Best Practices for Guest Service in the Hotel Industry

Stephen Alemar
Stephen Alemar
February 22, 2024
May 16, 2023
Best Practices for Guest Service in the Hotel Industry

Great guest service is the cornerstone of a successful hotel business. Whether you’re facing guests, event planners, event attendees, or business travelers, the quality of your guest service could mean happier customers, better reviews, and more revenue. 

Fortunately, there are a plethora of best practices to improve your guest service in the hotel industry. Read on to discover best practices to delight more guests and drum up loyalty.

The Importance of Good Guest Service

Providing exceptional guest service is essential to give your customers the best guest experience possible. And that’s not all; here are five other benefits of good guest service at a hotel:

  1. Increases guest satisfaction: Exemplary customer service in your hotel ultimately leads to better guest satisfaction. Happy guests are more likely to leave great reviews, recommend your business to their friends and family, and return. It’s important for hoteliers to find ways to boost guest satisfaction in whatever way you can. 
  2. Improves reputation: A five-star review is good. A guest recommending your property to a friend is good too. But when your guest service is consistently great, strong reviews and word of mouth begin to really flow. 
  3. Increases revenue: Good guest service means happier guests, which means they might be encouraged to spend more. But it also means sprinkling in a bit of upselling - recommending the right add-ons, to the right customer, at the right time - here and there. 
  4. Reduces complaints: Part of great guest service is apprehending your guests’ needs. This means being proactive, reading customers, and resolving issues before they become complaints.
  5. Increases employee satisfaction: Employees who work in an environment that values good guest service may feel more fulfilled in their jobs and more motivated to provide exceptional experiences to your all-important customers. This can lead to better employee retention and a more positive workplace culture.

What Good Guest Service Looks Like 

Providing your guests with a positive, memorable experience should be your main focus. That’s what guest service is all about. Here are a few basic principles of good guest service in hotels:

  1. Attention to guests’ needs: Whether you’re providing guests with extra towels or arranging transportation, paying attention to what your guests need is a valuable skill in guest service. When guests see you going above and beyond to make their stay comfortable, they’ll be impressed.
  2. Personalized service: Staff members should make an effort to learn guests' names and preferences and use that information to provide a more personalized experience. 
  3. Professionalism and friendliness: Staff members should be professional and courteous, while also being friendly and approachable. They should be able to handle any issues or complaints that arise with empathy and a willingness to resolve the situation.
  4. Timely and efficient service: Guests like reliability. They want to know when they call the front desk to ask for more towels, they’ll receive them in a timely manner. 

Guest Service Across Lodging Types

Guest service can differ among the different lodging property types in several ways. For example, a luxury property’s guest service is typically held to a higher standard than a limited-service property. Below are some general differences you may find.


The guest service provided at a limited-service hotel is typically more streamlined and efficient, with a focus on providing guests with the basic services they need for a comfortable stay. 

Staff members are trained to offer fast and efficient check-in and checkout processes while being helpful and responsive. Many hotels now allow guests to check-in and out on their phones.

limited-service properties often offer basic amenities and services like a front desk, housekeeping, and complimentary breakfast. They also provide simple but functional accommodations. They may not boast the bells and whistles of a full-service property, but they will often have everything guests need for a comfortable stay.

Above all, limited-service hotels are often designed to provide guests with good value for their money. These are great options for budget-conscious travelers. 


A full-service property offers a more comprehensive and personalized guest service, providing guests with a memorable experience from start to finish. 

The keyword here is personalization. Staff members are trained to greet guests by name and remember their preferences, allergies, or interests. They’ll also be used to anticipating guest needs and exceeding expectations. 

Amenities and services are often upscale, plush, and kitted out with everything a guest might need. Furnishings, bedding, and linens might be high-quality and some full-service hotels may come with customizable minibars, coffee machines, and other in-room amenities. 

Luxury Hotels 

While the terms full-service and luxury are often used interchangeably, a luxury hotel is typically more high-end and exclusive. Staff members are often highly-trained and attentive to guest needs, focusing on personalized service. 

Luxury hotels offer a range of upscale amenities and services like high-end spa treatments, gourmet dining, private transportation, and exclusive access to clubs or lounges. 

Guest rooms are often to a higher standard with fine linens, high-end toiletries, and state-of-the-art entertainment systems.



Guest service at a resort hotel is designed to provide guests with a memorable and enjoyable vacation experience. Resorts typically offer a wide range of recreational activities, such as golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, and water sports. Staff members are available to assist guests with booking activities, providing equipment, and offering instruction.

It’s not uncommon for resort hotels to have a busy social calendar with monthly events such as live music and performances. Staff members are trained to interact with guests, provide information, and keep the fun and relaxation going!

Vacation Rentals 

The guest service provided at vacation rentals differs from a limited or full-service property and can vary depending on the property and the host. One of the benefits of a vacation rental is the privacy and flexibility they offer, providing guests with a home-like atmosphere and freedom to come and go as they please. 

A key staple of vacation rentals is self-service check-in. Hosts may leave instructions for accessing the property, a set of house rules, or emergency information. Vacation rentals are often clean and well-maintained, with all appliances and amenities in good working order. 

Best Practices for Improving Guest Service in The Hotel Industry

Improving your guest service should be a continuous process. From changing guest demands to training new hires, the more you focus on the art of guest service, the better experience your guests will have. 

Hold Regular Staff Training

Hiring staff who are dedicated to providing great guest service is critical to your success. But training them to align with your hotel’s standards should be your first port of call. 

While the content and style of your training programs might differ based on your property type, the quality shouldn’t. This means providing a high level of support and educational resources in addition to an engaging training program. 

Get your staff training right and you’ll find yourself working with knowledgeable, professional, and friendly colleagues, willing to do whatever’s needed to exceed the needs of your guests. Here are a few key steps you can take to improve your guest service through staff training: 

  1. Identify areas for improvement: Before the staff training takes place, it’s a good idea to analyze your current level of guest service. Examine and pinpoint areas in which you could improve such as communication skills, problem-solving abilities, or knowledge of the local area. 
  2. Develop a training program: Once you know where you could improve, put together your training program. Outline the topics you’ll cover, the format of the training, and the timeline for implementation. Remember to vary the training methods (role-play, group discussions, interactive activities etc.,) to keep staff motivated and engaged. 
  3. Provide ongoing support and feedback: Training isn’t a one-time job. Staff members need regular check-ins, coaching sessions, and opportunities to practice their skills. 

Boost Employee Morale With Digital Tipping 

The happiness of your workforce influences the quality of your guest service. It’s important to make sure they feel valued and fairly compensated. One way you can do this is by providing digital tipping technology to increase staff compensation without hurting a hotel’s bottom line. 

Canary’s Digital Tipping solution, for example, is app-less, highly customizable, and makes it easy for guests to leave cashless tips. 

You can encourage tipping around your hotel and throughout the guest journey via text message, email, and QR codes placed at the front desk or in-room for example. 

Want to begin increasing your staff compensation by up to $3 per hour? 

Demo Canary Digital Tipping Today

Use Pre-written Scripts as Templates for Greeting Guests 

Pre-written scripts are a fantastic way to help your employees provide excellent guest service. But they only work if your staff members add in their own personality and flare. Guests will notice if workers are regurgitating a script instead of using it as a guide. 

Scripts can also be used to role-play guest welcoming or upselling scenarios, or to create the perfect, personalized welcome message for guests. 

Use a Guest Management System 

A guest management system is a fantastic way to improve your guest service by streamlining your operations. Implementing the right technology can help take the strain off of your workforce, improve communication between guests and staff, collect and analyze guest feedback, or automate routine tasks. 

Mobile check-in/checkout 

A guest management system can automate and streamline the check-in and check-out process, reducing wait times and improving efficiency. This can help create a positive first impression and reduce guest frustration, leading to improved customer satisfaction.

Demo Canary Contactless Check-In or Canary Contactless Checkout Today

Guest Messaging 

Guest management systems can facilitate communication between guests and staff. For example, guests can request services or report issues through a mobile messaging system, which can be quickly addressed by hotel staff. This can lead to faster response times and improved guest satisfaction.

Learn how Canary Messaging increases staff efficiency, streamlines communication & improves the guest experience:

Demo Canary Guest Messaging Today

Dynamic Upsells 

Guest management systems make upselling a whole lot easier for hotels which in turn improves guest satisfaction. Dynamic upselling allows you to intelligently offer upsells to guests throughout their journey. This gives your guests the ability to customize their stay. 

Want to see how dynamic upselling could result in $1000s of new revenue per week? 

Demo Canary Upsells Today

Digital Authorizations & Contracts 

In a time where data breaches are prevalent, protecting your guests’  payment and personal information should be your number one priority. And PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance is a critical step in preventing breaches. 

Guest management systems often offer digital authorizations and contracts, which will help you avoid chargebacks and fraud. 

See how you could reduce chargebacks and fraud by up to 90%:

Demo Canary Digital Authorizations Today

Learn as Much About Your Guests as Possible 

Learning as much about your guests as possible is a great way to improve your overall guest service. You can learn about your guests in several ways, including:

  1. Guest Surveys: Conduct surveys to gather information about your guests' preferences, interests, and needs. Surveys can be conducted before or after a guest's stay, and can be delivered through various channels, such as email or mobile apps.
  2. Guest Feedback: Collect feedback from guests through various channels, such as social media, online reviews, or in-person interactions. This feedback can provide insight into guests' experiences, and can help you identify areas for improvement.
  3. Loyalty Programs: Implement loyalty programs that reward guests for repeat business. These programs can collect information about guests' preferences and interests, and can be used to provide personalized service.

Capture Guest Info & Keep Track in a CRM 

Guest relationship management (CRM) systems allow hotels to collect and store guest data, including their contact information, preferences, and past stays. This data can be used to provide personalized service and anticipate guests' needs.

Final Thoughts

Guest service is one of the most important parts of running a successful hotel and should be a key focus in staff training. While guest service may differ between properties, property types, and brands, it’s important to continuously improve and evolve alongside your guests. 

Next up, discover 12 creative sales ideas for hotels.

Learn How Canary Can Help Your Properties Thrive

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