Key facts –
You cannot discriminate against any customer on the basis of a range of characteristics including race, religion, sexuality and disability. A hotel can refuse guests who appear unable or unwilling to pay, or who are not in a fit state to be received. You are bound to honour a booking unless the booking was made on the basis of false statements that impact on the provision of services or facilities.
What is the right of the hotel guests?
The Law and Liability of Hotels INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITIONS: : Americans like to travel and motels and hotels are as much a part of the average American’s life as restaurants, movies and freeways. Only when something goes wrong with a room or a stay does the issue of what law applies and who is responsible for the possible damage caused arise.
When that situation ocurs, suddenly the questions of characterization of the accommodation can be critical. An inn is not a hotel, is not a boarding house, is not a motelor are they? What are you paying for when you arrive at the check in desk? Hotels can be defined as commercial establishments that provide lodging and, often, meals and other services to the public.
The word “hotel” is usually synonymous with “inn,” especially an inn of high quality. The word “inn” at common law meant a place where a traveler was furnished with both lodging and entertainment, including food. Any places where transient guests are received and lodged are classified as hotels.
- Dixon v. Robbins, 246 N.Y.169 (N.Y.1927).
- The proprietor of an inn or hotel is an innkeeper or hotelkeeper, respectively.
- It is not required that a establishment provide food and drink to its guests in addition to lodging to be a hotel.
- The distinctive features of a hotel or an inn are that it receives transient guests and provides lodging.
The character of a place as an inn or hotel is determined by the types of facilities available and services offered, and not by the type of structure or the surrounding property. Establishments which furnish lodging to transients, although designated motels, may be deemed hotels.
- The word “motel” generally denotes a small hotel where lodgings are available for hire, with a minimum of personal service being furnished by the proprietor.
- Schermer v.
- Fremar Corp,, 36 N.J.
- Super.46 (Ch.Div.1955).
- The term “motel” originally applied to hotels which had locales for cars to park (“motor-hotels” become “motels”) when cars first began traveling around the nation and most hotels then did not have designated locations for parking.
Thus, motels were located on high ways and made to be convenient for people traveling in cars. As more and more hotels offered parking, this distinction become obsolete and motels became simply informal hotels. While there is a certain similarity between inns and hotels, and boarding, lodging, and rooming houses, the two types of accommodations differ from each other in certain fundamental characteristics.
The major distinction is that in the case of boarding house, the proprietor deals with his or her customers individually with respect to terms and accommodations and exercises the right to reject any or all applicants at his or her pleasure, while in the case of inns and hotels the proprietor deals with the public generally on the basis of an implied contract and may not arbitrarily refuse to receive as a guest one who is entitled to be so received.
A boardinghouse has also been said to differ from an inn or both in being less public in character and in arranging with its patrons to provide for them during some more or less definite period. The distinction at common law between an innkeeper and a boarding or lodging house keeper is that the innkeeper caters to the traveling public-the transient traveler.
The lodging-house or boarding-house keeper, on the other hand, takes care of more permanent customers, who remain for longer periods and more or less permanently in the same place. Brams v. Briggs, 272 Mich.38 (Mich.1935). An apartment hotel generally applies to buildings which contain non housekeeping apartments, wherein no cooking facilities are provided and the proprietor maintains a restaurant for the convenience of his guests and furnishes other service to them.
Pitts v. Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, 160 Ohio St.129 (Ohio 1953). A hotel operated only as a health or pleasure resort, rather than for the entertainment of transients in the course of a journey, is not an inn. However, a resort facility offering sleeping accommodations to the public may meet the statutory definition of an “innkeeper.” A restaurant is not an inn or a hotel.
A restaurant has been defined as a place where refreshments, food, and drink are served. The essential difference between a restaurant and a hotel is that in restaurants, only food and drink are served, and lodging or shelter is not furnished. Likewise, a coffeehouse is also not an inn or a hotel. APPLICABLE REGULATIONS Most establishments are subject to both state and federal law since they are held to be engaged in interstate commerce.
Federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, etc. apply to hotels that are available to the general public and most states have enacted similar laws as a matter of course. “Private clubs” which host guests may not be subject to such laws and it is a question of fact as to whether a locale is a hotel or not.
- The status of a place of public accommodation as an inn or hotel is a question of fact and determined from the circumstances.
- The distinctive features of a hotel or an inn are that it receives transient guests and provides lodging.
- The character of a place as an inn or hotel is determined by the types of facilities available and services offered, and not by the type of structure or the surrounding property.
Duty to Accept Guests Generally, an innkeeper is under a duty to receive all persons who offer themselves as guests. The relation of innkeeper and guest is a mutual contractual one, and the existence of intention by both parties is an essential element Langford v.
Vandaveer, 254 S.W.2d 498 (Ky.1953). A guest is a transient person who resorts to and is received at an inn for the purpose of obtaining the accommodation which it proposes to afford. But it is essential that a party must be a transient and if s/he is transient s/he may become a guest. It is laid down as one of the distinctive features of the relation that a guest is received under an implied contract.
Pettit v. Thomas, 103 Ark.593 (Ark.1912). If one holds himself/herself out to the public as an innkeeper, and is accustomed to receive all who apply and a transient goes to the house to procure accommodation and receives entertainment, the relationship is created.
A guest may be accepted at a hotel, without registration, by the mere delivery to him/her of the key to a room by the clerk. It is not mandatory that a guest must sign a hotel register as the evidence of the contract between the parties. Such contracts are mere matters of oral consent, and are legal without further formality.
Moody v. Kenny, 153 La.1007 (La.1923). See our article on Contracts, It is to be noted that, if a person is wrongfully ejected from a restaurant, then s/he is entitled to recover damages for injury to his/her feelings as a result of the humiliation. However, provided that the laws against discrimination are not violated, an innkeeper is not under obligation to receive as a guest everyone who applies.
S/he has the right to reject or expel persons whom s/he reasonably deems objectionable. A person becomes a guest only if s/he is received to be treated as a guest and the intention to become such must be communicated to the innkeeper or his/her agent. However, a mere guest of the registered occupant of a room at a hotel, who shares such room with its occupant without the knowledge or consent of the hotel management, will not be treated as a guest of the hotel.
It is to be noted that the rights of hotel guests are not assignable or transferable. Therefore, if a registered guest, without permission from anyone representing the hotel, transferred a room to another person, that person will not have any right to its possession.
Morningstar v. Lafayette Hotel Co,, 211 N.Y.465 (N.Y.1914). It may be noted that a person who is not a guest and has no intention of becoming a guest will not have the legal right to enter or remain in a hotel against the will of the innkeeper. Such a person has a duty to leave peacefully when requested.
LIABILITY TO GUESTS Generally, an innkeeper, under the common law doctrine of infra hospitium, is strictly liable for loss or damage to a guest’s property unless the property is lost or destroyed by an act of God, public enemy, or by the fault of the guest, or from some irresistible force other than the act of God or from an inevitable accident without fault by the innkeeper.
Some jurisdictions allow the innkeeper to exonerate by showing that the loss or injury was not attributable to any fault of the innkeeper or an employee or agent. Innkeepers shall also be liable for the injury caused by the defective condition of the inn premises. Public policy requires an innkeeper to be insurer of the property of his or her guests.
An illegal act of the guest during the loss of or injury to his/her property shall not relieve the innkeeper of liability when the conduct is not the proximate cause of the loss. However, a person going to a hotel for an unlawful purpose shall not become a guest and therefore not entitled to a protection.
When a property not in the custody of a guest is lost or damaged, an innkeeper is liable only as a bailee for the property of guests. As a bailee, an innkeeper is liable only for gross negligence. Usually, an innkeeper’s liability extends to all the goods brought by a guest and received within the inn.
An innkeeper owes a duty of providing security for the innkeeper’s guests and their baggage, and is liable if that duty is breached by the negligence of the innkeeper or the innkeeper’s employees. The innkeeper shall be liable for the loss of the guest’s property and it shall extend to money, automobile or contents of the automobile, and any goods carried for commercial purpose.
- The liability of an innkeeper for the loss or injury to another’s property depends on the on the existence of the relationship of innkeeper and guest between the parties at the time of such loss or injury.
- The liability or responsibility of an innkeeper starts at the moment of the delivery of the goods.
An innkeeper is not liable even as a bailee for the property of persons who do not intend to be guests. An innkeeper is liable for the loss of or damage to a guest’s goods when they are being transported to or from the inn at his or her request. To charge an innkeeper with the extraordinary liability of an innkeeper for the safety of the property of a guest, the property should be in some manner placed in the custody and control of the innkeeper.
- A guest may retain personal custody of his or her goods within the inn without discharging the innkeeper from responsibility.
- Wherever an innkeeper puts the goods of the guest, whether opened or closed, whether checkroom maintained by innkeeper or not, is within the limits of the inn.
- Liability of an innkeeper shall be established if the guest checks in baggage, car keys and such things to the innkeeper or an employee.
Note that many hotels post a policy describing their limitations of liability for property and providing an in room safe or a safe at the front desk for valuables. Assuming the posting is reasonable, this can limit the liability to what is stolen from the safe, not what is simply left out in the room, unless negligence was shown by the inn keeper in selection of employees, etc.
- A stipulation in the form of a notice that the innkeeper is relieved of all responsibility for loss or that the goods are kept at the owner’s risk does not relieve the innkeeper from liability for loss caused by his or her own negligence or that of an employee.
- See our article on torts,
- Likewise, an inn keeper who keeps unsafe premises such that a guest is a victim of a crime may be liable for the unsafe condition under that same theory of negligence.
The innkeeper-guest relationship comes to an end when the guest pays the bill and checks out of the hotel. However, the liability of the innkeeper as such does not terminate at the instant the guest pays the bill and leaves the hotel. When the relationship of innkeeper and guest has been terminated by the departure of the guest, the innkeeper is ordinarily deemed to be liable only as a gratuitous bailee for the property of the guest entrusted to his or her custody for storage or safekeeping.
- Until the goods of a departing guest are delivered at a designated place or to the guest, such as a transportation depot, the innkeeper shall be liable.
- This liability exists though the innkeeper receives no additional compensation for providing this service.
- An innkeeper shall contract with a guest to receive the guest’s goods as an ordinary bailee, to keep it either for a reward or otherwise, and thus, be excused from extraordinary liability as an innkeeper.
An innkeeper may limit his/her common-law liability for the loss of or injury to the property of guests or make his or her liability therefore dependent upon the guests’ compliance with such rules or regulations, provided they are reasonable and due notice of the rules is given to the guest.
- A reasonable notice of the proprietor’s rule or regulation limiting his/her liability should be given to the guest in order to modify the common-law liability of the innkeeper.
- This is commonly done by written notices in the room.
- In almost all jurisdictions, statutes modify or limit the strict common-law liability of the innkeeper for the loss of or damage to property of guests.
Statutes modifying or limiting the common-law liability of an innkeeper for the loss of a guest’s property usually apply to money, jewelry, precious stones, or articles of small bulk which are to be kept within a safe or the sleeping room of the guest.
- Generally, the right to recover against an innkeeper for the loss of or injury to the goods of a guest is based on a breach of duty imposed by law.
- The doctrine of contributory negligence is applicable to bar or diminish the damages recoverable by a guest in an action against an innkeeper for loss of the guest’s property.
INN KEEPER’S LIENS At common law, an innkeeper entitled to a lien was one who held out his/her place as one for the entertainment of all respectable transient persons who chose to come to him. However, the statutory lien is not confined to transients, although the word hotel is substantially restricted to the common-law definition of an inn.
A hotel keeper has a lien upon the baggage of any guest which may be in his/her hotel. Cedar Rapids Inv. Co.v. Commodore Hotel Co,, 205 Iowa 736 (Iowa 1928). But, to entitle a person to assert an innkeeper’s lien, s/he must receive property as the goods of a guest. Baggage includes all property which is in any hotel belonging to or under the control of any guest.
The lien is upon baggage of any guest which may be in the hotel. It is the property of the guest, or under his/her control in the hotel, and not other property of the guest not located on the premises. Cedar Rapids Inv. Co.v. Commodore Hotel Co,, 205 Iowa 736 (Iowa 1928).
- Note that an automobile kept by the occupant of an apartment house in a garage adjacent to the apartment is not “baggage.” See, however, our article on Garageman’s Lien.
- The hotel keeper may take and retain possession of all baggage and may enforce his/her claim by an ordinary legal action.M. & M.
- Hotel Co.v.
Nichols, 32 N.E.2d 463 (Ohio Ct. App., Hamilton County 1935). The baggage is subject to attachment and execution for the reasonable charges of the hotel keeper against the guest, and for the costs of enforcing the lien thereon. If the hotel keeper does not proceed by an ordinary legal action s/he can retain the baggage upon which s/he has a lien for a specified period, at the expiration of which time, if such lien is not satisfied, s/he may sell such baggage.
The lien of an innkeeper extends to all the property brought by the guest to the inn and received by the innkeeper. The lien extends to all baggage and wearing apparel, furniture, and other personal property brought within the protection of the innkeeper. Similarly, the law gives to any innkeeper a lien whether the goods are the property of the traveler or the property of third parties from whom it has been hired or even fraudulently taken or stolen, if the innkeeper is bona fide, e.g.
has no notice of the wrong and acts honestly. In order to enforce the lien, a motel, hotel, inn, furnished apartment house, boardinghouse, and lodging house keeper has the right to enter peaceably the premises used by his/her guest in such premises without liability to such guest for conversion, trespass, or forcible entry.
- Lim v. Jones, 315 F.
- Supp.109, 111 (N.D.
- The courts determined that this prejudgment taking is valid under Constitutional law.
- The enforcement of lien rights is not contrary to public policy.
- A statute providing for a lien to secure payment for services rendered does not violate substantive due process.
Kerrigan v. Boucher, 326 F. Supp.647 (D. Conn.1971). Under some jurisdictions lien rights on baggage and effects kept at a lodging house arise only when a special agreement has been made between the keeper of any lodging house and any person lodging at such house, regarding the price of such lodging.
And here it must be stressed that there is a substantial difference between a lodger and a tenant. The distinction between a lodger and a tenant is that the goods of the lodger are subject to a lien for unpaid rent, while those of a tenant are not. Mathews v. Livingston, 86 Conn.263 (Conn.1912). The theory behind that differential is that a lodger is much more likely to move him or herself and the possessions outside the jurisdiction.
The lien in favor of a boarding-house keeper consists in his/her right to retain possession of the chattels in opposition to the title of the guest until the charge respecting them is paid. The detention of the property of the guest by the boarding-house keeper is necessary to hold the lien, and if the latter parts with his/her possession of it, the lien is lost, and s/he cannot afterwards retake the property.
Brown v. Harmon, 59 Ga. App.373 (Ga. Ct. App.1939). REMOVAL OF GUESTS AND GUESTS OF GUESTS Generally, an innkeeper gives a general license to all persons to enter his/her inn. It is not a trespass for one to enter an inn without a previous actual invitation. A guest is a paying patron of an inn or hotel. A guest is staying in a hotel for his own purpose.
A guest is not interested in the business purposes of a hotel. A voluntary departure without an intention of return terminates the guest relationship. Duties arising out of the innkeeper-guest relationship are terminated when the guest pays the bill and checks out of the hotel.
- An innkeeper may lawfully refuse to entertain objectionable characters calculated to injure his business or guests in a hazardous, uncomfortable or dangerous situation.
- The innkeeper need not accept anyone as a guest who is calculated to and will injure his/her business, State v.
- Steele, 106 N.C.766 (N.C.1890).
Note that this does not include the right to discriminate based on race, religion, ethnicity, etc. regardless of whether it would injure the business of the innkeeper. A guest has a right to remain in the hotel for a reasonable time. Upon the expiration of the rental period, a hotel guest has no right to use the room.
- S/he also loses any privacy interest associated with the room. State v.
- Ahumada, 125 Ariz.316, 318 (Ariz. Ct.
- In order to remain in the hotel a guest must behave “properly.” A guest must pay the amount charged.
- A guest becomes a trespasser when s/he conducts himself/herself in a disorderly manner and refuses to leave upon request.
Additionally, an innkeeper can eject from the hotel, any person who is unwilling or unable to pay for accommodations and services of the hotel or the lodging house. A guest can be ejected by resorting to necessary force. There is no necessity to acquire a right of action for ejecting a guest who behaves improperly or disorderly.
refusal to pay his bill; becoming obnoxious to the other guests by his/her own fault; becoming a person of general bad reputation; or behaving in a disorderly manner.
An innkeeper can refuse to entertain “objectionable characters” that would otherwise injure his/her business and placing himself or his guests in a hazardous, uncomfortable, or dangerous situation. Raider v. Dixie Inn, 198 Ky.152, 153-154 (Ky.1923). In one case, the guest paid her board and lodging for a week in advance.
- She proved that she was residing elsewhere and came to the hotel for treatment.
- She stayed in the hotel for a week.
- Later she was informed that she no longer had a room at that hotel.
- When questioned, the proprietors argued that the guest was a woman of “bad character.” The proprietors argued that she was a recent inmate of a house of prostitution and was of notoriously immoral character.
The proprietors claimed to lose business because of her presence at their hotel. The court held that the proprietors are permitted to lawfully refuse to entertain objectionable characters, injuring their business or to place the hotel in an uncomfortable situation.
The court added that the means used to remove were not unlawful. In another case, Bertuca v. Martinez, 2006 Tex. App. LEXIS 1386 (Tex. App. San Antonio Feb.22, 2006), the occupant checked into a room and asked not to be disturbed. His mother not able to reach him asked the front desk to check on him. Hotel staff knocked the door and there was no response, except the sound of breaking glasses.
The proprietor informed the police and he was arrested on refusal to answer to police inquiry and resistance. Later charges were dropped. However, the occupant and his mother brought an action against the hotel. The court observed that there is no landlord-tenant relationship between a hotel and its guest.
When a guest is obnoxious for some reason, he may be forcibly removed without resort to legal process, provided no more force is used than necessary”. Public inns are conducted for travelers and transient persons. An innkeeper’s liability exists only in the case of one who is a traveler and seeks the hospitality of the inn as a transient guest.
Under the common law, an inn keeper owes an extraordinary duty of protection, both of person and of property of travelers and transient persons. However, an innkeeper has no duty as to one who has lost that status. Further, there are limits as to how long one may maintain legally the guest status.
- A person is not entitled to stay indefinitely.
- A person can be ejected on reasonable notice without any other reason.
- Additionally, an innkeeper can eject a guest engaged in unlawful or objectionable conduct.
- When a guest’s stay is detrimental to the hotel, s/he can be removed.
- Some statutes empowers innkeeper to exclude disorderly persons.
United States v. Allen, 106 F.3d 695, 699 (6th Cir. Ky.1997). An innkeeper exercising his/her right to remove a guest must remove the guest in a reasonable and prudent manner. Moreover, a guest cannot be removed for an improper ground. An innkeeper cannot use force in ejecting a guest or invitee only on guest’s refusal to depart.
S/he must first request the guest to depart. An innkeeper cannot use more force than is reasonably necessary to effect the ejection. THE USUAL CULPRITS: The overwhelming majority of cases against hotels involve unsafe conditions and obnoxious guests who are disturbing other guests. In the former, a guest or guest of a guest is injured by some condition on the premises, often in the parking lot, and the hotel’s insurance company normally becomes involved.
In the latter, the inn keeper is compelled to take corrective steps to preserve the peace which leads to altercations and later litigation. The inn keeper has little choice about becoming involved if a guest is behaving in an obnoxious manner such as to alienate other guests or even cause a disturbance between guests.
- The wise innkeeper, however, will not risk the danger to employees inherent in confrontation with intoxicated or aggressive guests but simply utilize local police as necessary.
- Just because you may have the right to remove the guest does not mean that such action on your own is the best decision.
- It is vital for the wise hotel keeper to make sure that the premises are as “crime proof” as possible.
Relatively recent cases have held hotel keepers liable for unsafe conditions in parking lots when entrance doors have been broken or lights in the parking lot were insufficient. One client explained it well. “If I wouldn’t want my daughter to spend the night there safely, then I don’t want to run the hotel.
- I am doing this not just for any guest, but for the most helpless guest and that’s my job.” More and more hotels are offering amenities such as gyms, swimming pools, game rooms, etc.
- The hotel is thus under a duty equivalent to anyone offering to sell access to gymnasiums or pools and should make sure sufficient additional insurance and signage is posted.
Most pools do not have a life guard and in addition to posting that sign, fencing making it impossible for small children to enter the pool area without an adult is a wise precaution. Above all, adequate insurance must be carried, as in any business context.
Do hotels allow guests to have visitors?
It all depends on the hotel’s policies, but most hotels allow visitors coming and going, or even spending the night. What happens if a guest refuses to check out of their hotel room and does not intend to pay extra?
Why do hotels limit guests?
Why Hotel Room Occupancy Limits Exist – The primary reason these limits exist are normally due to fire code. The local fire department basically determines what it deems is safe in terms of the number of people exiting a room, hallway, staircase, etc, and passes that along to the hotel, which incorporates it into their policy.
It’s also possible that some of these laws/codes are set for an entire country, city, or similar region. Other emergency-related reasons could also exist, but it always boils down to something that’s related to safety, Hard to argue with that. Then there’s the possibility that it’s simply the hotel that limits it by their own policy.
It may seem unfair initially, but consider some examples:
An all-inclusive hotel where guests can eat and drink for freeA secluded hotel, like those in the Maldives or other hard to reach areasA luxury hotel where staff get to know guests and try to anticipate guest needs (Aman and the like)
I think most people would agree that these examples are ones where it’s quite obvious why the hotel would either limit the number of guests or at least need an accurate count. Then there are the hotels that just want the extra money. The rooms can legally (according to local law) fit more people, but the hotels want to charge.
- I will acknowledge that usually an extra person does incrementally increase costs for a hotel – more towels to wash, trash to remove, sheets to clean, and the like.
- But when you think about it, it really is minimal for each additional guest.
- This is also where the region/country comes into play.
- In the US, it’s quite common that hotels allow up to 4 people in a room, though some may limit it to two adults.
On the other hand, some hotels (though somewhat rare) charge an additional fee beyond even the first person. In the Middle East and Europe, it’s not uncommon to be charged beyond the third occupant. You’ll find all kinds of rules in between as well, but the bottom line is that some hotels usually just want to make that extra money if possible.
What is hotel denial?
Skip to content What is the meaning / definition of Denial in the hospitality industry ? Well, it is quite simple. When a hotel cannot accommodate more guests, because it is fully booked at that time, then their response to the potential customers’ request is called a Denial,
- Every year, many hotels around the world have to deny reservations to people eager to stay with them, but that is the nature of the Hospitality Industry, unfortunately.
- It is good for a fully-booked hotel, of course, but not for the people who really want to stay there! Keeping a record of Denials is always a good idea for a hotel,
Why? Because it can help them in their customer monitoring. Having such data at hand can help hotels to more effectively yield on their limited inventory, achieving the best last room value, Also, knowing how many denials you have in Year 1, for example, will give you an insight into how much extra capacity you might endeavour to create in Year 2.
- Tracking Denial statistics can give an indication of how much unfulfilled demand a hotel has for a certain date, too.
- For example, if a particular hotel in Chicago always has an increased demand for bookings on the eve of the Patrick’s Day Parade, they can adjust their prices for that date to ensure that they are maximising profits – the people who can pay increased prices get the rooms (rather than being denied them).
What is the 5 guest rule?
What is the 10 and 5 Staff Rule?
Hospitality 101 comes with a multitude of acronyms and customer service rules that can be applied in any business where service is a key element of the experience.One of the first rules taught by hospitality companies big and small is the 10 and 5 Staff Rule, also known as the ‘Zone of Hospitality’. Understanding the 10 and 5 Staff Rule Simply explained, the 10 and 5 Rule suggests that anytime a guest is within ten feet of a staff member, the staff member should make eye contact and warmly smile to acknowledge the oncoming guests.When a staff member is approximately five feet from a guest, a sincere greeting or friendly gesture of acknowledgement should accompany the eye contact and smile.Successful companies in and out of the hospitality industry have adopted their own versions of the 10 and 5 Staff Rule.At Wal-Mart, founder Sam Walton coined the ‘Ten-Foot Attitude” and, “I want you to promise that whenever you come within 10 feet of a customer, you will look him in the eye, greet him and ask him if you can help him.”At Walt Disney World, the rule is taken by outlining what should happen any time a Disney “cast member” is near a guest with Disney’s Seven Service Guidelines:• Make eye contact and smile • Greet and welcome each and every guest • Seek out guest contact • Provide immediate service recovery • Display appropriate body language at all times • Preserve the “magical” guest experience • Thank each and every guest
At Coyle Hospitality, we recognize that the essence of the ’10 and 5 Staff Rule’ is applicable throughout any service industry, as it demonstrates to guests that the staff member is aware of his or her surroundings and understands that the essential part of their job is to be helpful and welcoming.
Do you employ the 10 and 5 Staff Rule in your company? If not, is there another rule like it that you apply to your overall customer service strategy? Coyle measures this rule and other important service touch points thousands of times each and every month for global hospitality companies such as Kimpton Hotels, Mandarin Oriental Hotels and Resorts, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Contact Coyle to see how your brand stacks up against these industry leaders. : What is the 10 and 5 Staff Rule?
Is a guest always right?
Is the Customer Always Right? “The customer is always right” is an instructive saying that directs those dealing with the public to make customer satisfaction one of their highest priorities. This can be difficult when a customer has an issue with your organization and truly believes they are in the right.
- They may be making demands that are impossible for you to meet.
- So, what’s the best way to handle these situations? A key point to keep in mind is that the customer is always right, in their own mind, although not necessarily in reality.
- It’s critical not to disagree with the customer because that makes them angry and argumentative.
It’s not in anyone’s best interest to tell a customer they are wrong.
Don’t focus on the negative. Don’t even say the word, “no.” Don’t waste time focusing on who’s right or wrong in a situation. Instead, focus on the positive—on what you can do to help the customer.
In the following Customer Service Roundtable we have the insights of several experienced and successful customer service professionals. In this discussion, they share their knowledge for turning around difficult customer service situations and helping the customer get to “yes.” Ron – IT Support Help Desk “According to the customer, the customer is always right.
- According to the real world and policies and all the other variables that are involved, there may be discrepancies to that.
- A wise person once told me that the customer is always right in their own mind.
- Often they’re calling because they’ve misunderstood something: They’ve misread a bill, or they’ve misread a policy, and they’re calling you to fix it for them because they know they’re right, and you guys did it wrong, and they want you to fix it,
“But you’ve read the policies. You know them in and out. You’ve gone through the training, and the customer is incorrect. Don’t tell them they’re incorrect, but help them to understand that they are. “If you say something to the customer like, “No, you’re wrong,” you’ve just said one of the most dangerous words you can use in customer service, and that word is “no.” Learning to “say no without saying no,” is to be able to communicate that in a way they understand it without a battle, and a lot of times you can end your call with a smile, and they will thank you for your help.” BOTTOM LINE : The customer is always right—in their own mind.
- Learn to convey “no” without actually saying it.
- Athy – Regional Manager “I learned from a very smart customer service trainer years ago that you don’t want to tell the customer what you can’t do.
- What you want to do is tell them what you can do.
- And so managers first have to empower the staff to be able to make decisions so, when dealing with a customer, the employee knows what they can and can’t do.
So it’s most important to good customer service in this field to know what you can do. “Then find that fine line where you can satisfy the customer, and even if they are asking for something that you can’t provide, you still can look for that fine line to satisfy them without giving them something they may have asked for but that you really cannot do.
“So it’s searching them out, building rapport, listening to them, talking to them, acknowledging them, and then trying to find that place they can still be satisfied without maybe giving them everything that they are asking for because you can’t always give everything.” BOTTOM LINE : Don’t tell the customer what you can’t do.
Tell them what you can do. Strive to find a way to satisfy the customer. Cindy – Call Center Manager “The customer is always right, and something I live by is imagining that anything I would tell a customer could end up as a headline the next day in a newspaper.
- Whether it’s through the spoken word, or through a customer service e-mail, or social media.
- So, how horrible a “headline” would it be that XYZ Corporation said the customer is wrong? You can’t tell them that they’re wrong, but it’s our job to educate them, and inform them, and tell them what we can do to make sure they feel good when the call is finished.
We want them to walk away with a sense that they were right, and they can if we don’t tell them they weren’t.” BOTTOM LINE : Conduct yourself as if it’ll be tomorrow’s headline. The key is making the customer feel they are right. Marty – Financial Services Advisor “Let the customer believe they are right because, in their mind, they are right.
- And when they call in, or come in and see you with whatever issue they have, they are right.
- So you have to put yourself in their shoes and on their side of the table and try to resolve the issue.
- In the end, they may realize that what they were asking maybe was impossible and was not right, but it’s our job just to complete the task and let them move on and make sure they are happy.” BOTTOM LINE : In the customer’s mind, they are right.
Yuri – Call Center Professional “I believe that the customer is not always right, but the artful part of customer service is conveying to them in a fair, measured way what the policies are that you are governed by. Most people realize that what they are wanting may not be the fairest way of conducting business, but they want what they want.
- If you can say, well, let’s talk about it, that will kind of de-fuse the situation to a certain degree.
- When you let them know we’re going to arrive at a conclusion that is going to be fair to both parties, they generally will agree that you’re right, and that you’re being fair, and they’re very accepting of the particular outcome.” BOTTOM LINE : The artful part of customer service is conveying policy in a fair and measured way.
Try to arrive at a conclusion that is fair for all parties. Flery – Client Service Manager “Is the customer always right? Absolutely! The moment you say the customer is wrong is when you need to realize you are about to lose this customer. So what I usually do with a situation like that is to ask myself if I can afford to lose this customer.
If the answer is no, then the customer is right! “So, I always think that the customer is right, and in the end you have to deliver what they want anyway. It’s just that customer service is such an art, and we all know that you have to somehow figure out how to resolve the issue and make the customer happy, but the bottom line is that the customer is right.” BOTTOM LINE : Ask yourself, can I afford to lose this customer? Ron – IT Support Help Desk “Part of dealing with a customer that is right is to put yourself in their shoes, understand why they are right, understand where they are coming from.
When they call you, they know what they know, they have information, maybe even a letter directly from you with specifics, and whether the caller is correct or not, you have to first understand why they think they are right. That way you can determine a best way to communicate with them so they understand the other side.
“You have to put yourself in their shoes, yes, but you also have to keep it fair, as well. You have to be fair to them, because, first of all, as we’ve said, the worst word in customer service is “no.” You don’t have to say that word to come to an understanding with the caller that is fair to all. Help them understand where you’re coming from rather than have them think you’re just flat out denying them whatever they’re asking for.
Explain the “why’s behind the what’s.” “You don’t have to be overly wordy in the explanation. You don’t have to give them all the “legalese.” You don’t have to explain every step of the process. But at least explain enough that they understand those “why’s behind the what’s.” Because, when they understand, they’ll still be right but may have changed their opinion totally from when they first called.” BOTTOM LINE : Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
- Be fair to the customer as well as your organization.
- Explain the “why’s” behind the “what’s.” PARTING THOUGHTS : Remembering the motto, “The customer is always right,” is an important first step to keeping positive customer interactions, even when things start out in the rough.
- Stamp out the word, “no,” from your vocabulary in your customer interactions to avoid fueling arguments over who is technically right or wrong.
Customer service professionals can find common ground to avoid fueling a conflict with a customer and arrive at a resolution to an issue that is fair to all parties. Honoring the customer as being “right” gives you an opportunity to control the call and finish it with a satisfied client.
Do hotels check how many guests?
Search and rescue – One reason you will see hotels ask about the number of occupants is because they want to make sure that in the event of an emergency they can account for all guests. You could imagine a scenario where a rescue worker is told there are only two people in a suite but really there are four.
Can I visit my friend in a hotel?
It depends on the hotel’s policy. Some hotels may charge an additional fee for a second person, while others may not. It is best to check with the hotel directly before booking your room online to make sure you are aware of any extra fees that might be associated with having two people in one room.
Do hotels charge for extra guest?
Extra Guest Fees at Hotels – The extra guest fee is a discretionary fee. A hotel room is conventionally booked for two people. If you have a third person with you, your bill might shoot up by as much as half. The hotel may argue that the extra person is using the amenities—water, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and room service that was originally meant for two, and the hotel is charging you for more water usage, electricity usage, etc.
From this point of view, it does not sound too unreasonable. It is also true that an extra person does not necessarily mean 50% more resources will be used by them. If you have a third person with you, ask about an extra guest charge when you check in at the hotel. Most hotels allow kids under 10 to stay without any extra charge.
Never attempt to hide the fact that an extra person is staying in your hotel room. Housekeeping knows exactly how many guests are on any floor at a given time. For visitors, travel, student and other international travel medical insurance. Visit insubuy.com or call +1 (866) INSUBUY or +1 (972) 985-4400
Can you bring extra person to hotel?
If you bring another person into a hotel room that you only booked for one, it could result in additional charges. Depending on the hotel’s policy, they may charge an extra fee for having more than one guest in the room.
Do hotels have a blacklist?
Here’s what can get you banned by airlines, hotels and rental car companies Don’t hit a flight attendant. Don’t trash your hotel room. And whatever you do, don’t leave a gun in your rental car. All of the above can land you on the travel industry’s mysterious blacklists — banned from flying, staying or renting again.
- But it turns out you can also get there for much smaller infractions, which include disputing a credit card charge or spilling a drink on a crew member.
- The lines aren’t always clear.
- Consider what happened on Richard Laermer’s Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Westchester County Airport in New York in 2014.
When he tried to access the lavatories during meal service, Laermer says, he accidentally spilled a drink on an empty seat. A flight attendant, believing he’d thrown the beverage at her, reported him to the pilot. “When we landed in Westchester, there were three large police officers waiting for me,” recalls Laermer, who owns a New York communications consulting company.
- They took me into a windowless room, and they told me I had threatened a crew member.” An airline representative visited him while he was being detained to say he was on the company’s “no fly” list, effective immediately.
- All because of a drink,” Laermer says.
- Delta didn’t respond to a request for comment on Laermer’s case.
But his experience calls into question the conventional wisdom about blacklists: that you can only get on them for a serious infraction. Hotels and cruise lines also keep blacklists, and you can get banned from travel for all the reasons you might expect — and some you might not.
- Disputing credit card charges, for example, is often considered enough to warrant blacklisting, even if the dispute isn’t resolved in your favor.
- Christie Bissias, who sailed on the Norwegian Bliss with her family last year, says she didn’t think she’d done anything that warranted getting her name on the cruise line’s “do not sail” list.
After a less-than-satisfactory cruise — her chief complaint was that the company failed to provide her and her family with connecting rooms — she complained to Norwegian Cruise Line. “I was never aggressive, abusive or ugly,” says Bissias, who works for a technology company in Houston.
- NCL offered her $3,000 in future cruise credits by way of apology, but she said she preferred a refund.
- When the cruise line didn’t offer one, she disputed her credit card charges.
- After that, NCL told her she was on its “do not sail” list.
- The company would not comment on her case, but when Bissias appealed her blacklisting, NCL allowed her to return.
“They said there was a system error that caused all of this confusion,” she says. With car companies, normally, it takes a serious offense to land on the “do not rent” list — an offense like the one Niebes Castillo committed. Castillo, a truck driver from Baytown, Tex., left his handgun in his rental car.
- He caught the mistake almost immediately, turned around and retrieved the weapon.
- I was in a rush,” he says.
- I know it was careless and reckless of me.” But Hertz added him to the “do not rent” list, as is the car rental company’s standard practice for customers who leave weapons in their rental vehicles.
Interestingly, car rental companies might blacklist you for lesser infractions. I just had a case from Jacob Danesh, an e-commerce worker from Pikesville, Md., who says Hertz blacklisted him because he used a discount code for which he didn’t qualify.
Another bannable crime: disputing damage charges on a rental car, as Carol Amitin discovered. She’d rented a car in Baltimore, parked it on her street and then returned it. The car rental company, Enterprise, claimed she damaged the vehicle and billed her. She disputed the credit card charges and won. Then Amitin, a retired nurse from Baltimore, tried to rent another car from Enterprise and discovered that she’d actually lost — she couldn’t rent a car.
“I was put on a ‘do not rent’ list for Enterprise, which also included their other car rental companies, Alamo and National,” she told me. She had no idea what had happened until she tried to rent another car. “I was informed by the counter personnel that I was on the list and nothing could be done about it, even though I had confirmed reservations in each case,” she says.
- Maybe it’s time for customers to draw up blacklists of their own.
- That’s what Laermer, the banned Delta passenger, did.
- After he appealed his blacklisting, Delta allowed him to return.
- Laermer took one final flight, which he had already booked, and then took his business elsewhere.
- I fly JetBlue now,” he says.
“They’re better.” Of course, companies have every right to choose which travelers they do business with, as long as it’s legal. But taken together, the cases I’ve received in the past few years present a troubling picture. Most people know they can get banned for striking a crew member or damaging a rental car.
What is a blacklisted guest in a hotel?
How to deal with blacklisted guests Hotels, restaurants and pubs have long adopted a blacklisting strategy where misbehaving guests are prevented from booking with them by having their card marked in their customer database. ‘The guest is always right’ is a motto that usually stands the test of time.
That is until someone detaches the 60″ LCD TV from the wall of your premium suite and throws it into the car park. When should you blacklist a guest? Not every guest is perfect. Some are downright rude, while others resort to criminal damage or, admittedly on rarer occasions, physical violence. This is a largely subjective area and comes down to just how much you are willing to tolerate inappropriate behaviour.
However, there are several scenarios where the ultimate hospitality red card should be shown: No pay, no play If a guest leaves without paying then clearly a phone call is required to ensure there wasn’t a legitimate reason for their sudden disappearance.
Causing significant damage As that expensive TV shatters into a thousand shards of glass that will inevitably injure an innocent passer-by, one thing should be on your mind – ‘this guest must never stay in our accommodation, eat in our restaurant, or drink at our pub ever again.’ Verbal or physical abuse If a staff member is verbally or physically assaulted then clearly, you’ll need to call the police, but it goes without saying that such a guest must never darken your door again.
Unreasonable requests If a guest makes a series of endless, lofty requests that you simply can’t fulfill then clearly you are not up to scratch in their book. Similarly, if they take up excessive staff time with demands for gold toothbrushes or unlimited bowls of Skittles then you are much better off without them.
- How front line staff can manage blacklisted guests One thing you cannot do is prevent blacklisted guests from contacting you again in the future.
- They may do this by phone, email or online.
- Providing you have an effective accommodation or restaurant booking system with a blacklist capability then staff should be quickly aware of their presence.
When such instances occur, your team needs to feel equipped, empowered and ready to deal with the offender. Understandably, they may be a little nervous about doing so. To help settle with these concerns, here is a step-by-step process for handling blacklisted guests for front line staff.
Listen to their request as you would do any other guest – don’t interject with the bad news immediately or resort to name calling.Politely explain that you are unable to accept a reservation from them due to a previous incident.They may ask ‘which incident?’ Explain that you simply can’t go into detail, and that the decision has been made by the management.If they continue to push for a reservation, calmly reiterate that you simply don’t have the ability to do so.Suggest they seek alternative option (avoid referencing the competition – it’s a cheap shot and won’t win you any friends).If they simply won’t give in, tell them you’ll pass their contact details onto the manager.If they become abusive, say “I’m sorry, I cannot continue this conversation if you’re going to be verbally abusive.” Unless they placate, simply hang up – you are absolutely entitled to do so.
Every hospitality business has to deal with a blacklisted guest at some stage. It’s an unpleasant issue, but can be made all the more simple and less damaging if you follow the rules and guidelines above. The good news is that few blacklisted guests will try to re-book more than once. This was written by Mark Ellis of . : How to deal with blacklisted guests
What is hotel discrimination?
HUMAN RIGHTS GUIDE A printable pdf version of this interpretive bulletin is available. Lack of access for persons with physical disabilities in restaurants and hotels Refusing to rent hotel rooms based on protected characteristics Denying restaurant service based on mental or physical disability Refusing services to, discriminating against, or harassing a person based on their sexual orientation or gender Denying entrance to nightclubs and bars based on race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, or gender Case law examples How hospitality industry service providers can deal with human rights issues Preventive strategies Customer complaint strategy How customers can deal with human rights issues Related resources Contact us This publication discusses Alberta Human Rights Commission policies and guidelines.
- Commission policies and guidelines reflect the Commission’s interpretation of certain sections of the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHR Act) as well as the Commission’s interpretation of relevant case law.
- Case law includes legal decisions made by human rights tribunals and the courts.
- As the case law evolves, so do the Commission’s policies and guidelines.
Commission policies and guidelines:
- help individuals, employers, service providers and policy makers understand their rights and responsibilities under Alberta’s human rights law, and
- set standards for behaviour that complies with human rights law.
The information in this publication was current at the time of publication. If you have questions related to Commission policies and guidelines, please contact the Commission, Introduction The hospitality industry-made up of hotels, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs-serves Albertans and visitors from around the world.
Under the Alberta Human Rights Act, hospitality service providers must treat customers, guests and clients fairly and equitably. Among their legal responsibilities, the province’s hospitality-industry operators have a responsibility to ensure that the services they provide are free of discrimination.
By providing a service free of discrimination, hospitality operators help to protect both the dignity of their customers and their own business interests. The Alberta Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in many areas of public life, including the provision of services, facilities, goods, and accommodation that are customarily available to the public in the hospitality industry.
The AHR Act prohibits discrimination in Alberta on the basis of any of the following characteristics: race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status, or sexual orientation. The Act also prohibits discrimination based on age, but not in the area of services, facilities, goods and accommodation customarily available to the public, or in the area of tenancy.
Age is not a protected ground in the following areas:
- residential and commercial tenancy.
- goods, services, accommodation or facilities that are customarily available to the public. For example, a movie theatre offers lower ticket prices to seniors (people over 65 years of age) only. Because age is not protected in the area of services, a 55-year-old could not make a complaint of discrimination based on age in this case.
The AHR Act defines age as “18 years or older.” Persons who are 18 years or older can make complaints on the ground of age in these areas:
- employment practices
- employment applications or advertisements
- statements, publications, notices, signs, symbols, emblems or other representations that are published, issued or displayed before the public
- membership in trade unions, employers’ organizations or occupational associations
Persons under the age of 18 can make complaints on all grounds except the ground of age, For example, a 16-year-old can make a complaint of discrimination in the area of services customarily available to the public based on the grounds of physical disability, race, gender, etc.
- an overview of their rights and responsibilities under the AHR Act,
- examples of discriminatory practices and non-discriminatory alternatives,
- summaries of leading human rights cases involving the hospitality industry,
- a list of resources for the hospitality industry, and
- options for dispute resolution.
Rights and responsibilities under the Alberta Human Rights Act The rights and responsibilities described in this interpretive bulletin flow from the AHR Act and also from decisions of human rights tribunals and courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
The AHR Act prohibits discrimination, that is, treating a person differently based on the person’s characteristics such as race, gender, or physical disability, or any of the other protected grounds listed above. The philosophy behind the law is that people should be considered on their individual strengths and shortcomings, not because they belong to a particular group of people.
In other words, it is unacceptable to discriminate against individuals on the basis of characteristics that are protected under the AHR Act, For example, to deny a person a hotel room simply because he or she was born in a different country is discriminatory treatment, based on place of origin.
- A policy or practice may appear to treat everyone equally, but if it results in derogatory treatment based on any of the protected grounds, it is discriminatory.
- For example, a restaurant that can only be reached by climbing a flight of stairs appears to treat all customers equally.
- But customers in wheelchairs won’t be able to eat at the restaurant.
The result is discriminatory treatment of people with physical disabilities. The Supreme Court of Canada has found that such a policy or practice, even if it appears to treat everyone equally, is discrimination under the law, unless the business can demonstrate that accommodating the person would be an undue hardship.
- How does the club or organization define its membership? The more specific the membership criteria, the more likely the club is not a service customarily available to the public.
- Who receives services? A club that limits its services only to members, for example, by excluding public guests from club events, is not a service customarily available to the public.
- Is the service a commercial venture? Clubs that are engaged in commercial services are usually services customarily available to the public. However, clubs that are involved in non-commercial activities are not always available to the public.
The AHR Act covers nightclubs and bars, including those that require customers to become members with payment of a fee as the only requirement for membership. Any attempt to deny a person membership to this type of club based on a person’s protected characteristics is discrimination under the AHR Act,
- Accommodation aims to create equal access The AHR Act recognizes that all persons are equal in dignity, rights, and responsibilities when it comes to the provision of public services.
- One aspect of the process of ensuring that all persons have equal access is accommodation,
- In accommodating customers or clients, the service provider may need to make adjustments or provide alternative arrangements to the service to ensure there is no negative effect on individuals based on their protected characteristics.
For example, customers wearing a turban or other head covering for religious reasons should not be requested to remove these even if the restaurant has a dress code prohibiting the wearing of hats or other head coverings. Persons who require accommodation must also help, if they can, to facilitate the accommodation process.
- bringing the need for accommodation to the attention of the service provider,
- supporting a request for accommodation with medical or other related documentation if necessary,
- suggesting appropriate accommodation measures, and
- giving a service provider a reasonable amount of time to respond to the request for accommodation. For example, a person with an allergy to smoke is responsible for letting a hotel know that he or she needs a non-smoking room when making a reservation.
In providing discrimination-free services, employers, business owners and franchisors need to remember that they bear the responsibility for the actions of their employees and contracted staff. For example, if a desk clerk refuses to allow a guest with a visual impairment to bring a guide dog into a hotel room, the hotel owners, as a corporate entity or as individuals, are legally responsible.
Or, if a bouncer refuses to allow a person to enter a nightclub based on the person’s race, colour, ancestry, or place of origin, both the nightclub owner and the bouncer are legally responsible. Discrimination may be reasonable and justifiable The AHR Act recognizes that, in some circumstances, discrimination is reasonable and justifiable.
A service provider, for instance, may refuse to offer services to some people based on one or more protected characteristics if that refusal is necessary for the provider to meet the objectives of its service. This could include a service provider’s need to ensure a safe environment for employees and customers.
- The most common form of discrimination in the hospitality industry is lack of physical access for persons with physical disabilities that restrict their mobility, for example, people who use wheelchairs. While Alberta’s Safety Codes Act requires barrier-free design of new buildings and premises, many older businesses remain less accessible for persons with physical disabilities that restrict their mobility than for other customers. Some common obstacles for persons with restricted mobility are the absence of a ramp to the building entrance, entrances that are too narrow, doors that are hard to open, counters that are too high, seating that does not include room for a wheelchair, and washrooms that are located at the end of poorly lit, narrow hallways at the back of the premises.
- Hearing impairment is also a disability that is often poorly accommodated in the hospitality business. Common issues include restaurant background music loud enough to interfere with hearing aids, cash registers that do not provide a visual display, and the absence of a printed menu or menu board.
- Persons with a visual impairment often find their needs are not accommodated as well. Some of the obstacles to accessibility for people with visual impairments are poorly lit signage, printing in menus or brochures that is difficult to read, and the absence of Braille or raised lettering on washroom doors and elevators.
- Persons who depend upon service animals (usually dogs) to help with everyday activities find that some restaurant and hotel operators are reluctant to provide them with service. Common examples include being told that there are no tables or rooms available when in fact some are available, and being placed in an inferior seat or room when better ones are available and are being offered to persons without service animals. A person who needs a service dog for assistance has the right to have their service dog with them at all times within the restaurant or hotel.
The human rights principle of accommodation requires service providers in the hospitality industry to ensure that their premises are accessible. Even though the Alberta Safety Codes Act might not require that a business make its premises accessible to persons in wheelchairs, the business may still have that duty under human rights law.
For example, a hotel constructed before ramped entrances were required must still provide ramp access for persons in wheelchairs unless it can demonstrate that it would be undue hardship do so. Some buildings and establishments might not be fully accessible. This may be considered reasonable and justifiable discrimination if making the premises accessible would cause undue hardship for the business owner or operator.
For example, it might be undue hardship for a small coffee bar to permanently remove stools to provide access for persons in wheelchairs. For more information about undue hardship, see the Commission interpretive bulletin Duty to Accommodate, There are a number of tools that hospitality service providers can use to assess the physical accessibility of their building or premises.
The Safety Codes Act, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard for Barrier Free Design, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission checklist for identifying critical accessibility indicators all provide helpful information for understanding and assessing physical accessibility of facilities.
Refusing to rent hotel rooms based on protected characteristics In the hotel industry, discrimination happens when a hotel operator refuses to rent a room based on a person’s race, colour, ancestry, sexual orientation, family or marital status, disability or source of income.
- refusing to rent based on the pretext that the hotel is fully occupied;
- requiring hotel guests, based on their protected characteristics (such as race, colour, ancestry, or place of origin), to pay a higher deposit than other guests;
- quoting a higher room rate based on the guest’s protected characteristics;
- refusing to rent to prospective guests, based on their sexual orientation-for example, a bed and breakfast operator refusing to rent to a same-sex couple;
- refusing to rent to a prospective guest, based on his or her source of income-for example, refusing to rent to persons who receive social assistance; and
- requiring a guest to vacate a hotel room on the assumption that he or she was responsible for a disturbance in the hotel, based on his or her protected characteristics.
Hotel operators can refuse to rent rooms to persons in order to maintain the safety of their customers and staff, as well as to protect hotel property from damage. But hotel operators may only do so based on their experience with the individual guest, and not on the basis of the guest’s protected characteristics.
For example, a hotel operator can refuse to provide service to a guest who previously damaged a hotel room, who previously left the hotel without paying for the room, who displays violent behaviour, or who harasses staff or other customers. Hotel operators may not refuse to rent a room based on a person’s perceived relationship to another person or group, as defined by a protected characteristic.
For example, it is illegal discrimination for a hotel operator to refuse to rent a room based on the violent reputation of the guest’s brother, or based on the hotel operator’s experience with other persons who come from the same part of the world as the guest comes from.
- refusing to seat a customer with mental or physical disabilities during busy periods of the day;
- asking a customer with mental or physical disabilities to leave the restaurant after spending a set period of time in the restaurant, while not making the same demand of other customers;
- asking a customer with mental or physical disabilities to make a minimum purchase, while not making the same demand of other customers; and
- seating a customer with mental or physical disabilities at the back of the restaurant, next to the washrooms, when there is more desirable seating available.
In some circumstances, it may be reasonable and justifiable for a restaurant operator to provide a differential level of service to someone with a disability if that person is seriously disrupting the quiet enjoyment of the restaurant by other customers.
But the restaurant operator will have to be able to demonstrate such a customer was accommodated to the point of undue hardship. For example, should a customer with a disability cause a serious disruption due to their disability, the customer could be seated in a manner that reduced the impact on other customers.
The preference of other customers, however, is not sufficient reason for a restaurant operator to discriminate against persons based on a mental disability or any other protected characteristic. For example, it is not reasonable and justifiable for a restaurant operator to provide a differential level of service to a person with a disability based simply on comments from other customers that they do not want to eat at the restaurant because of that person’s presence.
Refusing services to, discriminating against, or harassing a person based on their sexual orientation or gender Some hotels, bars and restaurants deny services or give substandard service to customers because of their sexual orientation or because they are transgendered (included under the protected ground of gender).
The most common examples of this type of discrimination are:
- denying rental of a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast room to a same-sex couple;
- giving substandard service to a same-sex couple or a person who is presumed to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered;
- refusing entry to a bar for a same-sex couple because of their sexual orientation;
- allowing other customers to harass someone based on their sexual orientation or gender when the service provider would intervene in other cases of harassment;
- refusing to accommodate a transgendered person who uses a washroom onsite-this is an issue of accommodation that could be resolved by supporting the transgendered person’s decision to use a single stall washroom or to use the women’s or men’s washroom, depending on what gender they identify as.
Denying entrance to nightclubs and bars based on race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, or gender Some nightclub and bar operators deny entrance to customers based on race, colour, place of origin, or gender. The most common examples of this type of discrimination are:
- only admitting one group of clientele-for example, only admitting persons originally from specific countries;
- effectively excluding some customers by some indirect method-for example, asking only some customers, based on their race, for multiple pieces of identification;
- explicitly excluding particular groups-for example, refusing entry to women but not men, or to groups of persons from specific parts of the world; and
- enforcing a dress code based on membership in one group, while not enforcing the code for other customers-for example, applying a “no jeans” rule to customers of a specific cultural background, but not to others.
Nightclub and bar operators do have a responsibility to protect their staff and customers from harassment and violence. They also have the right to protect their premises and equipment from being damaged. In addition, nightclub and bar owners have a duty under the Gaming and Liquor Act not to serve persons who are overly intoxicated.
In maintaining a safe environment and meeting such legal obligations, club owners must target the behaviour of individuals rather than personal characteristics that are protected under human rights legislation such as their race, ancestry, colour, place of origin, or gender. For example, club owners can deny entrance to their premises to persons who have shown by wearing gang colours or tattoos that they are gang members.
Case law examples Human rights case law is constantly evolving based on cases that come before the courts and human rights tribunals. The following case law examples may help those working in the hospitality industry to provide discrimination-free services.
- Discrimination will be found where hotel guests are treated differently than other guests are treated, and such differential treatment is based on a ground protected by human rights legislation. After six Aboriginal guests were evicted from the Highland Park Motor Lodge because they used hotel towels to mop up their wet motor vehicle, the owner engaged in a physical confrontation with some of the guests and spoke to them in a derogatory fashion. The Manitoba Court of Appeal held that derogatory language was not, in itself, discriminatory. Further, in the absence of evidence that the owner would have treated other guests differently in the same circumstances, no discrimination was established. Bewz a, Kotyk and Highland Park Motor Lodge v. Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council (1985), 7 C.H.R.R. D/3225 (Manitoba Court of Appeal) (Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada refused June 12, 1986)
- Services offered by a club, where there is a private relationship between the club and its members, are not protected under the area of services customarily available to the public. The complainants were women who were members of the Marine Drive Golf Club or had attended the golf club as guests of members. These women filed a complaint that they had been denied access to the men’s-only lounge at the golf club, known as the “Bullpen.” The British Columbia Court of Appeal found: The Golf Club and its members have come together as a result of a private selection process based on attributes personal to the members. Thus, the nature of the service-provider and the service-user indicate a private, not a public, relationship. The Golf Club is closer to the “purely social” rather than “purely economic” end of the organizational spectrum. It is entitled to discriminate at the initial stage of admission to its organization. Since the does not apply at the initial stage of admission to membership, it does not apply within the private organization. The court went on to say that members knew of the club rules that certain areas of the club were restricted by gender. The Marine Drive Golf Club was not a “service customarily available to the public” and therefore did not fall within the B.C. Human Rights Code, Marine Drive Golf Club v. Buntain (2007), 58 C.H.R.R. D/471BC Court of Appeal, (Application for leave to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada dismissed without reasons S.C.C.A. No.112)
- Dress code cannot be used to hide discrimination based on race, colour, and ancestry. Ms. Carpenter was a member of the Nuchanlet First Nation, and was refused entry to a nightclub in Victoria, B.C., because she did not meet the dress code. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal concluded that Ms. Carpenter’s First Nations ancestry was a factor in the nightclub’s refusal to allow her entry, and, therefore, the refusal was discriminatory. Carpenter v. Limelight Entertainment Ltd. (1999), C.H.R.R. Doc.99-197 B.C. Human Rights Tribunal
- Differential treatment of persons with mental disabilities is discriminatory. Members of a group called People First gathered at the North Burnaby Inn for coffee before attending their regular meeting elsewhere. The group was served in a discriminatory way, and was told by the waitress several times that the manager did not want “retarded people” in his establishment. The British Columbia Human Rights Board of Inquiry found that the inn discriminated against persons with mental disabilities when staff did not serve them in the coffee shop or provided substandard service, and repeatedly indicated that they were not welcome. Cavalli n v. North Burnaby Inn (1984), 6 C.H.R.R. D/2496 B.C. Human Rights Board of Inquiry
- Refusal to serve a patron because of the patron’s apparent intoxication must be based on reasonable evidence and belief. As a result of childhood polio, Harold Johnston was unsteady on his feet and required a leg brace. He also suffered from brain damage after childhood surgery, leaving him with slurred speech. Mr. Johnston was refused entry into a restaurant because the owner thought he was intoxicated. While the owner had a statutory duty to refuse service to an intoxicated person, he was found liable for discrimination because he failed to make reasonable efforts to determine whether Mr. Johnston was intoxicated. At the time of the refusal of service, Mr. Johnston’s leg brace was readily visible and the reason for his slurred speech was explained to the restaurant owner. Johnston v. Levin and Midtown Hotel Limited (1996), 25 C.H.R.R. D/82 (Ontario Board of Inquiry)
- Differential treatment based on sexual orientation is discriminatory. The manager of JMG Pub called C.L. an offensive name and told her that lesbians were not welcome in the pub. The tribunal found that while this did not constitute a denial of service, it did constitute discrimination regarding a service or facility.C.L.v. Badyal (1998), 34 C.H.R.R. D/41 B.C. Human Rights Tribunal
- Differential treatment based on a physical disability is discriminatory. Ms. Leong is a diabetic who injects insulin into her abdomen before breakfast and dinner each day. She must eat within thirty minutes of taking her insulin or risk passing out or going into a coma. Ms. Leong and two friends went for dinner at the Knight and Day restaurant and were seated in a semi-private booth. Ms. Leong proceeded to inject herself discreetly but was observed by a server. The server came over to the table and said that Ms. Leong’s actions were disgusting. The manager agreed with the server that injecting insulin at the table was disgusting. He would not confirm that the restaurant was going to serve Ms. Leong and her friends, so they left the restaurant. The restaurant did not participate in the hearing and as a result the tribunal did not hear any evidence that the respondent had a bona fide reasonable justification for its actions. The tribunal found that the restaurant discriminated against Ms. Leong based on her disability. Leong v. Knight & Day Restaurants Corp. (2004), C.H.R.R. Doc 04-193 B.C. Human Rights Tribunal
- Customer preference for services without the presence of children is not reasonable and justifiable discrimination. Mr. Micallef, his wife, and three children aged seven, two, and six months went for dinner in the main dining room of the Glacier Park Lodge. When they entered the dining room, they were directed by a server to the cafeteria and told that it was better suited to families with small children. They went to the cafeteria, but decided they did not want to eat there, and returned to the dining room. Once more they were told to leave, this time by the president of the Glacier Park Lodge. After a conversation they were seated in the dining room. Mr. Micallef made a human rights complaint, alleging that the lodge discriminated against his family by denying them a service customarily available to the public because of their family status. The tribunal found that the fact that some diners might be disturbed by the presence of young children was not a bona fide and reasonable justification for a policy of discouraging families from eating in the dining room. Micalle f v. Glacier Park Lodge Ltd. (1998), 33 C.H.R.R. D/249 B.C. Human Rights Tribunal
- Business has a duty to accommodate transgendered customers. Ms. Sheridan was a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual who was denied the use of the women’s washroom in B.J.’s Lounge in Victoria, B.C. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal found that the lounge’s treatment of Ms. Sheridan was discriminatory on the basis of gender and disability. Sheridan v. Sanctuary Investments Ltd. (No.3) (1999), 33 C.H.R.R. D/467 BC Human Rights Tribunal
- Differential treatment based on race is discriminatory. Mr. Randhawa made a human rights complaint alleging discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin and religious beliefs when he was denied entry to the Tequila Nightclub. He alleged that when he and some friends tried to enter the nightclub, a doorman told them that the lineup was under surveillance by management, and that when they reached the entrance, another doorman would be instructed to ask them for several pieces of identification. Even though the complainant and his friends responded that they had appropriate identification, the doorman stated they would then ask for additional identification until Mr. Randhawa and his friends could not meet the requirement. The doorman stated that management had a certain image for the bar and did not want the clients to say that there were a lot of “brown people” inside. The respondent nightclub denied using racist policies to determine entrance to the club. The panel found merit to the complaint, ordering the respondent to implement a specific anti-racism policy and to participate in a commission human rights education workshop. The panel awarded $5,000 in general damages for injury to dignity and self respect, as well as travel expenses and interest. Randhaw a v. Tequilla Bar and Grill Ltd. (2008), 62 C.H.R.R. D/350
- Private club is not exempt from human rights law; dress code is not reasonable and justifiable discrimination. Mr. Singh was a member of the Sikh faith and wore a turban as a requirement of his religion. Mr. Singh was to attend a Christmas party at the Jasper Place Legion in Edmonton, Alberta, but was informed ahead of time that the legion’s dress code prohibited him from wearing his turban. The Alberta Human Rights Board of Inquiry determined that the legion was not a limited social club, but rather a service customarily available to the public, because so many non-legion events were held there and because the legion didn’t enforce sign-in requirements for non-members. The Board of Inquiry also determined that upholding the legion’s dress code was not sufficient justification for discriminating against Mr. Singh based on his religion. Singh v. Royal Canadian Legion, Jasper Place (Alta.), Branch No.255 (1990), 11 C.H.R.R. D/357 (Board of Inquiry)
How hospitality industry service providers can deal with human rights issues Owners, managers, and employees in the hospitality industry have a responsibility to take steps to make their establishments discrimination-free and deal fairly with human rights concerns raised by customers, clients and guests. The following strategies are options to consider. Preventive strategies
- Educate all staff about how Alberta’s human rights legislation prohibits discrimination, and make them aware of their obligations.
- Promote corporate pride in providing accessible services to a diverse clientele.
- Contact the Alberta Human Rights Commission to arrange for an educational workshop on rights and responsibilities related to human rights in the hospitality industry.
- Designate a manager or staff member to be the contact for issues related to human rights, and advise staff to direct human rights issues to that person.
- Audit your establishment’s human rights performance by reviewing the physical accessibility of your facilities and identifying policies that restrict service.
- Put in place a policy on accommodating customers’ special needs arising from protected characteristics such as physical or mental disability.
- Seek expert input about accessibility from community groups that represent persons with disabilities.
- Educate staff about the unique aspects of people with diverse backgrounds. You can find ideas on how to learn more about diversity in the Help Make a Difference tip sheet. Visit the Help Make a Difference website or contact the Commission to get a copy.
- Consider the benefits of hiring a qualified and diverse staff, particularly in positions that deal with the public.
- Provide staff with conflict resolution training.
Customer complaint strategy Even when preventive strategies are in place, problems may arise. The following strategies provide ideas for dealing with customer complaints.
- Designate a manager or staff person to deal with problems promptly. The designated person should be available to meet with the customer, in a private setting if possible.
- In the absence of an immediate verbal resolution, ask the customer to write a description of the issue and make an appointment to speak or meet with a manager as soon as possible.
- Investigate the customer’s complaint.
- Attempt to resolve the complaint with the customer.
- Contact the Alberta Human Rights Commission to get a free confidential consultation regarding the human rights issue.
- Inform the customer that he or she may contact the Commission for a free confidential consultation.
How customers can deal with human rights issues Customers, clients and guests can look for constructive ways to deal with issues of discrimination and accommodation if they encounter them in hospitality-industry establishments. Here are some options:
- Take immediate action by seeking out a supervisor and explaining your human rights issue. If you need accommodation, clearly state what your needs are.
- If taking immediate action is not appropriate or possible, write a detailed description of the human rights issue and make an appointment to speak or meet with a manager as soon as possible.
- Contact the Alberta Human Rights Commission to get a free confidential consultation regarding your human rights issue.
- Make a human rights complaint to the Commission. (For more information, see the Commission’s information sheet Complaint process,)
- For more information about the Alberta Human Rights Act, contact the Alberta Human Rights Commission,
- For suggestions on how to build more inclusive businesses, see “34 ways to build stronger, better relationships between people of all backgrounds.”
- For more information about the Gaming and Liquor Act, contact the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. To find the office nearest you, call Service Alberta toll-free within Alberta at 310-0000. Visit the AGLC website,
- For more information about the Safety Codes Act, contact Safety Services at Alberta Municipal Affairs. Call 1-866-421-6929 toll-free within Alberta. (Note that all callers must dial 1-866.) Visit the Safety Services website,
- For more information about the Personal Information Protection Act, contact the Access and Privacy Branch of Alberta Government Services. Call 780-644-PIPA (7472) in Edmonton. To call toll-free from Alberta locations outside Edmonton, first dial 310-0000. Visit the PIPA website,
Please note: Persons with hearing disabilities can get toll-free TTY/TDD access to Government of Alberta offices by calling 1-800-232-7215. For province-wide free phone calls to Alberta government offices from a cellular phone, enter *310 (for Rogers) or #310 (for Telus and Bell), wait for the message and then enter the area code and phone number.
Public and government callers can phone without paying long distance or airtime charges. Hotels provide temporary accommodation and include motels, inns, and bed and breakfast accommodation. Gould v. Yukon Order of Pioneers, (1996) 1 S.C.R.571; Singh v. Royal Canadian Legion, Jasper Place (Alb.), Branch No.255 (1990), 11 D/357 C.H.R.R.
HOW TO HANDLE GUEST COMPLAINTS – Follow these 4 simples steps.
In this publication, the words “transgender” and “transgendered” are used to refer to people who identify as either transgender or transsexual. The Ontario Human Rights Commission offers a helpful definition of gender identity on its website: “Gender identity is linked to a person’s sense of self, and particularly the sense of being male or female.
- Transgender: People whose life experience includes existing in more than one gender. This may include people who identify as transsexual, and people who describe themselves as being on a gender spectrum or as living outside the gender categories of ‘man’ or ‘woman.’
- Transsexual: People who were identified at birth as one sex, but who identify themselves differently. They may seek or undergo one or more medical treatments to align their bodies with their internally felt identity, such as hormone therapy, sex-reassignment surgery or other procedures.”
Please note: A complaint must be made to the Alberta Human Rights Commission within one year after the alleged incident of discrimination. The one-year period starts the day after the date on which the incident occurred. For help calculating the one-year period, contact the Commission.
The website URLs in this publication are provided as a service and were accurate at the time of publication. The Commission is not responsible for content of websites other than its own. If you have questions about website links or their content, please contact the administrator of the website in question.
December 2010 Our vision is a vibrant and inclusive Alberta where the rich diversity of people is celebrated and respected, and where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society, free from discrimination.
Can a hotel cancel your reservation without notice?
Yes, hotels can cancel your reservation. Just like airlines, hotels sometimes do book more people than they have rooms to account for cancellations. However, unlike airlines, there are no federal agencies laying out what rights you have if they decide to bump you.
What are the following reasons why a hotel Cannot provide all items requested by guests?
A hotel cannot provide all the necessary items a customer may need inside each and every room for a number of reasons: The room size is too small It would become cramped for space Not all customers need all items The capital outlay for a business would be considerable It reduces the chance of damage and theft.
What happens if you never show up to hotel reservation?
Most every hotel has a cancellation window. If you don’t show up, for your stay, yes, they will charge you at least one nights stay. If you have extenuating circumstances, try calling the hotel manager and seeing what they can do for you.
What happens when your card is declined at a hotel?
The front desk staff will usually try to contact the bank or credit card company to verify that the payment can be processed. If this fails, they may ask for another form of payment such as cash or another valid credit/debit card.
What to do if hotel is not what you expected?
What should you do if your room isn’t what you expected? – If you check into a hotel that doesn’t match the description, let a hotel representative know as soon as possible. The longer you stay in the hotel, the more difficult it becomes to negotiate a refund.
Not all reservations are refundable,” said Kevin Gilbert, general manager at Senna House, a boutique hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. “If you’re unhappy with your hotel, I recommend giving them the opportunity to make it right before asking for a refund.” The hotel may try to move you to a different room or upgrade your accommodations.
If you state your intention to check out, a manager has a variety of other ways to keep you happy. Those include a room discount or a comped meal at the hotel restaurant. Abruptly leaving the hotel makes the problem more difficult to fix. The hotel will probably charge your credit card for the entire stay, especially if you don’t let someone know why you’re checking out early.
Do hotels get many cancellations?
Average cancellation rates – First and foremost, let’s try to identify the real people who cancel, while drawing a few conclusions that can be used for your day-to-day management. The average percentage of canceled reservations, across all sources, is currently 24%.
- Therefore, when you calculate your future revenue from existing reservations, always reduce it by 24% to have an objective estimate that leaves no room for nasty surprises.
- If you look only at online bookings, this rate increases to 38%, and therefore it follows that all “offline” reservations have a very low cancelation rate of only 10%.
Breaking down the different sources of online reservations, the reality of the situation becomes clear: Booking.com remains the king of cancelations with an “impressive” rate of 57%. As for Expedia, it’s about average at 26%, while your official website is nearly as good as your offline bookings, with a cancelation rate of just 14%.