Front office perspective If you were in the same situation, whom would you select to walk?

Learning Goal: I’m working on a hospitality writing question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

The Front-Office Perspective

Overbooking is an accepted hotel and airline practice. Many question the practice form various standpoints, including ethical and moral. Industry executives, however, argue that there is nothing more perishable than a vacant room. If it’s not used, there is no chance to regain lost revenue. Hotels need to protect themselves because potential guests frequently make reservations at more than one hotel or are delayed and, therefore, do not show up.

The percentage of no-show varies by hotel and location but is often around five percent. In a 400-room hotel, that is 20 rooms, or an average loss of approximately $2,600 per night. Considering theses figures, it is not surprising that hotels try to protect themselves by over-booking.

Hotels look carefully at bookings: Whom they are for, what rates they are paying, when they were made, whether they are for regular guests or from a major account (a corporation that uses the hotel frequently), and so on.

Jill Reynolds, the front-office manager at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, had known for some time that the 400-room hotel would be overbooked for this one night in October. She prepared to talk with the front-desk associates as they came on duty at 7:30 in the morning, knowing it would be a challenge to sell out without “walking” guests. Seldom does a hotel sell out before having to walk a few guests.

The hotel’s policy and procedure on walking guests enables the front-desk associates to call nearby hotels of a similar category to find out if they have rooms available to sell. If it is necessary to walk a guest, the associate explains to the guest that, regrettably, no rooms are available because of fewer departures than expected. The associate must explain that suitable accommodations have been reserved at a nearby hotel and that the hotel will pay for the room and transportation to and from the hotel. Usually, guests are understanding, especially when they realize that they are receiving a free room and free transportation.

On this particular day, the house count indicates that the hotel is overbooked by 30 rooms. Three or four nearby, comparable hotels had rooms available to sell in the morning. Jill and front associates need to select 30 guests to walk.

  1. If you were in the same situation, whom would you select to walk? What type of guests (e.g., individual, group, business traveler, etc.) can we walk?
  2. And what type of guests we should avoid to walk?
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