some ideas on Creative Compensation! Works well for business travelers Have a fruit basket, bottle of champagne or flowers delivered to the room Arrange for an upgrade of the room type to an executive level or suite Allow the guests to use their Best Breaks coupons for room service instead of having to go to the restaurant Arrange a late check out for the guest Works well for families Deliver free pizza and soda Deliver hot cocoa and cookies to the room Send up snacks and offer a movie with no charge Offer event or movie tickets, which can be arranged by the concierge Send up board/video games or activities you might have available
Other Examples of Creative Compensation Guest had reserved a room with two double beds. Upon arrival he was told the hotel did not have a room with two beds. Offer a complimentary rollaway bed or free breakfast the following morning. If that doesnt work, try two adjoining or connecting rooms at the one room price. Guest is upset that it took 45 minutes to check in and doesnt feel very appreciated as a customer. Arrange a late check out for the guest the following day or offer to buy the guest dinner. Guest called stating that he was given a key to an occupied room. He states this happened twice and is now very upset. Upgrade the guest to a better room type. Guest called and was very upset because he was given incorrect directions to the hotel. He states that he has been driving all day with 3 children and wasted 45 minutes trying to find the hotel. Send up soda pop and board games for the kids to use and offer a free movie. If your apology or correction to the problem does not work, the OCR matrix or calculator will give you guidance on what compensation to offer to a guest who has experienced a service or quality issue. https://www.ihgoneteam.com/apps/online/6conline.nsf/pages/ocrtool Disorderly guests 1. Review hotel policy. 2. Try to lead the guest to an area away from contact with others. If needed, contact hotel security staff for assistance. Have security escort the guest to their room. 3. If the above is not an option, it may be necessary to contact local authorities for additional assistance. If the guest is unreasonable and uncontrollable, it may be necessary to evict him/her. 4. Make certain the event is precisely recorded in the MOD log. If alcohol is involved, remember that it affects people in different ways. Some people can be reasoned with and others cannot. Never argue with an intoxicated guest, as they may become very unpredictable. Always consider safety and comfort of other guests as well as staff members when dealing with the situation. Do what is best for both the hotel and other guests.
Hotel Service/Quality IssuesDue to the impact service issues have on guest loyalty, Guest Relations will identify service and quality related issues and offer an immediate resolution to retain their patronage with your hotel and the brand. A case will be created and coded with the following Hotel Service/Quality reason codes: Commercial Areas Conditions/Cleanliness Food and Beverage Quality (Stay or Non Stay) Guestroom/Bath Conditions/Cleanliness Hotel Staff Services Noise
Poor Overall Satisfaction
Cleanliness Issues The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. Apology is vital. Attempt to correct the problem immediately. Always follow up with the guest. 2. If unable to correct the situation, offer to relocate the guest to another room (possible upgrade), deliver the new key to the guest, and assist with their luggage. 3. Be creative with compensation techniques such as food & beverage coupons, or if necessary, monetary compensation. a. For mild complaints we suggest 10%-30%. b. A more severe situation may warrant 30% to 50%, or when necessary, a complimentary room. c. Remember to be very clear with the guest about what the discount is and to which night(s) it will be applied. d. Remember the option of Priority Club Rewards Point Vouchers as compensation for members. e. You can upgrade a Club member to Gold Elite status, or a Gold Elite member to Platinum status. You will have to contact GR to action this. 4. If none of the above suggestions work, you may need to relocate the guest to another IHG property or another comparable hotel. 5. If the guest notifies you of a complaint at check out and corrections cannot be made, a refund or partial refund may be necessary. Explore the options of a discount or free night upon a return stay Guest Relations has always found the little things matter most to a guest. In most cases a sincere apology and making things right is all that is needed. If compensation is warranted or needed to satisfy a guest, be creative. Check your resources, perhaps sending up a basket of fruit, pizza, offering a free movie, or some other item will let them know you are aware of their dissatisfaction and are sincere in making it right. Noise - Informed During Stay The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. Apology is vital. Always follow up with the guest. 2. Contact the party responsible for the noise and inform them a complaint has been made and ask that they keep the noise level to a minimum. a. When necessary, you may need to inform the guest creating the noise that if the noise persists, you may have to ask them to leave the hotel. 3. If the noise is originating from another source, attempt to correct the situation by contacting maintenance to see if they can fix the problem (e.g. boiler, elevator, etc.). 4. When neither of the above are options, try relocating the guest to another room. If the guest is still not satisfied, consider upgrading the room type. 5. When an upgrade is not available, try offering food or beverage coupons in lieu of monetary compensation. 6. When all of the above steps do not satisfy the guest, it may be necessary to discount the room rate. Be very clear with the guest about what the discount is, and to which night(s) it will be applied. 7. If none of the above work, it may be necessary to offer a complimentary room or relocate the guest to another IHG property, or other comparable hotel. Noise-Informed At Check Out The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations:
1. When a guest waits to complain about noise until check out, apologise. You may also explain that, had someone been contacted during their stay, corrective measures would have been taken to resolve the problem. a. Avoid placing the responsibility upon the guest. Thank them for making the hotel aware of the problem. 2. It may be necessary to compensate the guest based on the severity of the problem. Guest Relations suggests a room discount of 20% to 30% in this instance. 3. When problems occur, and steps have been taken to correct them, it is important to follow up with the guest. Make sure they are satisfied with the outcome. Remember that guest expectations of IHG include quality service and a good nights sleep. Broken Or Inoperative Items: Standards Manual Policy: "All maintenance requests from guests, concerning public areas or guest rooms, must be completed within 45 minutes. For a maintenance request in the guest room, if completion in 45 minutes is not possible, an offer of another room must be made. If this does not correct the problem to the guests satisfaction, the refund provision of the Hospitality Promise applies." The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. Apology is vital. If the area of concern is in the guests room, contact your maintenance staff to have the repair or replacement occur promptly. Follow up with the guest to ensure the resolution is satisfactory. 2. When another room is unavailable or the guest declines the offer, it may be necessary to offer a rate discount or other compensation such as food and beverage coupons, free movie, etc. 3. When a guest refuses all of the above, it may be necessary to relocate them to another IHG property or other comparable hotel. 4. If the maintenance involves a public facility (i.e., pool, hot tub, etc.), post a professionally prepared notice at the front desk or lobby, notifying guests of the work in progress and apologise for any inconvenience. Make arrangements with a nearby IHG property or comparable establishment to allow guests the use of their facilities. Regular Maintenance All hotels may need to close the pool area or other public facilities from time to time for regular maintenance. If precautions are taken, such as posting a sign visible to guests checking in, it can prevent a potentially upset guest. If the area is scheduled to be closed for an extended period of time, contact Data Management to assist in updating the HOLIDEX hotel information screen (DH6) and VIF screen. This allows the CRO reservation agents to access the information and inform new guests. Service Issues The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. Apologise to the guest and thank them for bringing the issue to your attention. Assure the guest that the problem will be addressed with the manager of that department as well as the staff member. 2. When an apology is not sufficient, offer to discount the room, offer movie charges, offer food/beverage coupons or Priority Club Rewards points. 3. In this type of situation the guest may need to vent their feelings. They may feel personally wounded. Be sincere in listening, apologizing, and thanking them for making the hotel aware of the situation.
Food or Beverage Complaint Standards Manual Policy "Room service delivery must be within 30 minutes of the request, or the meal must be provided free of charge, unless the guest is told at time of ordering that delivery will take more than 30 minutes. In these instances, the guest must be told how long delivery will take, and delivery must be within this period or the meal will be provided free of charge." The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. Apology is vital. 2. Replace the item(s) or offer something else from the menu. 3. Ensure the replacement item(s) are of high quality, prepared properly and quickly. 4. Follow up with the guest to make sure they are satisfied. 5. If the above is not sufficient, discount or comp. the item(s). When items are not satisfactory, inquire why and determine if it is a problem with the preparation, or with the quality of the ingredients. Inform the Food and Beverage Manager of the problem so it can be corrected. Group Issues A group is defined as a group of guests accommodating multiple rooms; no contract is involved, otherwise it is considered a Contractual Issue. If Guest Relations is able to identify this information, a case is created using the Group Issues reason code. The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. Apology is vital. Check to see if the problem is affecting the entire group or only the individual. 2. Make certain the problem has been corrected to the satisfaction of the individual or parties involved. 3. Group concerns can cause a "chain reaction" and others may start complaining. If the problem affects the entire group, request someone to be the leader or coordinator to represent the group. Work with the coordinator and refer guests in the group to that individual. 4. Decide the best way to address and resolve the situation for the whole group. Compensating just one or two members often leads to each member requesting the same.
A dissatisfied guest demands what you are not willing to give: At times you may not be able to meet the guests expectations. Rather than focusing on what you cannot do, focus on what you can do, thus, not ending the conversation on a negative note. Think of the difference between "I cannot do that," and "I cannot do that, however, I can... Know the lengths to which you can satisfy a guest. Know when to escalate the problem to someone else.
Insurance/Litigation IssuesAll insurance/litigation issues will be referred to your hotel on the guests initial contact. If Guest Relations receives an additional contact, the reason code of the case will be changed to specify one of the following: Alleged Fraud Assault Contractual
Damaged Items Discrimination Fire At Hotel Harassment Lost/Left Items Parking Lot Personal Injury Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Theft At Hotel
The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. Handle with extreme caution. If legal action is being planned or undertaken by a guest, send all claims to your hotels insurers or legal representatives. Advise the guest that the information has been forwarded to the appropriate party. Be very aware of hotel policy on such matters and inform the General Manager as soon as possible about a potential liability situation. 2. Do not go into a detailed analysis of the facts and do not discuss the results of any internal investigation with the guest. 3. Do not admit liability. In an insurance case, for example, simply state: "This matter has been referred to our insurance carriers and they will respond to you as soon as the review of this incident is complete." By using this approach you convey to the guest that their complaint will be handled in the appropriate manner and at the same time, avoid the risk of making unintentional comments that could prejudice the case. 4. From the Guest Retention standpoint, apologise for the guests inconvenience, but be careful when offering goodwill compensation. It might be interpreted, by the guest, as an admission of liability.
Billing IssuesA case will be created with the following reason codes: General Billing Issues No Show-Cancelled in HOLIDEX No Show-Not Cancelled in HOLIDEX When the guests concerns are billing related, the appropriate action for the hotel is to: o Investigate and explain the billing concern. Provide a clear explanation if the charges are correct and apologise for any misunderstanding. o Identify and correct any billing errors. If necessary, Do The Right Thing if the billing issue was a high impact to the guest and offer compensation. If Guest Relations receives an additional contact regarding a billing issue that has been referred to the hotel, they will attempt to gain an understanding of the hotels action and ensure they took the appropriate steps to resolve the billing issue. Credit Card Authorisation Holds When an authorisation has been obtained on a credit card, that amount is taken out of the customers available credit. Some guests use a debit card to hold their room and present another form of payment at check-out. When doing this, guests dont realize a hold is placed on their debit card that impacts their checking account. This can lead to returned checks and overdraft charges.
Informing guests of holds at check-in may save the guest some embarrassment and save you an angry customer. Often times the guest presents another form of payment at check-out. If this happens, the initial authorisation hold on the credit card needs to be released. Prior to releasing a hold, verify that payment was made to the hotel by another method. To release an authorisation hold verbally with the guests credit card company, obtain the following information: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Amount of the authorisation & authorisation number Date the authorisation was taken Credit card number with expiration date Telephone number of the guests credit card company Verify payment was made. Contact the guests credit card company to have the hold released.
You may be asked for your hotel merchant number or the authorisation number taken for the guests account. Holds are released within a certain time frame, dependent upon the credit card company. Find out if the release will be effective immediately, within 24 hours, etc., and make sure you inform the guest. Guaranteed Reservation but Credit Card declined If the credit card used as a reservation guarantee is declined for authorisation, Guest Relations suggests contacting the guest to obtain another form of guarantee prior to canceling the reservation. Perhaps the reservation shows an old expiration date although a current one has been issued. Perhaps the guests credit card limit has been reached but the guest is planning on presenting another form of payment. Use your judgment and try to be flexible in these cases. Guests credit card is used for billing after check-out Notify the guest in writing or by phone that his/her credit card will be billed and what the additional charges are for. A courtesy call or letter will avoid unpleasant surprises when the guest receives his/her credit card statement. The number 1 complaint category for Guest Relations is "Billing Related Issues". The following should assist in avoiding billing/reservation issues: Accepting a Guaranteed Reservation While speaking with the guest, please provide the following information 1. Room Rate per night (some guests will assume the rate quoted is for all nights) 2. The hotels address 3. The confirmation number and the importance of keeping this for future reference 4. If the room is not claimed or cancelled by the cancellation deadline, the guest may be billed for one nights stay plus tax. a. Use interactive dialogue: If your plans change, this reservation must be cancelled by 6:00pm hotel time or you will be charged $___ plus tax, for one nights stay. 5. Do you have any questions regarding our cancellation policy? Wait for a reply. Implement the following procedures: Do daily sweeps to check for duplicate reservations, similar name and date discrepancies, even during low occupancy periods Train your staff monthly on how to accept reservations and cancellations. Ensure your staff understands the importance of always providing a confirmation and cancellation number.
Only accept reservations from the person named on the credit card. Canceling a Guaranteed Reservation While speaking with the guest, please provide the following information 1. The system generated cancellation number (Note: please do NOT use the name of an employee in place of cancellation number). 2. Impress upon the guest the importance of keeping the cancellation number for future reference. 3. Verify the number of rooms and nights on the reservation you are about to cancel. If this is a multi-room reservation split by your property management system, only one room will display under the original confirmation number. Implement the following procedures: If a guest arrives at your property claiming to have a guaranteed reservation that you are unable to locate, please do the following: Search in the HOLIDEX system by the Confirmation Number and the Arrival List. If you are unable to locate the reservation in the HOLIDEX system, contact Guest Relations. If you find the reservation is for another property, inform the guest. If the guest wishes to remain at your property, it is necessary to cancel the existing reservation. If you are unable to cancel the reservation through the HOLIDEX system, contact the other property and resolve the situation so the guest will not be billed for a no show. Additional Tips During peak season, perform call-backs on multi-room reservations a few weeks to a few days prior to the scheduled arrival date to ensure the guest is still planning to stay. o When you reach the guest, explain the cancellation procedure again to make sure they understand. Require advance deposits for peak times, such as holidays and holiday weekends, during prime resort seasons and during special sporting events and major conventions. Mail written confirmations whenever possible. Be sure to include the cancellation information. Develop a good relationship with your top travel agents and review their future bookings with them on a regular basis. This is especially important during peak times or with group bookings. Credit Card Disputes VISA Company has advised us that they will support us on all No Show Transactions, as long as the hotel can provide the following five elements regarding the reservation: Cardholder Name Cardholder Billing Address Cardholder Telephone Number Reservation "Confirmation Code" Scheduled Check In Date All five elements must be provided when responding to a "Guaranteed No Show" chargeback. If one element is missing, the hotel will lose.
Guest Unable to Pay Occasionally, guests are under the impression that when they have guaranteed a reservation with a credit card, this is automatic payment. Outside of our Priority Check-in program for Priority Club Rewards members and our advance purchase rates, the hotel can only charge a credit card for an actual hotel STAY when the card is presented in physical form. It is the policy of the credit card companies not to guarantee charges for hotel stays unless the hotel presents the signed charge slip. 1. Refer to hotel policy. 2. Card holder can call his credit card company and ADD the person as a copartner on the card, which the hotel can verify via the number to the credit card company. 3. There are Western Union offices in just about every supermarket, grocery store, etc. Hotels can look up the closest open Western Union office and the cardholder may call and transfer money within 30 minutes. 4. We also suggest the guest contact a friend or family member to wire funds, or fax authorisation for billing to a credit card. They will need to provide both front and back copies of the credit card, as well as written authorisation for billing including cardholder signature. A guest who is unable to pay must be dealt with discreetly. Be sensitive to the guest by avoiding embarrassment in front of others. Discuss terms of payment away from other guests. If this issue is presented at check-out and the above options are not available, consider using retention of luggage if permitted by local law as guarantee of payment until further arrangements can be made.
Reservation IssuesGuest Relations will attempt to resolve general reservations issues without the hotels involvement. If a request is made Guest Relations cannot accommodate, a case will be created with the following reason codes: Hotel Restricted Reservation The reservation restrictions are individual to your hotel. o Cancel Request-Death in Immediate Family o Cancel Request-Severe Accident/Injury o Change/Cancel Request General Reservation Issues Guest Service Request Hotel Reservation Issue o Hotel Reservation Error o Requests Not Honoured o Unhonoured Reservation o Unhonoured Room Type o Unhonoured Voucher Pricing Strategy Advance Purchase and Discount Rate o Cancel Request-Death in Immediate Family o Cancel Request-Severe Accident/Injury o Change/Cancel Request Third Party Intermediary o Hotel Double Billed o Other Issues When the guests concerns are reservation related, the appropriate action for the hotel is to: o Investigate and make the appropriate decision based on circumstances.
Provide an appropriate resolution for general reservation issues. Provide a clear explanation of rate restrictions when unable to honor a cancellation without penalty o Identify and correct any issues created by the hotel booking or changing the reservation incorrectly. o If necessary, Do The Right Thing if the issue was a high impact to the guest and offer compensation. The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: No record of reservation - No confirmation number - Invalid confirmation number o Always check BOTH your Property Management System and HOLIDEX systems. Check all arrivals for that day. It is very possible that the name could be misspelled. o For example: Bellows instead of Vellows, Barry instead of Berry. o Use the LEA format in the HOLIDEX system (LEAHOTEL/DATE) to display arrivals. Use HOLIDEX to search for reservations at another IHG property, or check an alternate date (May 7th instead of Mar 7th). o Call Guest Relations or Central Reservations if needed to assist with the reservation search. Try to accommodate the guest; if unable, attempt to relocate to the closest IHG property, or other comparable hotel. If relocation to another hotel is the result of a hotel reservation error, accommodate the guest per the Dishonoured Reservation Policy found in the Standards Manual. o When relocating the guest to another property, inform the guest clearly of all pertinent relocation information. As well, inform the alternate hotel of the situation to ensure a smooth arrival for the guest. Room Requests If the guests reservation was booked with a specific room type and you are not able to accommodate the reservation as it was booked, work with the guest to reach an amicable solution. Use creative solutions; i.e. room upgrade, food or beverage coupons. Standards Manual: Hotels must pre-register all Priority Club members who make guaranteed reservations prior to 8:00 a.m. on the day of arrival in the room type and smoking preference reserved. Preregistration must include assignment of room and preparation of key and registration card. Following this standard will greatly reduce Unhonoured room requests for our valued Priority Club Rewards members. If the request cannot be honoured, offer the guest all available options and let the guest choose which they prefer. Try to be flexible and accommodate the guests request. Offer an upgrade at a minimal charge to a more desirable location if available. This is a minimal amount to satisfy a guest. If the requested room location is not available, use other techniques to make the guest happy. Most often, an empathetic ear and genuine concern will impress the guest and will allow you to work with them more easily. Be creative and proactive to these types of situations. Consider complimentary upgrades if available. When a guests reservation or reservation request is not honoured, always apologise. Never indicate fault of another party or person. Simply address the situation to the guests satisfaction. Placing blame on another party only makes the situation more difficult to deal with and puts the guest on the defensive.
Non-smoking or Smoking Standards Manual*: Every effort should be made to ensure that guest preferences are accommodated. If a hotel does not deliver the guaranteed reserved and confirmed smoking/nonsmoking preference, it must provide the guest with their first nights stay free (room only) The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: If the S/NS reservation cannot be honoured, offer the guest all available options and let the guest choose which he/she prefers. Available options may include humidifier or smoke remover in addition to the free night promise. If the guest is still not satisfied offer to assist them in locating another IHG property or other comparable hotel to accommodate their need. Establish whether or not the guests reservation reflects an actual room or location type booked, or only a request. If it was on a request basis only, as indicated in a service request field, try to accommodate the guest to the best of the hotels ability. If this is not acceptable to the guest, explain that their request was on a request basis only and unfortunately it is not available. Remember, some guests may be asthmatic or have severe problems in relation to a smoking environment. What may seem trivial can be of utmost importance to the guest. Remain empathetic when interacting with the guest. Dishonoured Reservations (Walks) Standards Manual: The hotel must arrange and offer to pay for the first nights accommodations, including equivalent accessible accommodations for travelers with disabilities, at another IHG property if available, or another comparable and convenient lodging facility. The hotel also must reimburse the guest for any reasonable expenses incurred by the change, including transportation and the cost of telephone calls to notify family. If the guest is still not satisfied, the hotel is responsible for taking additional necessary measures to satisfy the guest. The General Manager/MOD is required to personally contact the guest that night or the following morning by phone. They must apologise for the situation and inquire into the guests satisfaction with alternate accommodations. The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. Have someone ready to greet the guest upon arrival and apologise for the inconvenience and explain exactly which nights will be compensated, and what the compensation entails: lodging, transportation, and the cost of a telephone call. 2. Inform the guest of the accommodations at another hotel. If possible, have two alternate locations and let the guest choose which hotel they prefer. 3. Finalize all arrangements with accommodations, transportation, and offer any other type of assistance the guest may need due to the inconvenience. Inform the alternate hotel of the situation to ensure a smooth arrival for the guest.
In case of overbooking When a guests reservation is dishonoured, always apologise. Never indicate fault of another party or person within IHG. Simply address the situation to the guests satisfaction. Placing blame on another party only makes the situation more difficult to deal with and puts the guest on the defensive.
1. When the hotel is overbooked and a reservation cannot be honoured, try to inform the guest before their arrival. In general, a guest will be less frustrated when given advance notice. 2. Advise the alternate hotel of the circumstances to ensure a smooth arrival. 3. In an overbooking situation be sure to offer any type of room that may be available to the guest. A guest who has first been told no room is available, and is then given a room after an argument, will only be more upset in the end and could interpret your actions to mean they are a less-valued guest. Rate Discrepancies IHG requires the hotel to honor the rate the guest originally reserved, regardless of any rate increase the hotel may have had after the reservation was booked. For example: a guest books a reservation on April 1st at a GREAT RATES rate of $59.00. On May 1st the hotel increases their GREAT RATES rate to $69.00. This rate increase would not affect reservations booked prior to May 1st. The rate increase will only apply to reservations booked on or after May 1st, regardless of the arrival date. If a guest changes their arrival date, extends the number of nights, number of rooms etc., on an existing reservation, a rate change may occur. If the rate changes, the guest is liable for the new rate for the portion of the reservation they changed (see rate change below). It is imperative that when making any changes to a reservation, you inform the guest of any rate increase. The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. Always apologise for any misunderstanding and attempt to satisfy the guest. 2. Research history of reservation in HOLIDEX by using the VIH function or Display Reservation Record. 3. If there is no record of the quoted rate, consider discounting the rate to the closest promotional rate available. Consider that when a guest is booking a reservation, they may not clearly understand extra person charges or other incidental charges. In view of guest satisfaction, these additional charges may be waived to satisfy a guest. IHG requires the hotel honor the rate the guest reserved, regardless of any rate increase the hotel may have had after the reservation was booked. Rate Changes The following should help you avoid a contact to Guest Relations: 1. If the rate change is the result of hotel rate increase, honor the original rate the guest reserved. 2. Rate changes may also occur due to a special event or varying weekend/weekday rates. If the guest claims they were not told of the rate change when booking the reservation, use your negotiation skills to work towards a solution. If an increase in rate is the result of changes the guest made prior to arrival, review the categories below for resolution.
Room type: Guest should have been advised of the higher rate at the time they made the changes. If possible, honor the previous rate. Number of rooms: The hotel must honor the lower rate on the original number of rooms booked.
Date: The hotel must honor the lower rate for only the original dates booked. The guest would be subject to the rate increase on all nights if they changed their arrival date. As our seasons change, so do room rates. A Great Rate, Internet rate, or other rate type may be booked in advance but those same rate types may increase due to your inventory status. Although current rates may increase, rates that are confirmed on a reservation cannot be changed.
Guest Challenges Related to Property Management System and HOLIDEX IHG Guest Relations has developed this guide as part of an ongoing effort toprovide you with information to assist you in preventing system related problems that affect guests. Reservations for your hotel may originate from many sources. They may originate from Central Reservations Offices, other hotels, Airline/Travel Agent terminals, Internet, or calls directly to your hotel. Regardless of their source, the HOLIDEX reservation system serves as the central processing point and repository for all reservations. We hope this guide helps you prevent guest-related Property Management System (PMS) and HOLIDEX system issues. On the following pages, specific situations are described with an explanation of why a discrepancy may occur along with recommendations for preventing the situation. Generally, the key to preventing PMS and HOLIDEX system-related reservation and billing issues is to consistently perform Inventory Balancing using the Inventory Balancing Checklist Job-Aid at least daily once per shift. This information is presented in the following manner: Situation: A brief scenario explaining a potential discrepancy. HOLIDEX System: An explanation of how the reservation appears in the HOLIDEX reservation system. Property Management System: An explanation of how the reservation appears in the Property Management front desk system. Recommendation: A brief explanation of possible solutions. No Show Billing/Cancellation Number Situation: A guest calls Guest Relations with a charge to his/her credit card, which they feel is incorrect. The guest has a valid cancellation number. It is discovered that, in addition to the original reservation, a second reservation was made by the hotel prior to arrival. HOLIDEX System: The reservation was canceled through the HOLIDEX reservation system, and a cancellation number was generated. Property Management System: The PMS does not show the reservation canceled. While a hotel employee was performing the Inventory Balancing Checklist, a reservation discrepancy was found. A reservation in the PMS did not have a corresponding HOLIDEX reservation. To resolve the discrepancy, the hotel employee selected "F3-Snd Add to Hlx" resulting in an erroneous reservation in the HOLIDEX system. Recommendation: When performing Inventory Balancing, it is very important to research any discrepancy before adding, canceling or changing a reservation. (See Inventory Balancing Checklist step III for guidelines on researching inventory discrepancies.) In this case, further research would have identified the reservation as canceled in HOLIDEX. The appropriate solution would have been to select "F6-Snd Cancel to FD system". Before
processing any No-Show billing, verify no other reservation records (canceled or active) exist for this guest. 6PM Hold/Guaranteed Reservations Situation: A guest arrives at the hotel after 6pm with a valid confirmation number claiming their reservation was guaranteed for late arrival. The PMS shows that the reservation was held for arrival by 6pm and was canceled at 6pm. The hotel has already sold the room. The guest calls Guest Relations for assistance. HOLIDEX System: The reservation was initially guaranteed until 6pm, but later changed to a credit card guarantee. Property Management System: The reservation shows that the room was held for arrival by 6pm and canceled at 6pm. Recommendation: When performing Inventory Balancing, print the Data Comparison Report selecting "2-Show all differences". Research any reservation with "AR" in the "Stat" column to locate discrepancies in arrival status. Before processing 6pm cancellations, verify against the Guaranteed Arrivals List (LAG) in the HOLIDEX system. Correct any discrepancies found when researching the HOLIDEX record history. No Record of Reservation Situation: An IHG guest arrives at the hotel and the front desk agent is not able to locate a reservation in the PMS searching with a confirmation number or last name. The guest has a valid confirmation number in hand. The guest or hotel contacts Guest Relations and they find that a valid HOLIDEX reservation exists. HOLIDEX System: The reservation is valid in the HOLIDEX system. Property Management System: The reservation is not in the Property Management System. Recommendation: Front Desk staff should perform Inventory Balancing at least once per shift. By following the steps in the Inventory Balancing Checklist Job-Aid, reservations that are in only one system may be identified, researched and re-sent (if needed). If, when the guest arrives, the reservation is not located in the PMS, search for the reservation in the HOLIDEX system--perhaps the reservation is for another date or hotel. No Record of Reservation/Booked for Another Hotel Situation: A guest arrives at a hotel with a valid confirmation number. The reservation does not show up in the PMS when searched by the confirmation number or name. HOLIDEX System: The reservation is for a different hotel. Property Management System: The reservation does not exist. Recommendation: When a reservation is not located in the PMS, always search for it in the HOLIDEX system. Advise the guest that their reservation is at another hotel and assist them appropriately. You may choose to accommodate the guest and cancel the reservation for the other hotel, or give the guest directions to the booked hotel. Multi-Segment Reservation Cancellations/Same Hotel Situation: A guest calls a hotel to cancel a reservation with more than one segment for that hotel. The multi-segment reservation may be for more than one arrival date or room type. The front desk employee cancels a reservation segment in the ENCORE system, however the entire reservation is not canceled. HOLIDEX System: The reservation shows both segments. Property Management System: If the reservation segments are for the same arrival date, the ENCORE system displays all segments when searched for by name and arrival date or
confirmation number. If the reservation segments are for different arrival dates, all segments show only if the reservation is searched for by confirmation number or name and "0" for arrival date. Recommendation: Hotel reservation and front desk staff must listen carefully to the cancellation request from the guest--does the reservation found match what the guest says they have? Depending on the situation, the reservation may need to be searched for by both confirmation number and name and "0" arrival date in ENCORE. If more than one segment needs to be canceled, each segment must be retrieved and canceled separately in the ENCORE system. Multi-Segment Reservation Cancellations/Different Hotels Situation: An IHG guest calls a hotel to cancel a reservation. The reservation has more than one segment and is booked for more than one hotel. HOLIDEX System: The reservation shows both segments. Property Management System: The reservation shows only the segment arriving at that hotel. Recommendation: The front desk or reservation agent should pull up the reservation using the confirmation number or guest name. The reservation should be verified with the guest. If the guest indicates that there is another location booked, the staff member should verify the reservation in the HOLIDEX system. Cancel the appropriate segment(s) and provide a cancellation number if the entire reservation is canceled. Rate Issues Situation: A guest arrives and states that he/she was quoted a different rate than that quoted at check-in. HOLIDEX System: The reservation history may confirm that a different rate was quoted to the guest when the reservation was booked. Property Management System: The "quoted rate" field displays a rate different than the one originally booked. Recommendation: Research the reservation history using the HOLIDEX system. Resolve as appropriate based on results of the research and IHG standards regarding guaranteed rates. Keep in mind that the PMS automatically adjusts the room rate according to the number of guests in the party. For instance, if a reservation has a party of 3 guests ex. N:3DOE/JANE and there is a 2XP or 3XP, the PMS will add the extra person charges to the rate. This is the cause of many billing disputes. For example: The PMS sees a reservation with a party of 3. The rate is $69.00 plus 10.00 2XP. The PMS will adjust the room rate to reflect the 2XP for each additional adult, so the check in rate will then be $89.00. Perhaps there werent 3 adults in the room, only one adult and two children. If the number of guests arent separated (N:1/2DOE/JANE) then the PMS will add the XP charges. Keep this in mind when dealing with rate issues. Priority Club Rewards Member Never Guaranteed Reservation/Billed No Show Situation: Priority Club member was billed a no-show however he/she claims to have never guaranteed their reservation when they made the reservation with the hotel directly. PC member assumed reservation would be cancelled automatically when he/she did not arrive by 6 p.m. HOLIDEX System: The reservation has been guaranteed by the members credit card number on their Priority Club File. Property Management System: When a hotel makes a reservation for a Priority Club member through Encore and the Priority Club file has a valid credit card number, Encore
will automatically guarantee the reservation. This is true for even those hotels that accept 6 p.m. arrivals. Recommendation: Make certain that guarantee method and cancellation policy is verified. Priority Club members are familiar with making reservations and will assume that if they do not give their credit card or it is not requested for the guarantee, the reservation will be cancelled at 6 p.m. Service Request Fields Communication Situation: Guest is upset because the hotel has no record of their reservation Service Request or other pertinent reservation information that was given when the reservation was made. HOLIDEX System: The reservation indicates a Service Request Field as well as Information Field have been placed on the reservation. Property Management System: Hotel representative does not easily view these requests. When a Service Request or Information Field are placed on reservations, they display in the form of a pop-up box at the beginning of the reservation when the reservation is originally retrieved either when changing a reservation or when checking the guest in. Before accessing the reservation or continuing the check-in process, the prompt "Press ENTER to return" located at the bottom of the screen must be pressed to proceed. If the user presses the Enter key at this point, the pop-up box disappears. Many times, pressing "Enter" to move through the check-in process becomes automatic to the hotel representative. The Service Request information can be retrieved in another format, but it is a lengthy process. Recommendation: There is an Encore report available on the Services Field called the Requested Services Report. To get to it, it is Path 5-9-4-2. (From the Encore Main Menu, select 5-Reports, 9-Other Reports, 4-HOLIDEX Reports, 2-Services Requested). If there is more than one service entered on the reservation, none of the services appear in Encore and those reservations do not appear on the report above. You should still pull the report from HOLIDEX for Services and Info fields. The LSS - ALL SERVICES AND INFO report from the Guest Name Lists will pull a list of all reservations that have anything on the Service and Info fields. Always reference the reservations in HOLIDEX to get the services when more than one is listed on a reservation. The LSS does not show the Service or Info fields on the report.
WebGNR (Guest Name Record)Past dated reservations are held in a database for six months after the check-out date. If you have located the past dated reservation in WebGNR and you need assistance reviewing the content, Guest Relations can assist you. Following is a definition list of GNR terms: CONFIRMATION NUMBER: Number relating to guests reservation. ORIGINATION DATE: Date and time in which the reservation was created, displayed in Greenwich Mean Time (*GMT). AGENT: This contains the sine code, initials, and source code. Often you will find an agent's initials of SU with the Source Code of HI. HI code is used for a generic sine at the front desk of most hotels to gain access into the HOLIDEX PLUS system. This means anyone accessing that terminal could have made the reservation without the identification of agent initials. RS code indicates Reservation Office Reservation. SU code indicates a supervisor either with a CRO or a hotel made the reservation. BOOKING SOURCE: HOLIDEX code of the property or reservation office that originally booked the reservation.
PRIORITY CLUB#: Priority Club membership number, if listed on the reservation, is displayed. CORPORATE ACCOUNT #: Corporate account number applied to reservation. TRAVEL AGCY ACCOUNT #: IATA number belonging to the travel agent who booked the reservation. RECEIVED FROM: Indicates where reservation came from if booked by a third party. Typically displays as AIRLINE LINK. GUEST NAME, PHONE, ADDRESS: Guest information as it was added to reservation. May contain more than one if reservation was booked by a third party. OTHER INFORMATION: This pertains to any service requests or info fields placed on the reservation. ACCOMMODATION: The Accommodations information contains the accommodation of the reservation when it was purged from the HOLIDEX system. This information is the end result of a reservation, whatever was left over after all or no changes have been made. If there is no accommodation information, the reservation was cancelled. HISTORY: The history of the reservation indicates any changes, including change in date, room type, rate and number of nights. If there isnt a history, the reservation was accommodated exactly as it was booked. Identifying Rate Restrictions in WebGNR
Days Dep Req: Provides information on the number of days that a deposit is required. If the hotel determined that they wanted to charge a deposit for the 2 weekend nights you may see a 2 in this field. Very few hotels have this setup. Days Eq 1st Nght: Indicates if the reservation requires a deposit in the amount of the first night. The information found will either be a Y for Yes or N for No about the restriction. Dep Lst Nght: Indicates if the reservation required a deposit in the amount of the last night. The information found will either be a Y for Yes or N for No about the restriction. Dep Sty: Indicates if the reservation requires a deposit in the amount of the full stay. The information found will either be a Y for Yes or N for No about the restriction. Dep at Bkng: Indicates that the deposit is due at the time of the booking. The information found will either be a Y for Yes or N for No about the restriction. Dep Oth Amt: Indicates the amount of a deposit requirement if it is different than the first, last or full-stay deposit. Very few hotels have this set up. Dep Amt: Indicates if the hotel chose to charge a flat amount for the deposit. So if the hotel only wanted to charge a $100 deposit you would see $100 in this field. Very few hotels have this set up. Cancel Req Days: This field will indicate the number of days the guest has to cancel the reservation without a charge. What you might see: 0 Cancel on day of arrival 1 24-hour cancel policy
2 3 7 15 30 1000 -1
48-hour cancel policy 72-hour cancel policy 7-day cancel policy 15-day cancel policy 30-day cancel policy No cancels allowed No cancels allowed
Cancel Req Time: A hotels cancel TIME does not vary as much as their cancellation policy. For example, EMEA hotels are usually 4PM and the rest of the world is 6PM. The time will display as 12:00 on all reservations as currently the cancel time does not show on the GNR histories Pnlty 1st Night: Indicates if the reservation has a penalty in the amount of the first night. The information found will either be a Y for Yes or N for No about the cost of the penalty. Pnlty Lst Night: Indicates if the reservation has a penalty in the amount of the last night. The information found will either be a Y for Yes or N for No about the cost of the penalty. Pnlty Stay: Indicates if the reservation has a penalty in the amount of the entire stay. The information found will either be a Y for Yes or N for No about the cost of the penalty. Pnlty at Bkng: Indicates that a penalty is in affect at the time of the booking. The information found will either be a Y for Yes or N for No about the restriction Pnlty Oth Amt: Indicates the amount of a deposit requirement if it is different than the first, last or full-stay deposit. Very few hotels have this set-up. Pnlty Amt: Indicates if the hotel chose to charge a flat cancellation penalty fee instead of the first, last or entire stay, and the specific amount would be listed in this field. An example is when you see the $25.00 cancel penalty. Early Depart Pnlty: If the hotel has a house policy where the guest would be charged a fee if they checked out early the amount would be identified in this field.
Marketing TipsWe understand hotels receive a large volume of information pertaining to Priority Club, mandatory promotions, and marketing opportunity solicitations. Having a system in place to distribute and understand the information coming in is vital to your hotels success. Here are a few tips to aid your hotel: Carefully review all promotional material sent to your hotel. Your guests expect you to be an expert on your hotel and all IHG promotions pertaining to your property. o Ensure a good impression by understanding the many marketing opportunities in which your hotel participates. Distribute all marketing information to reservations, front desk, and guest service staff. o Establish a point person for each shift as a contact for any questions your staff might have regarding hotel promotions. Establish clear communication paths: Post Marketing/Priority Club information on employee announcement boards & break rooms.
Employ teamwork amongst your front desk staff. Ask them for ideas & feedback for ways to improve their understanding of promotions. Allow time to discuss promotions in your staff meetings. Make sure you know about national promotions plus any local efforts in your region. o Are you participating? What are the dates of the promotion, how it works, etc. Check your brand's online site Ihgmerlin.com) for information. Keep an eye out for IHGMail twice a week (Tues & Thurs) because it contains information CUSTOMISEd to your hotel and provides links to sign up for promotions or find resources to help your needs.
Letter Writing and TemplatesA written complaint should be acknowledged immediately. Do not leave a guest wondering. You can acknowledge a letter in writing, but may want to establish a more personal contact by calling the customer. This will give you the opportunity to get more detailed information. You will often find that an angry letter hides a pleasant, but disappointed guest. Read and review a written complaint on the day you receive it with the pertinent staff members. As always, you need to try to determine the actual problem. When writing a reply, be courteous, apologise and try to make amends. Emphasize the following structural ideas: 1. Thank the guest for informing you. 2. Express your concern about the problem (or explain it) and apologise. Make sure you convey the message that you understand how the guest feels. 3. Assure the guest that you are taking action. Inform the guest what is being done to correct the matter. 4. Indicate a resolution and/or offer compensation. Sometimes an explanation and apology will not meet the guests expectations. Do not hesitate to compensate. Word of mouth can be your best advertisement. 5. Show your recognition by letting the guest know that you appreciate constructive criticism.. 6. Make an attempt to maintain the loyalty of the guest by inviting them to return. A poorly written letter reflects a negative image of your hotel. Keep the lay-out and tone of your letter professional. Do not write when you feel resentful about the complaint. Never hand-write a letter. Make sure there are no obvious corrections, typing errors, spelling or grammar mistakes. You will find sample letters on the following pages. Please note that although certain phrases can be re-worked into letters and some standard paragraphs can be used, a personalized response is always suggested. A guest deserves the assurance that personal attention is given to their particular problem.
Apology No CompensationDate Guest Name Address
City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding your experience during your recent stay. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to bring this matter to my attention and apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced due to **CUSTOMISE**. It is our goal to consistently provide superior service and accommodations and your comments are very important to us. The feedback we receive from our valued guests, like you, enables us to target problem areas and take the necessary actions to ensure similar situations can be avoided in the future. We appreciate the candid feedback we receive and welcome any opportunity to improve. Once again, we appreciate you taking the time to share your comments with us. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and we hope you will continue to choose **HOTEL BRAND** for your future travel needs. Sincerely,
Apology With CompensationDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding your experience during your recent stay. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to bring this matter to my attention and apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced due to **CUSTOMISE**. It is our goal to consistently provide superior service and accommodations and your comments are very important to us. The feedback we receive from our valued guests, like you, enables us to target problem areas and take the necessary actions to ensure similar situations can be avoided in the future. I appreciate the candid feedback we receive and welcome any opportunity to improve.
In addition, in an effort to retain your patronage and to demonstrate our commitment to guest satisfaction, **CUSTOMISE. Example: please accept this letter as an invitation to return to our hotel for a complimentary one- night stay. It is valid for one year after the date of this letter and can be used for any standard room booked at the Best Flexible Rate, not including incidentals** Once again, we appreciate you taking the time to share your comments with us. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and we hope you will continue to choose **HOTEL BRAND** for your future travel needs.
Apology Complimentary NightDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding your experience during your recent stay. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to bring this matter to my attention and apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced due to **CUSTOMISE**. It is our goal to consistently provide superior service and accommodations and your comments are very important to us. The feedback we receive from our valued guests, like you, enables us to target problem areas and take the necessary actions to ensure similar situations can be avoided in the future. I appreciate the candid feedback we receive and welcome any opportunity to improve. We would like the opportunity to welcome you back in an effort to provide you the level of service you expect from IHG. Please accept this letter as our invitation, for a complimentary one (1) night stay in order to demonstrate the true quality of our service. Please contact me directly to make your reservation and present this letter upon check-in. Once again, we appreciate you taking the time to share your comments with us. We look forward to accommodating your future travel needs. Sincerely,
Compliment Reply Date Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************, Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding (the Hotel or Employee Name). We appreciate you taking the time to make us aware of your delightful experience during your recent stay.
We are always pleased to receive praise and acknowledgment of such a positive nature. It is truly rewarding when a guest recognizes our staffs efforts and takes the time to say thank you. Your comments will be shared with our entire staff, as reinforcement to continue their efforts to make the (Hotel Name) a leader in excellence. Once again, thank you for your thoughtful comments. We look forward to the opportunity of serving you in the future. Thank you for choosing IHG.
Billing Discrepancy Charges CorrectDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding the billing you received after your recent stay. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced.
I have researched the charges placed on your card and have verified them to be correct. The charges were for **CUSTOMISE. Example: two, 10- minute long distance telephone calls and room service that had been ordered and charged to your room.** If you have any questions regarding these charges, please contact me directly. **Provide contact information.** Once again, we appreciate you taking the time to contact us. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and we hope you will continue to choose **HOTEL BRAND** for your future travel needs. Please let us know if we may be of any further assistance. Sincerely,
Billing Discrepancy Credit IssuedDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************,
Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding the billing you received after your recent stay. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced. After researching the matter, I have issued a credit to your **Visa, American Express, MasterCard** account in the amount of $****. This credit represents a refund of **CUSTOMISE-. Example: the erroneous breakfast charge placed on your card,** and should appear on your next one to two billing statements. If you have any questions or need further information regarding this credit, please contact your credit card company or bank directly. Once again, we appreciate you taking the time to contact us. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and we hope you will continue to choose **HOTEL BRAND** for your future travel needs. Please let us know if we may be of any further assistance. Sincerely,
No Show (Not Cancelled) Credit DeniedDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding the billing you received. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced. We have double-checked our records and do not show that your reservation was cancelled. The reason why you were billed was because a room was held vacant, all night, in anticipation of your arrival. We recommend, to avoid a similar situation in the future, you obtain and keep your cancellation number for 30 days after the date of your reservation. This is considered your proof of cancellation. As our records do not show that you cancelled the reservation, we are unable to issue any credit to your account. Once again, thank you for contacting the **HOTEL BRAND**. We regret we are unable to assist you further in this matter. Sincerely,
No Show (Not Cancelled)- Goodwill CreditDate Guest Name
Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding the billing you received. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced. We have double-checked our records and do not show your reservation was cancelled. The reason why you were billed was because a room was held vacant, all night, in anticipation of your arrival. We recommend, to avoid a similar situation in the future, you obtain and keep your cancellation number for 30 days after the date of your reservation. This is considered your proof of cancellation. As a one-time goodwill gesture, a credit has been issued to your account in the amount of $**.**. This credit should appear on your next one to two billing statements. If you have any questions or need further information regarding this credit, please contact your credit card company or bank directly. Once again, thank you for contacting our office. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and we hope you will continue to choose **HOTEL BRAND** for your future travel needs. Sincerely,
No Show (Cancelled) CreditDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding the billing you received. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced. This charge was placed because we did not receive the cancellation you had made and held a room vacant, all night, in anticipation of your arrival. We are concerned about this error and will be investigating the situation further to ensure a similar situation does not occur again. We would suggest, as an extra precaution, to always obtain and keep your cancellation number for 30 days after the date of your reservation. A credit has been issued to your credit card account in the amount of $****. This should appear on your next one to two billing statements. If you have any questions or need further information regarding this credit, please contact your credit card company or bank directly.
Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience this situation may have caused you. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and we hope you will continue to choose **HOTEL BRAND** for your future travel needs. Please contact us if we may be of any further assistance. Sincerely,
Cancellation Request (Past Deadline) DeniedDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear *********, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding your reservation . We certainly understand how travel plans can change and are sorry to hear you **are/were** unable to stay with us. We regret they are unable to waive or refund the cancellation fees agreed to at the time of booking. Once again **GUEST NAMEMR. JONES**, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your patronage and hope you will again choose **HOTEL BRAND** for your future travels. Sincerely,
Cancellation Request (Past Deadline) No ChargeDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear *********, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding your reservation . We certainly understand how travel plans can change and are sorry to hear you **are/were** unable to stay with us. As a one-time goodwill gesture, we have cancelled your reservation without charge. Once again **GUEST NAMEMR. JONES**, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your patronage and hope you will again choose **HOTEL BRAND** for your future travels.
Written CancellationDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ***********, Re: Cancellation Number ******** Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding your reservations. We certainly understand how travel plans can change and we appreciate your having included **HOTEL BRAND** in your travel plans. We have cancelled your **DATE OF ARRIVAL** reservation. Your cancellation number is provided above. Please retain this number for 30 days after the date of your reservation. Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us. Please let us know if we may be of any further assistance. Sincerely,
Written ConfirmationDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ***********, Re: Confirmation Number ******** Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding your reservations. We certainly understand how travel plans can change and we appreciate your having included **HOTEL BRAND** in your travel plans. Our records show you are scheduled to arrive on **DATE** and stay for **#** night(s). Your nightly rate is confirmed at $*****, excluding any applicable taxes, service charges or extra person charges. If your reservation is guaranteed for late arrival using your credit card, it must be cancelled by **DATE AND TIME** local hotel time, or your credit card will be charged for **#** night(s).
If your plans change please contact us and obtain your cancellation number. You may also cancel your reservation via our website at www.ihg.com. Simply click on the
Review/Cancel/Modify button on the left side of your screen and follow the prompts to obtain your cancellation number. Once again, thank you for choosing **HOTEL BRAND** for your travel needs. Enjoy your stay!
WalkDate Guest Name Address City, ST/Country Postal/Zip Code Dear ************, Thank you for contacting the **HOTEL NAME** regarding your recent experience. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced as we were unable to honor your reservation. Unfortunately, there are times when a hotel is unable to honor a reservation due to unexpected stay-overs or other situations that may arise. When this occurs, it is our company policy, and our Reservation Guarantee, to locate equivalent alternative accommodations as well as pay for your room charge for the first night. I am very sorry you were placed in such a situation and am glad our guarantee was honoured. Your experience enables us to target problem areas and take the necessary actions to ensure similar situations can be avoided in the future. We appreciate the candid feedback we receive and welcome any opportunity to improve. Once again, we appreciate you taking the time to share your comments with us. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and we hope you will continue to choose **HOTEL BRAND** for your future travel needs. Sincerely,