The Hotel TerraVina Blog

The joys and frustrations of being a hotelier

I love the hospitality business with a passion; I cannot imagine being involved in any other business, but equally the frustrations it brings are many. Sometimes it feels like we have been on a rollercoaster ride. Thankfully it is rare for us to have unhappy guests, in the main our guests return often and are truly lovely, but when we do on occasion have a tricky one we try very hard to put the problem right, but we can only do so if they tell us at the time- e mailing or writing after the event is not an ideal situation, especially if they haven’t enjoyed their restaurant experience as they’ve already eaten the meal!!

I always think too that when people do feel compelled to write with a complaint they always need to have a justification for doing so and thus the complaint often takes on enormous importance, so much so that the establishment gets the blame for ruining their day, holiday, week off, etc, etc- whatever happened to a little perspective? People have been left dead and homeless due to recent worldwide events, our soldiers are fighting for their country and being wounded or worse for us in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, people are dying of starvation in Africa and so whilst I do not want to trivialize complaints, is the beef not cooked quite to someone’s liking or no salmon at breakfast time (due to the delivery driver being caught in a traffic jam, due to an accident) really such a big deal? They are important points, but whatever happened to tolerance? Is it just me? Am I becoming a jaded hotelier who is getting worn down by people’s attitudes to the service industry?

Whilst I am mentioning the service industry, and reminiscing about better days gone by, what ever happened to good manners? I remember the days, (because I’m old, or certainly feel world weary today) when if you applied for a job and were lucky enough to gain an interview you arrived, on time, looking smart and prepared, or if you did not want to be interviewed you politely called to say so…… not anymore it would seem. Prospective staff now think nothing of sending a CV, often badly presented and littered with spelling mistakes, arrange to have an interview and then simply don’t turn up and don’t have the politeness to call. I’m not just talking about young people or applicants for the lower end of the pay scale jobs, oh no, applicants for sous chefs, assistant managers and restaurant managers are also culpable- my faith in people, good manners and high standards has been sorely tested recently….. especially this morning when one of our chefs arrived late for breakfast service and then burnt all the sausages! I know there are great people out there, just the sort who would fit in well at TerraVina, who are passionate about what they do and who have personal pride in their jobs… so please can you get in touch as we would love to meet you.

Last week I mentioned that I was cross with one of our suppliers- the problem does now seem to have been sorted out satisfactorily, but not before I had to e mail them and their initial response was certainly not a good example of customer care- however, the matter has been resolved. But, don’t even get me started on the ice machine still not working properly after four attempts to fix it in a three month time frame- I’m not sure what running a hotel does for my blood pressure but it can’t always be a healthy career choice, but that said I wouldn’t have it any other way (probably!)

Till next week when we are off to the castle- very exciting!

Nx

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8 Responses to The joys and frustrations of being a hotelier

  1. Richard says:

    Hi Nina.

    A good blog/rant – and justified. I think two words in your blog says it all – personal pride. If everyone took personal pride in everything they did what a different society we would have.

    Enjoy the castle “visit” – post a photo after if you can.

    Richard

    Reply

  2. Hello Richard

    Oh dear…. I do hope the blog isn’t turning into me having a weekly rant. I promise I will post a funny/fluffy one soon!

    Thanks for the comments. I agree, personal pride is vital and so often missing in society today.

    I promise I will post a photo of us in all our finery!

    Hope to see you soon

    Love to you both

    Nx

    Reply

  3. Mary Topp says:

    I couldn’t have put it better myself! I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for twelve years now and it never ceases to amaze me how guests can get themselves so worked up about the smallest thing and be rude with it too! My most bizarre is definitely a story of a lady who, while taking her dinner in the garden one summers evening, came into the restaurant with her plates, slamming them on the table only to tell me “that there were insects (midges) biting her, it was not acceptable and it had ruined her evening” I was quite lost for words!

    Reply

  4. Hello Mary

    I think there is definitely a book waiting to be written by any number of hoteliers detailing the stories to be told. My friends who are not in the business are always amazed at some of the antics and comments we have thrown at us!
    Thank you for reading my blog- I have great fun writing it and so it’s fab to receive comments back about it.

    With warmest wishes

    Nx

    Reply

  5. Jim says:

    These sort of customers are actually brilliant news. What it really means is that our normal standards of excellence are delivered with such consistency that these customers expect nothing less. It means that we are doing our jobs well.
    The downside lies with the fact that our customers don’t feel empowered by us to bring the problems to our attention at the point they occur. Maybe we could do better in that respect?
    Of course there will always be the “professional complainers” who enjoy the drama of a perceived disaster, they are more than adequately balanced by the more optimistic clientele who are much more accommodating.
    Keep up the good work, keep setting those expectations and celebrate the fact that you are delighting the vast majority.

    Reply

  6. Many thanks for your comments-you are very kind and I agree that customers are an ecletic group and all need to be managed professionally and properly- but those that love a drama do get to me at times!

    Nx

    Reply

  7. Margery says:

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later on. All the best

    Reply

  8. Dear Margery

    Many thanks for the comments- much appreciatd and I’m thrilled that you like what you’ve read so far
    Kind regards

    Nina

    Reply

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