While the hotel guest policy is a dry subject, it’s important, nonetheless.
The good thing is that doing it properly once means you don’t have to worry about it until you significantly change something about your services.
Read on for a comprehensive guide to help you create the best hotel guest policy for your property. It’ll protect both you and your guests from unpleasant surprises and help create a smooth experience for both sides.
A hotel guest policy is a publicly available combination of house rules and a contract between hotels and guests. It includes the rights and duties of travelers and the property. Both sides agree to abide by the rules it states. In many cases, the signature of the registration card during check-in signifies the guest’s accord. The policy is meant to ensure a safe and satisfactory stay for travelers as well as trouble-free operations for staff.
Your hotel policy includes all rules regarding the accommodations and services you provide. As such, it guides travelers and manages their expectations. For example, they won’t be surprised by a late checkout fee because you communicated it in your hotel guest policy.
Since it creates a clear outline of standard processes between guests and staff, it also provides your hotel with a leg to stand on during disputes or legal procedures. This alone is a powerful reason to put together a fixed set of terms and conditions for everyone that stays at the property.
The hotel policy covers the sale of rooms and how/when guests can use them.
That means it should cover all related aspects such as the following:
When you look at the full list above, yes, that is quite a lot to think about! So if you have any doubts about what should go into your hotel guest policy, get support from a legal professional. This ensures you will include all relevant points and formulate them in a way that leaves little room for interpretation.
Let’s face it, hotel guest policies are not the most interesting things to read. That’s why most travelers won’t look at the policy too closely unless they have a specific question or problem. For example, they may be surprised by no-show fees, your cancellation policy, or a fine for smoking in non-smoking rooms.
However, there are a few ways to make your guest policy more engaging for travelers:
Finally, make your terms and conditions easily accessible so everyone can find them quickly.
Since your terms and conditions cover everything related to selling and using hotel rooms, ask the departments involved in these processes for input when drafting your policy.
The responsibility to implement a hotel guest policy chiefly falls to the front office team since they interact the most with guests, e.g., during check-in and check-out. They’re also the first point of contact in case of non-payment or other issues. In more severe cases, the front office, duty or general manager will step in.
Hoteliers can leverage technology to ensure guests are aware of and adhere to policies. For example, you could include a link to the policy during online check-in. This allows you to allow the completion of guest check-in only once terms and conditions have been manually checked by the user.
In any case, stay friendly when reminding travelers of your policy. If relevant, offer services or support to make it easy and pleasant to follow the rules. For example, use a guest messaging tool to send a short reminder on the date of departure. It can include the official checkout time and an option to get a late checkout or other assistance.
Make your terms and conditions easily accessible to people at various stages of their guest journey.
As you create your own hotel guest policy, go through the following questions:
By working through these prompts and creating a comprehensive guest policy now, you’ll take a lot off your future plate and save staff and guests uncomfortable interactions and headaches.
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