CoffeeThe word ‘hospitality’ might as well be another name for Murphy’s Law because everything that can go wrong in a hotel will and at the worst possible time! Having spent the past two decades working up the ladder of the hospitality sales and revenue management departments, I’ve seen a lot of crazy and truly absurd happenings.

A perennial source for entertainment, these incidents are nevertheless important markers for the aptitude of your guest service teams. Even though most of these events are hard to prevent, it is in how we respond that will earn us the praise or the scorn of our customers. And so, organized by department, I present to you some Murphy’s Law occurrences that you and your team should be aware of as they will most definitely happen one time or another at your hotel.

Front desk

If anything can go wrong, it will happen during night audit.

The last three guests that you must walk will be Diamond members.

If you are 100 per cent correct and the guest is 100 per cent wrong, the guest is 100 per cent right.

If you have a line of guests at your front desk, the first person will have the most complex transaction possible.

When something goes wrong, you cannot find the solution in your handbook but your supervisor always does.

The number of rooms you need to quickly flip for an early check-in will be less than the number of your guests that will call to request late checkouts.

Sales

If anything can go wrong it will, and when it does, the sales team will get the blame.

Anything that can go wrong has already gone wrong and your client just hasn’t told you yet.

When your hotel is profitable, your GM did a great job, but when the hotel is losing money, sales is doing a lousy job.

Revenue management will tend to support whatever theory they are in favor of.

When sitting with your client to sign the contract, they will then tell you they want a cheaper rate.

The file you are looking for is always at the bottom of the largest pile.

The more you need to pull reports from your secure brand site, the greater the chance is that the server is down.

It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are tremendously ingenious and they are staying at your hotel.

You can’t reason with brides, or their mothers.

The bride always requests 65 per cent more overnight rooms than will actually arrive.

If your hotel is running smooth, your hockey teams haven’t checked in yet.

General management

If many things can go wrong, they will all go wrong at the same time when you are on vacation.

If you plan to open in April, October is the greater probability.

Half of your housekeeping staff are going to call in sick tomorrow.

It takes forever to learn your brand standards, and once you’ve learned them they have already been changed.

A bad review will always come at the end of the month.

After continuously asking for feedback from your guests, you will find out about a bedbug issue at your hotel from TripAdvisor.

That bedbug issue is really a cockroach that ends up being just a grasshopper.

You will find a cheaper place to purchase your P-Tac units after you’ve already purchased them.

The number of guests that hang their clothes on the heads of your fire-sprayers is in direct proportion to the number of signs you have asking them not to hang their clothes there.

No matter how challenging your next year’s budget seems, your owner will always ask for more.

In hospitality, nothing is ever completely right, so if everything is going right then something is clearly wrong.

Cheer up! The worst is yet to come, and the crazy thing is that as a hotelier you know that deep down you love the change! Expect the best but also plan for the worst, and knowing that the above incidents are quite common will help you to prepare your team accordingly so that you can respond in as effectively a manner as possible.

By Greg Johnson

Greg JohnsonWith a passion for the true art of sales, Greg Johnson is currently the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Newport Hospitality Group. He started his hospitality career in full and select hotels in Idaho and Utah. He then moved to Memphis as the Global Director of Sales and Revenue Management Training for Hilton Worldwide where he was responsible for maintaining all sales and revenue management courses for all Hilton brands. Next at White Lodging Services, Greg managed the sales for 35 properties in the company’s portfolio, consisting of Hilton, Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt brands across the United States. In addition to having the best career around, Greg is a distinguished public speaker, emcee, clogger (yes, the dance), bowtie aficionado, husband and father of three.