Guest Room Knocking Etiquette

Having 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:

  1. Before knocking on a door or entering a room, know if the room is occupied.  Exercise more caution if the room is occupied as there are certain guests who may not hear a knock at the door.
  2. Train all employees on your standardized knocking procedure.  A good one includes knocking three times and announcing the department loudly, waiting for 10 seconds, and repeating.  If access is required, then slowly open the guest room door while announcing the department loudly again.
  3. Always have the proper uniform with a name badge on and ask for permission to enter a guest’s room, if the guest is there.
  4. Whether a room is listed as occupied or not, remember to use the same knocking procedure.  There are many times where guests are in rooms that are unoccupied in the computer system due to a mix-up.
  5. When entering any room, enter slowly and with caution.  Listen for clues such as the shower running or a hairdryer, as these things can prevent your knock from being heard.  If something is heard, immediately but slowly close the door and attempt knocking again, if entry must be made at that time.  If not, wait a few minutes to return.
  6. Establish business hours for knocking on occupied rooms.  Determine the times of day when knocking on a guest room door is acceptable.  This may be changed from weekdays to weekends.  Also, it will depend on the type of guests that normally stay in the hotel.  Normally, the safe zone is between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM.
  7. For normal housekeeping, never knock on occupied rooms unless you know that the guest has left the room.  Many good room attendants pay attention as guests leave their rooms or check out so that they can continuously clean the rooms that are unoccupied or vacant without disturbing other guests.  If the occupancy is unsure of in a departing guest room, do not knock on that room until after checkout time, they have paid for the room until then.  It is extremely bothersome for a guest that is sleeping to be disturbed at 9:00 AM by a loud housekeeping knock when checkout time is at noon.
  8. Train employees to knock with their knuckles moderately, just loud enough for a guest in the room to hear.  Do not pound on doors, knock very softly, or use a room key to tap on the door.  The most pleasant way to knock is to do so in the most normal method.
  9. Never knock on a guest room that has hung a privacy sign, even if a request has been made.  If a delivery must be made and there is a privacy sign at the door, call the room from the nearest house phone and announce yourself, asking for permission to knock or enter the guest room.  Do not deliver any items into the room if nobody answers.  Remember to call back to redeliver the item later.
  10. Lastly, train your employees on how to react when caught in an awkward situation.  They must be able to immediately begin to remedy the situation by beginning to leave the room but also announcing why they were there in the first place. They should also report the incident so that a manager can issue an apology by phone if appropriate.

3 thoughts on “Guest Room Knocking Etiquette

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