What are some suggestions for training hotel staff to handle unusual circumstances?
Probably the best way to train hotel staff to handle unusual circumstances is to have training sessions where incidents are created in real-time and with real people. Make the situations as real as possible without too much collateral damage to property or persons. Then, using video camera, record the staff's reaction to the situation and how they handled it. Afterwards, the management can critique the tape and plan their best training strategy.
A good recommendation is to also include segments of the tape later in the actual training classes to show trainees their reactions. It could be both shocking and humorous to them to see themselves in action!
I also think it would be best that the trainees not know ahead of time that the situation isn't real or a correct assessment can't be reached.
Hotel industry is a business in which it is not possible to plan each and every act of service provided to the guest. There is a very wide variety of guests coming to the hotel. They come for very diverse purposes. In addition, external factors such as weather affect the activities and requirements of the guests. Then there can be personal expected problems of the guest, for which the guests may turn to hotel staff for help - for example, a guest may fall sick, or may misplace his passport. In situations like this, a guest staying in a hotel far away from home, may have no one else to turn to for help. A good hotel understands these requirements of their guests and prepare their staff to handle a wide variety of such situations.
It is obvious that if a hotel is to provide good service to their guest in all routine as well as non-routine and unexpected situations they must be well trained to handle such situations.
The most important part of this training should be inculcating in the staff an attitude of helpfulness and positive action. They should be trained to sense the problems faced by guest and encourage the guest to seek help. Guest seeking help should not be seen as a problem but as an opportunity for obtaining their loyalty, continued patronage, and wide word-of-mouth publicity.
While it is not possible to predict the exact nature of and timing of each situation that will arise requiring action from the hotel staff, it is possible to identify and classify various types of help that guests may require. All staff should be provided an overview of such problems. In addition, specific staff should be given more intensive training in handling specific types of situation. In this way a staff member hill be able to directly provide necessary assistance to the guest, or at least direct them to the right person who will be able to help them.
Even in situation that cannot be handled by the hotel or its staff to full satisfaction of the guest, the staff should be trained to provide assistance to the guest in getting outside assistance. For example, in case of minor illness a guest can be treated by a resident doctor of the hotel, but in case more specialized attention is needed then the hotel should train its staff in the kind of help that they can provide to help the guest obtain required medical attention.