The OnRes Blog

The Hotelier’s Guide to Managing Angry Hotel Guests

By: Steve Behrisch , President & CEO

In the hospitality industry, encountering an angry guest can be a challenging ordeal. 

While your hotel might strive to offer impeccable service, situations that lead to guest dissatisfaction are sometimes inevitable. Handling these situations with professionalism and empathy is crucial. 

This blog aims to guide you through managing such scenarios effectively.

Table of Contents

Common Reasons for Guests to Get Angry

Understanding the root causes of guest dissatisfaction is the first step in resolving issues. Common reasons include:

  1. Service Delays: Long waits for check-ins, room service, or housekeeping can frustrate guests.
  2. Room Issues: Problems like cleanliness, malfunctioning amenities, or noise disturbances often lead to complaints.
  3. Billing Discrepancies: Overcharges or errors in billing can create distrust and anger.
  4. Unmet Expectations: Guests might have expectations based on your marketing materials that don’t match their experience.
  5. Unresponsive or Rude Staff: Encounters with staff who are unhelpful, dismissive, or rude can quickly escalate a guest’s dissatisfaction.
  6. Inadequate Response to Feedback or Complaints: A guest’s frustration can intensify if their initial complaints or feedback are not addressed promptly or satisfactorily.
#OnResTips: Better ensure that guest experience is maintained at your property. 

How to Deal with Angry Guests at Your Hotel?

Dealing with angry guests is a critical skill in hotel management. The way you handle these situations can significantly impact your hotel’s reputation and a guest’s experience. 

How to deal with angry hotel guests

1. Listen Actively and Empathize

Allow the guest to express their grievances without interruption. Listen attentively to understand their concerns fully. This demonstrates respect for their feelings and can often be the first step in de-escalating the situation.

Use phrases like “I understand why you’d feel that way” to show empathy.

2. Stay Calm and Professional

Maintain a composed demeanor regardless of the guest’s tone or volume. Keep your emotions in check and respond with professionalism.

A calm response can prevent the situation from escalating and reflects well on your hotel’s commitment to customer service.

Take deep breaths, speak in a steady, reassuring tone, and don’t take the anger personally.

3. Apologize and Acknowledge

Offer a sincere apology for the inconvenience caused, even if the issue was not directly the hotel’s fault.

An apology can go a long way in calming an upset guest and shows that you value their patronage.

Say something like, “I’m sorry that your experience didn’t meet your expectations.”

4. Offer Solutions Promptly

Identify the root cause of their complaint and offer practical solutions. If immediate resolution isn’t possible, explain the steps you’ll take to address the issue.

This shows that you’re proactive and committed to resolving their concerns.

Propose compensation or alternatives where appropriate, such as a room change, service discount, or complimentary amenities.

5. Follow Up

After resolving the issue, follow up with the guest to ensure they are satisfied with the outcome.

Following up shows that you care about their entire experience and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction.

A personal visit, phone call, or even a handwritten note can be effective.

6. Learn and Improve

Reflect on each incident to identify any service gaps or operational improvements.

This helps in preventing similar issues in the future and continually improving the guest experience.

Implement staff training, revise protocols, or make necessary changes based on the feedback.

Frequently Asked Questions

When facing an angry guest, acknowledge their frustration and apologize for the inconvenience. Listen actively, then offer solutions or compensation. Use phrases like “I understand” and “Let’s see how we can fix this.”

When a guest is upset, the first priority is to calm them down and prevent the situation from escalating further. Here are some key steps to take:

  • Stay calm and professional
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Acknowledge their frustration
  • Offer solutions or compensation
  • Thank them for bringing it to your attention

Hotel guests can get upset for a variety of reasons. Here are some common issues that trigger frustration:

  • Room issues (cleanliness, noise, temperature)
  • Booking problems (incorrect room, overcharge)
  • Inattentive or rude staff
  • Amenities not as advertised

Maintain a calm demeanor and avoid getting defensive. Focus on finding a solution, not assigning blame. Validate their feelings and use “I” statements to explain the situation.

In many cases, offering compensation can help appease an angry guest and salvage their stay. Here are some options to consider:

  • Room upgrade
  • Free meals
  • Hotel credit
  • Points or loyalty benefits
  • Discount on future stay

Speak in a calm and soothing tone. Offer to move to a quieter location for a private conversation. If the guest becomes aggressive, involve security or a manager.


Dealing with angry guests is an integral part of hotel management. By understanding the reasons behind guest dissatisfaction and employing strategies to address these effectively, you can turn challenging situations into opportunities for improvement. 

Remember, how you handle such incidents can significantly impact your hotel’s reputation and customer loyalty. Approach each situation with empathy, professionalism, and a commitment to resolution, and you will not only appease angry guests but also reinforce the standard of excellence for which your hotel should be known.

Steve Behrisch, President & CEO

Steve joined the OnRes Team as an account rep in 2008 and was promoted to VP of Operations a short time later. In 2011, Steve agreed to purchase OnRes and became President and CEO, and has been steering the ship since; achieving significant milestones such as rebuilding the reservation software from the bottom up, forging new partnerships, doubling the revenue, and much more…
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