Overbooking - What do you do to keep your guests calm or even smile?
There are various solutions to this unpleasant issue for you as a hotel manager. The following paragraphs describe how a general manager made me say that I have been “really lucky” that he had an overbooking.
Once I went to Dubai (UAE) with my wife, my sister and a friend. We booked a couple of days in a relaxing resort, and the shuttle service of the resort should have picked us up at the airport. That was the plan.
As soon as we received our luggage and stepped out of the security area, we met the reservation manger and the shuttle-bus driver of the resort we’d made a reservation with. The reservation manager told us that there’d been an overbooking and that the resort had to transfer us to another lower class resort. A resort that did not have the same amenities and did not look as nice as the one we had booked.
He apologized a couple of times and said that we would stay in the other resort for just two days. After these two days we would receive an upgrade in their own resort. Instead of a suite that we booked, we would receive our own villa. In addition, we were invited to have one dinner à la carte with a bottle of wine and we were given a 30 minute neck massage free of charge as well.
To be honest, that sounded great.
We were mad at this turn of events, but as soon as the first two days passed we knew that we were really going to be able to enjoy our vacation (in a villa with our own padding pool and living room - watch the video to see what an amazing upgrade we received).
Thus, after the first two days, a shuttle-bus brought us to the resort that we had originally booked. The check-in process was unusual. We were pleased to sit at the bar, and all the documents were brought to us. Cocktails and juices were served. The whole staff made us feel very comfortable and the relaxation started immediately.
A few minutes later, two golf carts brought us to our lovely villas. The rest are unforgettable memories.
If you have an overbooking in your hotel, you need to make sure that you find a solution that makes your guests smile. If you choose a solution that makes the guests mad, expect negative feedback online. Remember that online feedback has a huge impact on your OTA rating and ranking.
If you find a solution that makes guests smile; well, then you can expect to receive no feedback at all or a neutral / positive one. Personally, I hate overbookings due to the immense stress they give me. Often, it is not even the fault of the hotel but coincidences. Two people booking at the same time on two different OTAs does not happen often, but it definitely happens.
I still can count the overbookings we have had. The solutions were the following:
I moved the guest to one of our close-by apartments
I made a reservation in another hotel
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