How to handle guest complaints in your hotel?

Guests are the lifeline of the hotel and a joy to deal with for professional hoteliers. However, there are times when issues happen with our service and we have to handle guest complaints. Social media just compounds the visibility of the issue at the hotel and we must act quickly to solve guest complaints

In those times, we need to be tactful and diplomatic to solve guest issues as well as respond to fix issues so that it does not affect in future.

In order to handle guest complaints, there are many model hotels use but it begins with a few basic structure.

Listen to the guest complaint

Without understanding of what is the issue, you cannot solve the guest issue. Sometime guest are so agitated that they will vent and rant about issue that are not central to the guest issue. With experience, you should be able to decide what is the complaint all about.

Acknowledge and Apologise

Once we understand the issue at hand, we must ensure we offer an empathetic apology. We must acknowledge that there is an issue, offer an apology.


A guest who complaints are giving us an opportunity to be of service to them and rectify the issues.

We may be aware of the Net Promoter score matrix of Promoters, Passives and Detractors. Guests who complain are in the passive zone and expect a service recovery. If we are able to fix the issue they are talking about and wow them with recovery, more often than not, they will continue to do business with our hotel.

Notify and Train

Once you have fixed the issue, notify your supervisor so that training modules can be developed around the topic.

If you do not train your team members, you can expect the issue to be recurring in your hotel and once it becomes a trend, it will be difficult to justify a genuine apology.

In order to truly understand the issue, dig into the issue and check what caused the issue in the first place. By using the Ishikawa method or any analysis method, identify the root cause.

Then train your team to solve the issue created so that it is not repeated.

Follow up

If the guest had left the hotel before you could fix the problem at hand, communicate with the guest with a solution and what you are doing to fix the issue. Thank them for giving an opportunity to correct an issue in your hotel.

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