SOP – Front Office – How to walk a guest to another hotel

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Procedure To Walk The Guest To Another Hotel

Because of the highly competitive markets, it should be the goal of the front office department to have zero rooms vacant to maximize revenue generated from rooms and also to achieve full occupancy.

Rooms are like perishable items because the opportunity to earn revenue from that room is gone forever every time it goes vacant.

In many instances, the front desk and sales team require very aggressive selling tactics to compensate for no-shows, cancellations, and early departures. That means that the hotel should accept more reservations/overbooking than the hotel can accommodate, based on historical shows, cancellations, and early departure statistics.

When an unanticipated number of guest stayovers occur and the hotel is not able to accommodate all the guests expected to arrive that day then that results in a walk situation. And those guest who had been shifted to other hotels is known as ‘Walked Guests’.

When a walk situation occurs, the following procedure is to be followed:

  • The Front Office Manager, Reservation Manager, and Director of Hotel Sales should review all arrivals and decide which guests should be protected from a potential walk situation (i.e., Frequent Guests, VVIP guests, meeting planners, and Secretaries’ Club reservations).
  • All Group/conference guest arrivals should be reviewed. Many groups guarantee payment. In addition, individuals attending group meetings being held at the hotel, as well as those transient guests representing major corporate producers and group guests who have called to confirm their reservation should also be given preferential treatment.
  • Review room availability at competitors where “walk rates” have been established. Consider reserving a block of rooms depending on the severity of the situation.
  • Ensure that a senior member of the Front Office management team and Duty Manager/lobby manager is aware of the situation and readily available to personally handle relations with all guests to be walked.
  • When the guest who is supposed to be walked arrives at the hotel, the situation and the alternate arrangement which is done should be carefully explained. As the situation is explained, the guest should receive a sincere apology on behalf of the hotel.
  • Once the guest understands the situation, they should be asked if they have a preference for alternate hotels in that area. If so, make arrangements for the guest at that hotel, if available. As stated above, local room availability should be determined before the “walked guest” arrives.
  • If the guest has no preference, secure a reservation at the nearest hotel of a similar standard.
  • According to the [ hotel management policy ] Hotel will pay for room and tax at the alternate hotel for one night, one long-distance phone call, and local phone calls if the guest must notify home and/or business associates of his new location.
  • If the guest does not have transportation, we should arrange transportation to and from the alternate hotel, using our hotel vehicle, or taxi, if necessary hotel should also pay for these transportation costs.
  • The Telephone operator and the front office staff should be briefed about the details of the ‘walked guest’ and the hotel where this guest has been relocated this will later be helpful in case any calls or messages are received for the guest.
  • The Front Office Manager or Night Manager must complete a relocation list and distribute it to the General Manager and Rooms Director/Director of Operations by 8:00 AM the following morning.
  • If the guest had planned to stay for more than one night, we should offer to bring the guest back the next day regardless of hotel occupancy. If the guest elects to stay at the alternate hotel, it must be understood that we are responsible only for the first night’s room and tax and the same to be briefed to the guest.
  • Upon the return of the guest, they should be pre-registered and upgraded to the best accommodations available. A gift or VIP package should be sent to the guest with a note of apology from the General Manager / Hotel Manager.
  • The Rooms Director/Director of Operations or Front Office Manager must contact the guest and extend every possible courtesy.
  • A guest who has been walked must have their reservation cancelled with the appropriate cancellation code ‘Walked’ and also a notation made in his/her guest history to prevent a second occurrence.
  • If the guest was booked for only one night or elects not to return to our hotel after the first night, the General Manager is to send a letter of apology the next day.
  • When walking a guest whose reservation is commissionable to a travel agent, full payment of the commission must be made as if the guest had stayed at our hotel.
  • A “Walked Guest Log” should be maintained, including the guest’s name, where they were walked to, and the guest’s attitude to be updated on the guest profile.
  • All walked guests should be also marked as a “VIP Guest” with auto-popup remarks to ensure acknowledgement and apology for the previous walk situation and this will also ensure VIP treatment on the next stay.

Training Summary questions:

Q1. Who is a ‘Walked Guest’?

Q2. Who should decide which guests should be protected from a potential walk situation?

Q3. What all to be paid for the guest who had been walked?

Q4. Why it is important to brief the guest and Front desk staff about walked guests?

Q5.What all needs to be done if the walked guest returns to the hotel after one day?

SOP Number: Front Office SOP – 25
Department: Front Office – General
Date Issued: 29-Jun-2014
Time to Train: 45 Minutes
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