Guests, are they ALWAYS right?

You might be surprised to know, the Highway don’t have any customers but we do have thousands of guests.  Guests are people we take care of with the same passion, enthusiasm and priority as guests in our own home.

We predict when they want a drink & remember their order for next time.  We recommend menu items & have a sound knowledge of their ingredients.  We allow them to try a wine before committing to buying it (and realise when they have had one too many and offer them a glass of water).

Understandably, we are disappointed when our guests let us down.

I am writing this blog because I’m confused where the line is drawn between guests always being right and sometimes having to tell them they are wrong.

Last week I received an email from a guest who dined on a table with 11 other guests on a booked out Saturday night, they had been on a winery tour and were celebrating a Birthday.  Their reservation was for 6:30pm so when they had not arrived at 6:45pm, our Bistro staff called to see if they were on their way.  With no answer and no other contact from them, at 7pm we gave their table away to awaiting guests.  At 7:20pm the late guests arrived demanding a table which we were unable to provide immediately but could offer about 30 minutes later.  We offered to buy them a round of drinks while they waited but they declined and walked out disgusted claiming never to return to the Highway.  The email I received described their turn of events and ended with “Surely a hotel like the HWY understand the customer is always right”.

If this was a one-off, I wouldn’t bother you with it but similar event occur every couple of months.  Some take our offer up of a later table and apologise for being late, some demand a discount on their final account or free drinks all night, some have the same reaction as our winery tour friends.

What I’m asking is, if you were invited to a friend’s house, is it OK to arrive nearly an hour late without prior notice?  If not, why is it OK to inflict the same level of impoliteness on us?  Should we be more accommodating and allow for guests to be late?  Should we have honoured their booking and made an alternative booking late?

Have you been excessively late for a dinner reservation? What happened?


About hwyhotel

Australia's Best Outdoor Area, SA's Best Bottleshop, confusing bathroom taps, great hand dryers, rad food & damn good cocktails.
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4 Responses to Guests, are they ALWAYS right?

  1. interesting, is this something that is explained to the guests before they make their reservation? i.e. “we will hold your booking for 30 minutes only”, it’s crazy but some people just need to be told the obvious 🙂

    • hwyhotel says:

      It’s not explained to each reservation at the time of booking as it could be seen as off putting. However, we do confirm all bookings for busy nights after lunch, this includes how many guests, reservation time & any special requests.

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  3. It’s not ok to turn up late to any appointment without some sort of notice/apology. I always call ahead ahead to apologise if I am going to be late. It is common courtesy to do so! It sounds as though you have made every attempt to welcome guests, and make them comfortable while you do your very best to accommodate them, despite their discourteous behaviour. Perhaps social etiquette is a dying art, but I was certainly never brought up to behave so rudely and ungraciously. I have always received superior service at HWY – and pity those who would rather miss out on your hospitality than apologise to you for being late.

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