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Dealing with emergencies

Knowing how to deal with issues in an effective manner is a basic requirement of anybody in management, but some people will panic and that is hardly the way in which you should proceed.

Instead, there are several things that you are able to do that will make you much better at troubleshooting as, in all honesty, it is not as difficult as you think.

Get to the root of the problem

The first thing to do with any troubleshooting is to work out what the problem is in the first place. How can you expect to solve it if you are not sure what the issue is? Find out what is at the root of it all because skirting around the edges of an issue will mean that you may very well get the solution in some way, but you will have not dealt with it in an effective manner meaning the problem may very well come back at a later date.

Keep a clear head

When there is a problem of any kind, you basically get two people. The first individual will think clearly, look at the issue, and then act accordingly. The second individual will become flustered and their head will be filled with nonsense that stops them from coming up with an effective and workable solution. By keeping a clear and calm head you will stop that second option from every happening to you, so staying focused is essential when it comes to troubleshooting.

Ask for help

Within a hotel setting it is more important that you get the issue sorted as quickly as possible over and above anything else. You need to be willing to ask for help from appropriate people and do not see it as your power or prestige as the manager being undermined. Instead, it is better to see it as being you showing the power of delegation, and that in itself is actually a strength when it comes to working in management.

Never Ignore

never just ignore a problem and hope that it will go away on its own. This is the "burying your head in the sand" technique and it is just never as effective as you hope it will be. The reason for this is simple. If you just ignore it, then you are not providing the best possible service to your customers and that is a problem. Instead, you must be willing to tackle it head on in any way possible to do both yourself and the hotel justice.

In order to troubleshoot an issue, you must accept that there is a problem, seek the appropriate help to deal with it, and most importantly never just believe that it will go away on its own. You have to constantly remind yourself that there is a need to deal with any problem that can affect the running of the hotel or the experience that your guests have there and ignoring it is not an option.
Guest has issues in their room…

  • For example, say a guest contacts the front desk regarding a problem with their room. The member of staff that takes their call, or deals with them in person, must be trained to get to the absolute root of the problem and, if required, seek advice from you on how to proceed. With any problem, the speed at which it is handled is important so after discovering what the problem is, there has to be steps taken to get it rectified as quickly as possible.
  • If it is an issue with cleanliness, then the housekeeping staff should be alerted immediately so they can go and deal with the problem at the earliest opportunity. If it is connected to an electrical issue or plumbing or heating, then the appropriate trades person should be contacted so that it can be repaired as soon as possible.
  • The key is that speed is of the essence, and as the hotel manager it is always important that you speak to the guest that has been affected by it as this is seen as being good customer relations on behalf of the hotel.

Understanding the problem, working closely with the appropriate department head, and coming up with a resolution as quickly as possible is the only way forward
70% of travelers indicated that a hotel's technology (website, mobile app, TV, and other digital tools) influenced their decision to book. Source: hotelproxy.net
Medical Emergency
First, it is law that there must be somebody in the hotel that holds a first aid certificate and has received the appropriate training. If a guest, or member of staff, reports that they are ill or have been injured in some way, then the first aid attendant should determine what is wrong and the course of action that is required. This also means that the hotel should have certain equipment that is close at hand and every member of staff should be aware of where the first aid kit is located so that it can be accessed as quickly as possible.

In this instance, the actual situation should be left to the trained individual, but as the manager it is your job to make sure that they do have everything that they require. 

if it is known that the individual has collapsed, or if it is suspected that there is something seriously wrong that requires urgent medical attention. At this point, it is important that the first aid attendant is with them, but an ambulance must be called immediately. After the call has been made, a member of staff should be positioned outside the hotel to wait for the ambulance to arrive so that they can then bring the paramedic directly to the patient.

As the manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that official company protocol is followed at all times when dealing with a medical emergency. You should also make sure that every member of staff is aware of what happens in this situation and it must form part of their initial training.
The problem with a medical emergency is that it can happen at any point so knowing how to handle the problem effectively, and calmly of course, is something that any member of staff should be capable of doing.

In other words, you should do the following when handling a medical emergency:
For an absolute emergency call an ambulance immediately.

  • Have a member of staff waiting outside for the paramedics.
  • For a lesser emergency, contact the first aid attendant.
  • Allow them to take the lead with an assessment of what is required.
  • Make sure that every member of staff knows who this individual is.
  • Make sure that the first aid kit is well stocked at all times.
  • Make sure that the hotel continues to run smoothly.

Dealing with Overbooking

Finally, we are going to look at overbooking and how to deal with it when this becomes a problem.

The act of overbooking is something that almost every hotel indulges in since there will generally be some late cancellations and they want that room to be filled in order to generate more turnover. However, there are times where it does not work out that way, and this leads to a major problem when a reservation appears only to discover that the place is fully booked.

There are several ways in which this problem can be handled. First, it is important that they are offered an apology for the problem with it being admitted that it is entirely the fault of the hotel and the booking system and that you are sorry for the inconvenience caused. In general, it is going to be more beneficial for you to then offer the guest a free upgrade, if another room is available, rather than stating that there are no other rooms free at the rate they paid. Yes, you miss out on a booking for the higher priced room, but it is better for the hotel from a customer relations point of view if the guest is satisfied that there was an error and it was dealt with accordingly.

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