January 27


Guest Services

By Jana Hassett

January 27, 2023

Coaching, Services

Guest Services?

Our recent trip to Quartzsite, Arizona for the annual Rock, Gem and Mineral Show ended in a complete “comedy of errors”, as my husband called it. I called it disappointing and labeled them the good, the bad and the ugly.

What are guest services?

How a hotel responds when things go wrong.

The Good

Our first night in Needles, Calif. We checked in and found the TV would not work. We contacted the front office, they attempted to repair it, but was not an option. They moved us to a better room.  They were the good part of our guest services experience.

We then moved on to Blythe, Calif. It is the closest community to Quartzsite with a broad array of choices for food and lodging.  We’ve stayed at the Quality Inn, the Best Western and what is now the Day’s Inn. All have provided adequate guest services, and the price equaled the facility and services.

By the time we decided on dates we would attend and how we would travel those hotels were booked. We chose a little higher end accommodation where all the rooms are suites style. 

The Bad

 During our three-night stay:

  • The room keys wouldn’t work – It took four trips back down to the check-in desk to get someone to come up and open the room.  Issue – must wiggle the keycard to get it to work.
  • I had to reprogram the Direct TV link every night and the maintenance man never did fix it
  • The tub water would not shut off – it’s probably still a small steady stream.
  • Housekeeping picked up all the dirty linens but failed to leave clean ones. I waited until the crew came on the next morning and went to the cleaning cart and got my own towels
  • The breakfast offerings are laid out putting the two most desired items next to each other creating a traffic jam for cold eggs, and spilt juice. The staff was 30 min. late and the sausage wasn’t done. Another patron left the juice button on and it overflowed onto the floor. The staff couldn’t find a mop and was trying to clean it up with towels. Breakfast at Carl’s was in order.

Merian-Webster defines a guest as “a person to whom hospitality is extended”.  I didn’t feel much like a guest.

Services? They were nowhere to be found.

I had to label this establishment  the worst example ever of guest services.

In all fairness to the clerk at the facility, she had no back-up, and it was the middle of the afternoon -

  • No on-duty maintenance person
  • No second desk clerk
  • No manager on premise
  • No customer service staff.

I had to threaten a poor review to get her to come up with us and get the room doors to open.

And then there’s the Ugly.

The last night in Blythe we made arrangements to meet up with friends at a local eatery in Quartzsite at 4:00 pm .  Upon arrival they did have the tables pushed together to seat 11. We ordered beverages while waiting for the rest of our group. Shortly thereafter they arrived, and the wait game began.

We waited 15 minutes for menus and drink orders.

We waited 20 minutes for wait staff to take orders

20 minutes later she came back and informed us there was no fish or taco meat for salads. Go get menus, 5 patrons changed their orders.  20 minutes after that the food started arriving.

She served the wrong burgers to two folks, and they agreed to accept the mess because they had already waited 75+ minutes to get what was ordered.

The patrons never were asked if they’d like more water, drinks or anything else.

After all was served, there was one patron without an order.  When we inquired about it, she responded, “Oh, we’re out of chicken strips”. Never apologized, asked if she’d like something else, or made any attempt to provide service.

My husband went to the bar to talk with the manager to find out there wasn’t one present. The bar tender and head waitress  had no idea what was going on, informed Tracy that the wait staff had been told at the opening at 2:00 PM that day they were out of fish, taco meat and Chicken Strips and was shocked the waitress hadn’t told us that up front. They tried to offer our friend something to eat and she refused.  Insulted and hurt, she left. What could have been a lovely afternoon meal together turned into the dinner from hell.  It should be obvious there was no tip given.

Possibly, the managers might do what has happened in the past - have a chalk board as you enter that gives you 4 choices for meals on PowWow weekend and then you make sure you have enough stock to cover the orders and orders went out quicker.

What’s next for the Food and Beverage Sector of the Hospitality Industry?

Chris Adams wrote an interesting article for the October 4th online edition of Forbes Magazine about the Hospitality Industry and the Food and Beverage Sector.

“I think the industry needs to realign and restructure programs that are highly efficient and take a lot less people to execute.”

His suggestions:

  • Hire people who have the passion and heart for service.
  • Prepare a new wave of workers by creating an intensive education program for hospitality professionals.
  • Set a new standard of wages for those professionals – including the tipped sector.

I couldn’t agree more!

Need Help?

If your business is in the guest services sector, experience your own hotel or restaurant.

  • Listen and watch your staff to determine if they have a passion and heart for service. 
  • Assess whether the layout is best for the staff or your guests.
  • Is there someone to back up your front desk at all times?
  • Do you have a maintenance program that has guest services at it’s core or is it about saving money by only having them “on call”.
  • Are you known for excellent “guest services”?  What are you known for? Do you know?

If you are a business coach for the hospitality industry, find a way to help your clients achieve excellence in guest services. Not sure how?  Let’s chat.  30-minute complimentary coaching is available for you as well.

Jana Hassett

About the author

Retired Congressional Aide, Coach, Mentor and Grant Writer, Jana advocates for everyone having an elevator speech. She currently serves as Business Coach for the Ms. Biz program at the Women's Business Center of Utah, Cedar City. She's been writing blogs since 2006 and enjoys journaling.
"Passing It On" is her WHY, in honor of all those that mentored and guided her journery over the years.

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