I would like to share about an interpersonal communication problem that happened during my time working in Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). I was the guest services agent manning the ocean suite reception desk, providing services exclusively for guest staying in suites and villas. As guests are paying a premium for the stay, they tend to be more demanding with high expectations of receiving quality hospitality, attention and benefits from the hotel. For example, early check-in and late departure are one of those common requests that I will receive on daily basis.
There are only 11 Ocean Suites available for booking. 908 is the suite strategically located in the middle of the stretch which is deemed to have the best view of the underwater sanctuary. Thus, it is constantly being blocked as show room in order to present the best to entice potential guests. One of my daily duties was to do room assignment as well as monitor arrival and departure movements to ensure the operation flow is smooth. The incident took place when I decided to allow a young Japanese couple to check-in early into the corner suite, 912. The reason was because I knew from their profile itinerary that they will depart early in the next morning. Therefore, I thought they will be grateful and extremely satisfied for the early check-in since they could now have more time to enjoy the facilities.
Furthermore, I also expected the couple to be more reserved and tolerable according to my understanding of their cultures. Little did I know, despite the language barrier, they complaint about the partially blocked view of the aquarium in the suite. With prior research done on the accommodation, they were in fact aware that the middle suites present better view. Therefore, halfway into my conduction of in-room orientation, they had already refused to unpack and insisted to wait inside the suite until a room move is available. At the moment, I did not try harder to change their perception of the suite by explaining the other attractive features to the couple to convince them to stay. Instead, I simply agreed to their opinions and request for room move.
The consequence was I had to have housekeeping to rush a suite for the room move. At the same time, with the couple occupying 912, I was not able to assign it to another early arrival. It messed up my initial plan with everything else got delayed and had to extend late check-out for a few rooms. Internally, it also added extra pressure to the workload of my housekeeping peers as they have to quickly tidy-up suite 912 again as an inspected room for next arrival.
Reflecting back on this incident, I realized the importance of understanding others through communication. It could help to remove any wrong perceptions and impressions that we might have of others. Therefore, what could I have done differently to ensure I understand the expectation of the Japanese guests or even to convince them to stay in suite 912?