Running a restaurant is no easy feat. Running a restaurant inside of a hotel comes with added challenges.
First, you have to cater to the needs of hotel guests and locals, and provide both types of customers a hospitality experience that will keep them coming back for more. You may also need to fulfill room service orders, or orders elsewhere on the property, which can be logistically demanding. And, your service reflects not only on your restaurant, but also on the hotel as a whole, so there’s even more pressure to exceed expectations than at an independent restaurant.
How Can a Hotel Improve Its Customer Service?
Maintaining high standards is part of the job. So, how can a hotel improve customer service at its food and beverage (F&B) venues? Read our hotel customer service tips to learn how to provide the best customer service:
- Make it easy to make a reservation
- Get to know guests
- Anticipate needs
- Offer a consistent experience across properties and venues
- Ask for and implement feedback
- Make waiting engaging
- Let guests order from anywhere
Make It Easy to Make a Reservation
According to a research by Yelp, restaurant reservations have surpassed pre-COVID 19 figures. Between April 2019 and April 2021, bookings have increased by 46%. Our first hotel customer service tip for restaurants is to make it easy to make a reservation.
Give guests a variety of ways of booking a table. Instead of just offering phone reservations, implement online reservations. However, it’s important to be wary of third-party booking sites that charge a commission and tout their brand instead of yours. Instead, look for a direct bookings partner, like SevenRooms, that keeps your brand front and center and charges a flat fee.
Hospitality industry rules suggest hotel guests should get first dibs on restaurant reservations, so set aside several tables for them in your system.
Another hotel F&B customer service tip is to remind guests that they have a reservation coming up. Instead of calling guests, however, set up automated reservation reminders via SMS for a less intrusive way to help guests remember. Not only will you reduce no-show rates and increase revenue, but you’ll also free up employees to do tasks that can’t be automated.
Get to Know Guests
Some F&B customers will be hotel guests, while others will be locals. It’s important to get to know all of your guests to be able to give them the star treatment and keep them coming back. The key to making every customer feel like a VIP is guest data.
Collect guest data during each visit through reservation notes, anecdotes from service and transaction history (you can get this by integrating your CRM with your POS). Create guest profiles in your CRM so all employees can view customers’ preferences and leverage them during service.
Short on time? With auto tags from SevenRooms, profiles build themselves.
Our next hotel customer service tip is to use customer profiles to anticipate guests’ needs during a meal.
One hotel customer service example is if a guest has a vegetarian tag on their profile, an employee should proactively point out the vegetarian options on the menu, instead of waiting to be asked. Or, if guests have noted they’re celebrating an anniversary in their reservation, your employees should prepare a treat for their arrival or for the end of the meal.
By anticipating needs and delighting guests, you’ll elevate hospitality, exceed expectations, and boost revenue.
Offer a Consistent Experience Across Properties & Venues
When you manage multiple restaurants at one hotel or a number of venues across multiple hotels, it’s important to give guests a consistent experience as they dine within your portfolio. That means that guest data you collect at your Chicago hotel’s rooftop bar should also be visible to service employees when that same guest visits your sister property’s fine dining outlet in Los Angeles.
By sharing guest data among your portfolio, you can make personalized recommendations and accommodations for dietary restrictions without guests having to share that information again. Look for an enterprise CRM that makes it easy to access guest profiles across properties.
Ask for and Implement Feedback
How else can a hotel improve customer service? By learning what guests want and implementing their feedback.
While you can’t improve customer service if you don’t know what your customers are thinking, asking customers what they think during a meal can only take you so far. Some guests may be shy about voicing dissatisfaction and having a confrontation.
Get the truth about what guests think by emailing them post-meal feedback surveys. SevenRooms makes feedback collection easy by automatically emailing guests surveys and sending employees a daily digest of response trends.
Make Waiting Engaging
No one likes waiting for a table, but it’s not as bad when guests know how long they have to wait. Our penultimate hotel customer service tip is to implement a virtual waitlist for your F&B venues.
By joining your virtual waitlist, guests can see wait times in real time, explore your menu, add a special occasion and dietary preferences to their visit, order takeout, connect with your social media profiles and much more.
The best part is, guests can add themselves to your virtual waitlist from anywhere – through your website or by scanning a QR code – which makes the wait even more convenient.
Let Guests Order From Anywhere
If your hotel already offers room service and has multiple dining venues on-site, why not expand F&B service and make it available all throughout the hotel? Convenience is at the center of the hospitality industry, which makes this hotel customer service tip one you won’t want to ignore.
Implement mobile-order-and-pay technology that lets guests scan QR codes and order food and drinks from anywhere on the property. Guests can have snacks delivered to the pool deck, recovery smoothies brought to the gym or drinks served on the hotel’s golf course, for example.
How to Provide the Best Customer Service at Hotel Restaurants
Excellent customer service can be the difference between a forgettable meal and a memorable restaurant experience. The stakes are even higher for restaurants that operate inside hotels, as they service both hotel guests and locals.
Keep both coming back for more by making reservations convenient, collecting guest data, anticipating needs, providing a consistent experience, implementing feedback, improving the waiting experience and letting guests order from anywhere on the property.
SevenRooms’ guest experience platform makes it easy to provide hotel customer service that delights customers and exceeds expectations. Book your demo today.
FAQs About Hotel Customer Service Tips
Need some clarification on these hospitality industry tips? Here are some hotel customer service examples and additional advice.
1. How Do You Talk to Customers at a Hotel?
The key to talking to customers at a hotel is providing personalized communication and authentic interactions and encouraging good reviews.
2. How Do You Handle Difficult Customers?
Handle difficult customers by listening to their needs, building rapport through empathy, lowering your voice and responding as if all your customers are watching. It’s important to stay calm, not take criticism personally and know when to give in.
3. What Are the Elements of Hospitality?
Important elements of hospitality include warmly welcoming guests, providing excellent service, graciously accepting feedback and complaints and leaving a positive last impression at departure.