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Hotelier Tactics to Win Over Angry Guests

Tracy Givens
July 28, 2023

Your front desk staff should be focused on making guests feel welcome the moment they set foot on the property. You want to help each guest have an amazing stay from start to finish. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing repeat business.

Angry customer talking to reception

We don't have to tell you how important this is. However, every hotelier will have to deal with an irate guest from time to time. In this situation, you have to placate them while remaining professional and businesslike throughout the encounter.

Here's our guide on how to handle angry hotel guests without losing your cool.

Common Complaints

Some folks will find fault with the service no matter where they are. Most of the time, though, guest complaints are legitimate, even if the issue is a relatively minor one. Hotel staff should be trained to address common concerns—and more importantly, to head them off before they eventuate.

What's behind these complaints? Often, one of the following situations is to blame:

  1. Poor customer service
  2. Misleading information about the room type or rate
  3. Insufficient cleanliness
  4. Unpleasant odors
  5. Problems with onsite Wi-Fi
  6. Temperature control issues
  7. Lack of amenities (such as free breakfast)
  8. Excessive noise
  9. Appliances not working
  10. Maintenance issues
  11. Other guests disrespecting the hotel rules
  12. Displeasure with the food and beverage services

We should point out that some of these issues might be out of your control. For example, if a guest booked their accommodations through a third-party site, they might have received misleading information about the amenities or the room rate. A package delivery might have gone awry, or they might have become stranded due to inclement weather.

While the problem might not be the fault of your hotel staff, the overall experience will make the guest feel cheated. This could lead to a negative review. Instead of brushing off the complaint, try to offer a solution that will make the guest feel as if you're on the same team.

If you're interested in more tips on how to attract repeat business and bulk up your bottom line, consider turning to hotel revenue management services such as this one.

How To Win Guests Over

Manager talking to the customer

Knowing how to handle angry hotel guests is a key skill, and one that every member of your hotel staff should be familiar with. It's especially critical for the people at the front desk, since they'll be the ones in the line of fire most of the time.

These are a few of the tools that you and your staff will need in order to appease angry guests.


How is the guest affected by this issue, and what can you do to help? The best way to answer these questions is to put yourself in their shoes.

Try to understand why the guest is upset and offer a solution that will address the issue directly. A basic "we're so sorry you've been inconvenienced" is a nice start, but it's only a generalization. It can also come across as the first line in a guest complaint flow chart rather than a genuine response.


It's just as important to be genuine as it is to be empathetic. People who regularly stay in hotels will be able to tell if you're truly dedicated to the job or if you're just going through the motions.

When hiring front desk staff, make sure that they have the requisite skills. In customer service, efficiency can only take you so far. Handling angry guests is an unfortunate but necessary aspect of the job.

A Calm Demeanor

Manager training an employee to stay calm during a phone call

When you're dealing with an irate hotel guest, it's natural to become defensive and want to fight back. That's the wrong road to take for a multitude of reasons.

First of all, the guest isn't directing a personal attack at you. They're upset at the situation, not at an individual. You just happen to be the conduit through which they can express their frustration.

What's more, you're not trying to win an argument. Your goal is to turn a negative situation into a positive one. The sooner you address the problem, the faster you can get the guest experience back on track.

Remain calm throughout the encounter and resist the urge to raise your voice. This might be a challenge at times, but roiling the waters will only make things worse.

A Rapid Response

Once you've acknowledged that the guest has a right to be upset and offered an apology, it's time to steer the conversation toward a solution. If the guest knows that their concerns will be addressed, their demeanor should undergo a rapid shift.

Of course, it's impossible to please everyone. Some guests might not respond as calmly as you'd hope. But as long as you let them know that you're working to correct the problem, you're holding up your end of the bargain.

Mastering the Art of Winnig Over Angry Guests

Everyone in the industry should know how to handle angry hotel guests, even if you hope you'll never need to use these skills. We hope you'll use our guide as a benchmark when training your hotel staff.

Managing guest experiences is only one facet of the comprehensive approach required to run a successful hotel, while managing rates and boosting direct bookings are equally important. Consider partnering with a trusted hotel revenue management company to help you maintain rate parity, and maximize ADR and occupancy.