USA Today: Hotels ditch big, old housekeeping carts

housekeeper

According to an article by USA today, hotels are ditching those giant maid carts that block the hallways.  This is a story near and dear to our hearts as our Service Experience Analysts are often blocked by a giant maid cart as we roam the hallways of our hotels.  We also can’t count the number of times we’ve seen a housekeeping associate ramming a giant cart into the wall or elevator door.  It is exciting to see some potential innovation on the horizon.  According to the article:

Big, rolling housekeeping carts are disappearing from many hotel hallways, just like the floral polyester linens they used to carry.

Hotels say they’re replacing cumbersome carts with smaller ones sometimes akin to golf caddie bags out of necessity, in addition to convenience and even appearance.

Here are some great points mentioned by hotel general managers in the article:

Hotel general managers say there are a number of reasons why smaller is better.

• Hotels don’t use duvets and bulky linens anymore, so there’s no need for large carts, they say. Plus, storage space is at a premium, and smaller carts don’t take up much space.

• The bags are small enough to take into the room and leave the hallways clear and safe. They also don’t nick the walls of elevators and corridors like the large carts did.

• But more important, the guests prefer them, says Rich Hotter, general manager of the Staybridge Suites Times Square.

“The smaller rolling carts hold fewer items and therefore do not get cluttered, so they offer a better presentation in the eyes of the guests,” he says.

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Ask TrueGuest: When Should Employees Introduce Themselves by Name to Guests?

hello-my-name-isDear TrueGuest,

We are striving to become a TrueGuest Hotel but are struggling to get our team to introduce themselves to guests.  In what situations should we require our team to introduce themselves?  

Great question, thanks!  This is one area where hotels often have a difficult time teaching their employees to become comfortable with introductions.  Here are the situations that we like to see employees provide an introduction:

  1. When the guest first arrives at the hotel, the very first employee the guest sees should welcome the guest and introduce themselves.  In most cases, the first employee a guest encounters is the doorman or valet attendant who greets them at the car.  It is very critical for that employee to come over, open the door, and greet the guest with a welcoming smile.  Then it is easy to work an introduction into the conversation.  You can simply say ‘welcome to our resort, my name is John and I will help get you settled into the hotel’.  This introduction is important because John is going to need to obtain the guest’s name to pass along to the GSA.
  2. During any interaction that will last longer than a minute or two or where follow up may be required.  For instance, if you are a Concierge, you should introduce yourself and obtain the guest’s name immediately since you will most likely be working on a task that requires follow up.  Bellman who help upon arrival should always give a good introduction since they will be spending quite a bit of time telling the guest about the hotel amenities on the way to the room.  Restaurant servers and bartenders should also give an introduction during the start of their service. Continue reading

Ask TrueGuest: How to I Improve Our Handling of Housekeeping and Engineering Requests?

ignoreDear TrueGuest,

Our comment card scores have shown that we are really lacking in follow through on guest requests.  Do you have any tips to help us get back on top?

You have come to the right place for this question.  We actually have not really address guest requests in quite a long time, not since this post.  The handling of guest requests can be a simple procedure, but things can go horribly wrong if the proper procedures are not in place.  Here are our keys:

Tips for taking a guest request:

  1. Have a log system in place.  It doesn’t matter if you have an old fashioned paper log or are using a complicated computer tracking system.  Both can be very effective.  About 30 percent of guest requests are not handled due to lack of follow up.  GSAs take a request over the phone.  Next thing you know 3 guests arrive to check in before he writes the request down and the request is forgotten.  Get a good log!
  2. Find out exactly what the guest expects during the request.  The guest may be reporting that the shower in their room is not working properly.  Maybe they need the shower fixed right now so they can get ready for a meeting.  Maybe they already showered and would like it fixed after they check out so they are not disturbed.  Be sure to ask the right questions to find out exactly what is expected.
  3. Quote a time for handling the request.  A simple guest request should be no longer than 10 minutes.  If a guest is calling because their TV is not working or they are out of towels, they probably need assistance right away.  Make the guest feel at ease by saying ‘I will have someone up to your room to help within the next 10 minutes.’
  4. Repeat the request back to the guest before ending the call.  This one is often overlooked.  If they guest is requesting towels, let them know that you are sending 2 bath towels and 2 hand towels.  They can then correct you if you misunderstood their request.

Tips for handling the guest request:   Continue reading

TrueGuest Tips for Using the Guest’s Name

One of the biggest areas of struggle during our Service Experience Audits is the use of the guest name.  The use of the guest name is one of the most important tools you have to build loyalty with your guests.  Rather than providing your associates with general instructions such as ‘use the guest’s name during every interaction’, focus on the key areas of when the name should be used.  Our method is simple, but very effective.

Use the guest name once to open the conversation and once to close the conversation.

By doing this, it will become second nature to your associates.  They wont even have to think about using the guest name.  They will just do it.

Here are some examples for a few departments on how to use the guest name:

Phone Calls:  As soon as the phone rings, the PBX operator should pull up the guest’s information on the computer and get ready to use the name.  The PBX operator should immediately greet the guest by name.  After handling the call, the operator should end the call by using the guest name.

Check In & Check Out:  As soon as the guest gives the name or room number, the GSA should immediately use the name once.  The GSA should close the conversation with “have a great stay, Mr. Smith.”

In Room Dining:  The server should double check the name just prior to knocking on the door.  Once the analyst opens the door and invites them in, the server should greet the guest by name.  Then once the guest signs the check, the server should thank the analyst by name on their way out of the room.

Housekeeping & Engineering:  The associates should double check the name just prior to knocking on the door.  Once the analyst opens the door and invites them in, the server should greet the guest by name.  To close the conversation, the associate should say something like “enjoy the rest of your stay, Mr. Smith.”

The real key to successful use of the guest name is repetition.  If you require all associates to use the name once during the greeting and once during the closing it is very easy to monitor and it wont belong until everyone on your team is using guest names.

A Hotel Housekeeper Confesses

housekeeperBudget Travel ran a great article in their February issue as part of their confessions series.  Read the full article here. The article is written by a hotel room attendant who clearly does not enjoy her job and took every short cut possible from skipping the vacuuming to placing a do not disturb sign on a door or two.

We believe that hotel cleanliness has greatly improved over the last decade or so.  Remember the old days of room attendants washing the drinking glasses in the bathroom sink and having comforters that were cleaned once a year?  Whoever invented the triple sheeted bed deserves an award.  We also love new hotels that skip the bathtubs and just install showers.  I could not imagine taking a bath in a hotel room and doubt many guests ever do.

When you click over to the magazine article, be sure to read the comments at the bottom.  There is some great stuff there!

Guest Room Knocking Etiquette

Hotel-Room-Door-HandleHaving stayed in many hotels, we have experienced our share of disturbances.Unfortunately, many of these disturbances have been caused by the hotel’s staff.  The most awkward and uncomfortable ones come from the knocks and entries at the guest room door.  People treat their guest rooms in a hotel like their bedrooms at home.  Unfortunately, they do not think about the fact that many employees in that hotel have a key to these bedrooms.  On the other hand, many hotel employees do not think of hotel guest rooms as being private to the hotel guests.  Three knocks and a quick key swipe and they have entered the room, too quick for the guest to object.

Most guests like to be comfortable in their rooms and are not in their normal, public attire.  It is very embarrassing to be seen that way in an unplanned fashion.  Make sure that all employees in your hotel are properly trained in the etiquette of how to properly knock and enter a guest’s room.  Here are some the tips to remember: Continue reading