Friday, August 19, 2011

The Guest Cycle in a Hotel

The guest cycle is the complete experience that a guest goes through in a hotel: from making the booking to departure. It comprises of four stages: Pre-arrival, Arrival, Occupancy and Departure.

PRE-ARRIVAL

The customer calls the hotel for a booking. The Operator transfers the call to the Reservations. How the Reservations Assistant handles the caller is very crucial. First, we need to ascertain whether a room is available or not. If the room is available, we can make the booking. We take all necessary details: Name of the guest, date of arrival, date of departure, Flight Details, whether transfers from the airport are required, type of room, type of meal plan, (Selling Skills), Contact Number, E-mail / Fax and payment details (cash / credit card). Any other requirements like a banquet or conference requirements could also be discussed. Immediately, a written confirmation is sent with all details discussed. This makes a world of a difference.

If we do not have the room, we may have to refuse the guest a room, but we can still retain the customer. “We do not have a room for you at the moment, but should we have some cancellations, we will come back to you. In the meantime, may I suggest some other hotels of a similar category in this area.” You have won the guest for the next visit!


ARRIVAL

The guests arrive at the airport. The Airport Representative receives them with a placard, guides to the vehicle, makes them comfortable and sends them to the hotel.

The Doorman, a smartly dressed person opens the door. The Bell Boys assist with the luggage.

The Receptionist welcomes the guests with a smile. Once the guests identify themselves (usually with their passport / credit card), their registration card with all details, which have been taken well in advance by the Reservations Assistant, are presented for their signature. The facilities of the hotel are explained in brief and the Bell Boy escorts to the room. There, the bell boy explains the features of the room to the guests.


OCCUPANCY

Once in the hotel, most of the guest interactions will take place with the Guest Relations. The GR people are one of the most crucial people in the hotel. It is, in fact, a great place to start a career in hospitality.

Requirements for a GR person:

- Well Groomed

- Good Communication Skills

- Willing to help

- Good sales person

- Good knowledge of the product

- Knowledge about the surroundings

- Knowledge about the Local Culture, Festivals, Traditions

- Guests will ask the most ridiculous questions, one should be prepared as far as possible.

While in the hotel, the guests will experience the various facilities in the hotel – Food and Beverage, Conference and Banquets, Laundry, Fitness Centre, Business Centre, Entertainment facilities; and knowingly / unknowingly form various impressions about the hotel which will lead to their decision to come back. This is the time to win the customer for repeat business.

DEPARTURE

At the time of departure, the guest returns to the Reception and returns the key. The bill is presented; the guest checks the bill, clarifies any doubts he / she may have and makes the payment. The check-out process should be completed as soon as possible.

Once the cashier gives the go-ahead to say the check-out is complete, the Bell boy assists with the luggage of the guest, the guest is driven to the airport.

After the guest leaves the hotel, a guest history is created with the likes and dislikes of the guest, the basic information about the guest, so that when the guest comes back, we know how to serve him / her best. (Do we need to offer the same room, should the room be close to the lift or far away, city facing or away from the city, higher floor / lower floor, meal requirements, any specific amenities in the room, food and beverage requirements, birthdays / anniversaries).

Thus, the guest cycle is completed. It is a very interesting process since every guest cycle is different based on their perceptions and expectations. This is what makes this industry so special!

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