Starting your own business in the hospitality industry is always a huge decision which is prone to lots of risks. No doubt the decision is rewarding when you succeed.
Running a hospitality business successfully doesn’t mean your guests are always nice, accommodating, less demanding, generous and well behaved. We have been involved in the industry for approx 4 years running our home-stay cottages The Treasure Trove, I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I’d like to voice my observations.
Many are of the wrong notion that scores of excellent reviews in leading travel portals means that things are rosy-rosy and we are having a great time with the guests and things can be taken for granted. The photos of our guests that we post in our Facebook page with comments and likes from our guests further fuel the thought this business is glitter-glitter everywhere!
On the other hand the truth is that right from the time of arrival to departure of the guest we are under constant pressure and sometime the pressure is so intense that we get thoroughly stressed. Many times putting aside our personal problems, commitments and setbacks we had to be cheerful and make our guests comfortable. Our family commitments and responsibilities takes a back seat and many occasions we had face the wrath of our close rellies. It’s a very serious business behind the scenes.
Occasionally we had to handle everything from housekeeping to serving the food to cleaning the cottages and toilets. In fact, taking multiple roles we experienced a steep learning curve that we enjoyed thoroughly.
The cleanliness of the cottages, the quality of food we serve, having amenities guests want, and our business model took us so far. In the hospitality business, such things are the decisive factors. If you don’t have them, you won’t survive for very long. The fact that a minute flaw on our part can throw the guest awry is always intimidating.
We have been hosting guests of different nationality, religion, race, caste, creed and profess. Most of them are really ardent travelers who have stayed in different hotels, resorts and B&B’ all over the world. A major chunk of them were really nice people who appreciated our business model and were generous enough to post excellent positive reviews in leading travel portals and lovely piece of writings in their blogs. Their feedback’s and comments helped us in improving the quality of our service.
Some of them were generous enough to forgive our slip-up of messing up with the bookings during peak seasons and readily accepted the alternate arrangement we made for them.
We always put an emphasis on personal relationships. We successfully built strong relationships with international and domestic guests with staying in touch with them throughout the year, sending Christmas wishes, and emails to guests just to see how they were doing and fill them in on what was going on in our lives. This helped us in getting repeat customers. The coming weekend we would be hosting a couple from Bangalore, who had stayed at our place two years back.
More than 50% of our new customers was through referrals. As we built a relationship with each guest, they referred their relatives and friends to our place.
But we have had to handle occasionally an irate or down-right rude guest or two.
Some guests are reputed to be troublesome, nasty or arrogant. Their inconvenient behavior can really undermine our moral and even put an end to our enthusiasm! In this business the need to be skilled in dealing with angry guests is of utmost importance, as they are probably the worst part of this business.
We have been running this business for almost 4 years and this is how we have been dealing with nasty customer.
- Always remain calm, before an angry guest! Be patient and listen to him.
- To become argumentative and confront them, will not sort out the problem, it will definitely make things worse and make other guests uncomfortable.
- When dealing with a rude or angry customer never resort to a word war.
- Some guests can get very nasty with throwing insults at you. It can be very tempting to begin throwing insults right back at them. No matter what it takes, resist this temptation. If you are the owner, you could forever ruin your reputation and more business, especially if the customer has lots of friends and influence.
None of this works if you are not genuine. People can tell when you care, are serious about building relationships, and you are giving your best.
The real success in Hospitality host industry is the ability to deal with unsatisfied, rude and arrogant customers.
These lessons are among the many we have learned from running this business. I hope that in sharing them, they will help you grow as an individual and a successful hospitality entrepreneur as much as they have helped us.