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Themes:     ‘Casa’ & LaPerla (86)  
Tags:    Joy     Thoughts
Valerio Friday, 21 October 2016

A guest aggrieved is not a happy one

If there is ever a complaint I deal with it sincerely and with initiative
A guest aggrieved is not a happy one
Hospitality is not a virtue which falls from the sky but has to be learned day after day, with passion and with humility
“Good evening. Hotel La Perla. Valerio here in reception speaking. How can I be of help?”. This my opening gambit when a telephone call arrives and of course every request is different in nature. ‘What time does the Spa open?’, ‘Is the football match live on TV this evening?’, ‘Is it possible to check out a little later?’ These just some examples of the daily chore. Of course there are also those calls which have something to mention to us about the hotel and our service. Naturally some of these ‘mentions’ are versed as complaints. It is part of the hotel business that not everything always goes as one would wish, and even here at La Perla, perfection is a non-attainable goal! However we do pride ourselves on always doing our very best. After all focus on the individual is the core of our mission. Let me give you an example. “It’s Mr Barclay here, calling from room 111. Would it be possible to change room?” It is not a rare request for at times a guest decides they are not so happy on the first floor, or that they would like an even larger balcony than the one they have. We always try to accommodate the guest and ensure that their stay is as happy and comfortale as can be. However it happens at times that there are situations which are not possible to resolve, however hard one tries. Our hotel has many pleasing aspects but it is true that it was designed time ago and there is only one lift and that sometimes the guest arrives in the room before his or her bags! Also, we are in the mountains, and our walls are thick and the wi-fi signal is not as strong as elsewhere. It is part of my job to appease the guest and take the time to communicate well the reality of every situation, for if one thing is for sure it is that a guest who feels aggrieved is not a happy one. A friendly chat, even in the bar for a coffee or a wine, can work wonders. I will always remember the case of the guest who wanted to have a bathtub rather than just a shower in the room, even if the circumstances had been confirmed at the time of booking. The situation was impossible because the hotel was ‘full full’, so I suggested that he could as an exception make use of the bathtub we have down in the Spa. When he departed he left me a note saying, “Thanks for all. Your service was really great. We can all make mistakes but the important thing is how we deal with them.” This reminded me of another time when I made a bad mistake. I forgot to provide the alarm service for a guest, I so taken up in explaining a walking route to another guest. Low and behold I did not remember what I had to do, or rather what I had not done, until the guest in question presented himself before my very eyes. And to think we pride ourselves on our alrm service, always offering a room service coffee as part of the morning call. What could I do but apologise profusely and offer a coffee immediately. At least it was not as expensive a mistake as that of the sommelier who spills a glass of red down the gown of the lady guest and has to foot the cleaning bill. All said and done though I am proud of the relationship we establish with our guests and the moments are many and special. Yes, hospitality for us is a pleasure and is expressed in our mission. We believe in the profession we practise and even if not perfect we strive to live up to the values we have established: careful consideration; attentive focus; thoughtful responsibility. “Good evening. Hotel La Perla. Valerio here in reception speaking. How can I be of help?”.

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