It’s a given in hospitality that employees are expected to be gracious and helpful to less-than-kind guests, but is there a limit to that graciousness?
I’ve made it no secret that I like to frequent the TalesFromTheFrontDesk subreddit, which is populated by a seemingly endless stream of (mostly) front-desk associates at hotels dishing on their most intolerable experiences with guests.
Anyone has worked even a little while in any job that deals with the public knows there is a certain segment of the population that relishes the opportunity to lord over people who are working to their benefit, sometimes to the point of cruelty.
The question reading all these stories continually leaves me with is “Where is the right point to draw the line for the benefit of hotel employees?”
Surely there are already rules in place—at least at most properties—to outright ban the worst behaviors from guests, like when they physically threaten associates or sexually harass them. But is the best option really for guests to grin and bear the mistreatment except in the most extreme cases?
The answer to where to draw the line surely is as varied as the hotel industry itself. Like any industry, the hotel industry has its share of bad employers who think guest abuse is just part of doing business.
At the same time, as an industry faced with a crisis-level shortage of employees that it can’t or won’t simply overcome with superior pay, does anyone really believe that letting guests treat your employees like punching bags will help their bottom line? That line of thinking seems shortsighted at best to me.
So once again, hoteliers, I put it to you: Where in your opinion is the right place to draw the line for the benefit of your employees? I’d love to hear what you think.
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