In the Words of Chesapeake

Strong Points: Making it Right

Strong Points: Making it Right

May 03, 2018

Strong Points: Making it Right

 Sometimes - thing go wrong. With millions of moving parts and thousands of employees - a reservation can be missed, a room not ready, a meal not up to par. Making things right with guests is obviously critical, but what is the appropriate level of response - and how do we balance rectification with the nature of the issue encountered? Fixing what's wrong, making things right - and doing so in a balanced and measured way - can have a significant impact on a property's reputation. 


Q&A with Kim Chambless, Director of Sales and Marketing

The DeSoto Savannah


Q: What are some of the most common challenges that can reflect on the reputation of a hotel?

Kim: Inevitably, properties will encounter challenges – how quickly and efficiency the full team responds to those challenges can make a significant difference in the broader reputation of the hotel.

Issues can crop up in virtually any area of hotel operations. Whether it’s a housekeeping,  dining or facilities issue, it’s critical to not only confirm the issue is resolved quickly, but to follow up throughout a guest’s stay to ensure everything is up to their satisfaction.  Our Southerly host will reach out to guests through a personal note or phone call – how can we make things right?

Ultimately, any concern that’s brought to you by a guest is an opportunity. While every situation may not be resolvable, it’s understanding how you may be able to overcome it in a way that makes it a better experience for that guest.


Q: What protocols are in place to make things right with guests?

A: Be timely, validate their concern, work to resolve, and give them choices so they feel empowered.

Firstly, when an individual receives a concern,  they must respond in a respectful and considerate manner, then communicate the issue with their team such that it becomes a team goal to resolve. If the issue is significant enough, personal follow up from the Manager, GM, Southerly Host, or Division Host can be a powerful tool in resolution. 

Information can be received in a variety of forms – you can overhear a comment, then jump in to be proactive. We also have a program where guests can leave their cell number and text us. People communicate differently, and it’s about giving people the opportunity to communicate the way they want to.

In some instances, we’ll detect an issue before the guest does. In those cases, it’s best to be as direct as possible. Maybe dinner is running late – let the guest know: ‘here’s what we’re working through, here’s how we may be able to overcome this.’ Give them the options and let them choose.


Q: From a marketing perspective – how do you manage negative reviews,

A: The worst thing that can happen is a guest leaves and does not tell you about the issue they encountered, then you read about it in an evaluation. That’s the Achilles, because then it’s too late. That why it’s so critical for teams to follow up with guests throughout their stay and offer multiple forms of engagement.

Beyond that, we respond to any review that has any feedback as if it were any other form of guest engagement. Respectful, personal follow up to see how we can make things right.


Q: How can you amplify positive voices?

A: We are always looking at the stars and placement on google or trip advisor, as our property has moved into the independent world, your placement online form a social media standpoint is critical.

When a guest is shopping for properties, there’s no need to go past that first page. As a property, your lifeline is being on that first page, and positive reviews are a significant part of that.