How to manage Service Recovery in your hotel?

Service recovery is trying to salvage a situation or mistake . If it affects guest, it affects your brand promise and your reputation.

Let’s be honest. Every one makes mistakes at some point or other.

In the hotel with so many moving parts, and people involved, there are high chances of making mistakes. Every interaction is an opportunity to delight guest or disappoint them

And in a hotel where you have untrained staff the mistakes can multiply. Learn how you can train your team .

The Model

In case you do make a mistake, it is up to us to make it right for the guest. One such model that provides a guideline to help you is the matrix below.

This Service Recovery Model is mostly attributed to Disney, but today practiced by many companies in the service industry.

It helps to break down the issue into severity and responsibility and will help your team recover from any situation.

The key to use this model is to be prepared for the situation that you may encounter in the work day.

Let’s take a detailed look at what this model is.

Responsibility and Severity


As you may know, sometimes guest just use our team members as sounding board to talk about their day. It may have been going badly for them, for no fault of the hotel.

At that time, your team members can be Empathetic to them.

For e.g. A guest arrived late in the night. During check in the receptionist asked about the day. The guest mentioned that he was having a bad day and just wanted to get to bed.

The receptionist can be empathetic, say he is sorry to hear that but can ensure a speedy check in so that the guest can go to sleep.


A banquet is about to start in your hotel. However the standby portable generator that the guest brought is not working. Your fault is low, however the severity is high. The entire event depends on the additional power.

In such case you can become a hero and provide power from the hotel and end of the event charge extra for it. The event can progress without a glitch and the guest will leave the hotel praising your efficiency.

To implement it, have a guide on what is permitted and what is not so that your team knows how to handle the situation

Fix it

This is when the fault is primarily because of the hotel but the severity is not so high. An example of this will be the door lock not working and the guest is standing outside the door.

While it is the issue of the hotel services, it is not a big service issue. All you need to do is apologize to the guest and fix the issue

Red Carpet

You roll out the red carpet when thing go really wrong. A car missing from the parking lot, or a food poisoning case are such examples.

In this case the fault is high and so is the severity.

It is upto you to devise standards and procedures as it happens. These are really rare occurrence but when it does happen, you must take care of the guest, and at the same time make sure that your SOP reflect that and you train your team accordingly

In conclusion

Service recovery is both an art and skill. Doing it properly will help your team and hotel do their job effectively.

The four quadrants of the model are

  • Empathy
  • Fix It
  • Hero
  • Red Carpet

Use this to deal with guest issues effectively.

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