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Helping You Have Even Happier Guests

I work with hotels to help them give even better service to guests staying with them on coach holidays.

I also provide in depth hotel reviews covering everything from online awareness, through to check out and follow up.

Think of it like an intense mystery shop from a coach holiday guest point of view.

A clever person solves a problem, a wise person avoids it

Albert einstein

Big News

This is important so I’m putting it right here at the top of the page

Coach holiday guests don’t just complain to the coach holiday company if they have had a problem at a hotel

They tell lots of people and often leave poor online reviews as well

Coach Holiday Guests Can Complain About You Too!

If coach holiday guests are unhappy with their experience they will complain – and not just to the coach holiday company that they booked and paid with. 

They will also leave bad reviews referencing the hotel.

These can affect other guests view of the hotel.

Here are a couple of examples;

The Trecarn Hotel in Torquay clearly deals with a large number of coach holiday guests. There are lots of reviews on their site from these customers. Complaints include things to do with the hotel such as service and amenities which are clearly the remit of the hotel.

However, they also include comments about the coach holiday experience, the drivers and things which are clearly not the remit of the hotel but the holiday company itself.

These reviews are there for all to see.

The Hotel Thomas in Cannes is another example of coach holiday guest reviews. Most of the poor reviews are from guests who stayed there on a National Holidays tour. There are comments about the service, rooms and amenities but also about the length of the journey and the amount of travelling.

They may also leave a poor review for the hotel which reflects their coach holiday experience.

This review of the Britannia Leeds Bradford Airport was left in 2012. The hotel actually fared reasonably well, the main complaint was the soup. However, the biggest part of the complaint refers to the coach driver and how rude he was. 

That’s a negative review, mainly about the coach holiday experience, online since 2012.

I Know What Makes a Great Coach Holiday Hotel

I could write a book about my experiences in hotels with coach groups. Infact, I am writing a book but that is another story! 🙂

During my time travelling with groups I’ve literally seen everything from blood stained bed linen, to bedrooms that were fire exits and everything inbetween.

I’ve also experienced every type of service issue – from meals repeated three nights running, to luggage taking several hours to reach guests rooms and luggage being lost before departure.

There are lots of things that hotels can do to make the hotel experience better for coach tour guests, but not just better, easier for everyone from reception, to restaurant to portering and more.

Check out how my +25 years of experience has made me a coach holiday expert.

What Can You Do?
  • Make sure you understand the different requirements of coach tour guest to other types of guests.
  • Speak to the coach holiday company in detail to get a clearer understanding of their needs – don’t just rely on the contract.
  • Speak to the Tour Managers to understand the needs of their particular group.

Simple Hotel Tips for an Excellent Coach Holiday Experience

Over the last 25 years I have been travelling around the world with escorted tours, coach holidays or touring holidays.

I have lost count of the number of hotels I have stayed in with groups over the years.

However, the experience for groups still seems to be vary greatly from hotel to hotel and sometimes from the same hotel month to month.

A good hotel experience can make or break a tour so here are my top hotel tips to make the coach holiday experience excellent.

Clarity About the Contract

The chain of communication between those that agree the contract for group travel and those delivering it can be very long and as a result things can get missed, forgotten or not included where they should be.

One travel company I worked with used to give it’s Tour Managers a copy of the contract (with all the pricing redacted) so they could see exactly what had been agreed with that particularl hotel/supplier. It was really helpful but it is rarely the case.

As such clarity about the hotel is providing is always helpful for the Tour Manager to make sure expectations align. Helpful details include;
Porterage – if this is included and whether it needs to be paid for by the Tour Manager or not

Meals and Drinks – what type of meal is included and what drinks are included as well.
Dining style – are guests free to dine at leisure for dinner and breakfast? Is there a reserved seating area for them?
Tour managers do not need to know costings or room rates as this is confidential and between the travel company and the hotel directly.

Advance Rooming List

I have spent hours and hours of my life changing rooms on arrival at hotels because hotel reception desks haven’t been aware of room requests, or more commonly the groups department (or whoever deals with group travel) doesn’t send the room requests through to the reception desk in time.

Check in is always so much smoother when I have had a chance to have a look at the rooming list in advance and check that friends/family travelling together are located close to each other, bed and room requests have been actioned. Of course room requests are just that, a request, so even knowing that they haven’t been possible in advance is easier to deal with than someone getting to their room and being disappointed. If their room request isn’t available at one hotel I am going to do everything to make sure it is at the next one for example.

Moving rooms on arrival is time consuming and frustrating all round. Guests are generally tired after travelling and it takes up a lot of time from front desk staff.

Even getting the rooming list a couple of hours before arrival is helpful and allows for any last minute corrections to be made.

Room Keys in Alphabetical Order

This is one of those things that seems blindingly obvious to me but it rarely happens. Room keys generally come in the order they have been allocated. Again this is time consuming as it just takes longer to go through all the keys. If the Tour Manager is new to the group, i.e. it is the start of the tour, they may not have everyone’s name memorised so trying to figure out who is who becomes much more difficult.

Assistance with Directions

Tour Managers may be visiting your hotel for the first time and are therefore unfamiliar with the layout. Having someone to help direct guests to their rooms, or to the lift and the correct floor, is really helpful. Often Tour Managers are being asked questions by guests so having a bit of extra help at check in can really ease the pressure.

Tour Manager Printed Room List on Arrival

Generally I have to ask for a rooming list when I arrive at hotel which can mean a delay, especially if there is a problem with rooms. Hopefully, you will have been able to send one in advance and even if you have a printed one on arrival is really helpful.

Porterage Ready To Go

The Tour Manager should have given you an arrival time for the group. You can always request that they advise you if it is going to be more than 10 or 15 minutes either way to help ensure everything is ready.

If porterage is included then they need to be ready for the group arriving and armed with labels/chalk to mark the bags and a rooming list. I have lost count of how many times I end up giving my rooming list to the porters because they don’t have one or they only have one list between several of them.

I always carry Sharpies and chalk because frequently porters don’t have anything other than a biro to mark luggage with. Passenger luggage labels can get very confusing if lots of room numbers get written on them.

If the Tour Manager has given you the time that they will be there then make sure everyone is ready and everything is ready. It is very common to arrive at a hotel and find reception staff still making up keys which is frustrating all round.

I have also been reprimanded by hotel staff for arriving 5 minutes early – unfortunately a guest heard that comment and then reprimanded the hotel staff for not being ready. Not a great check in experience as a result.

Sort Luggage by Floors

OK I have a confession here. I used to be a hotel porter. It didn’t deal with groups but I do know how to organise luggage. I think the problem is that panic often sets in when a group arrives. Instead of having a system of labelling luggage quickly and then sorting into floors the panic causes porters to start grabbing luggage and going.

This can often result in guests contacting the front desk or the tour manager because one bag has arrived and the other hasn’t or people on the same floor have not got luggage at the same time. This means that guests assume the luggage is lost rather than still being sorted out. A little time to organise pays dividends and ensures people get their luggage in an organised fashion.

Evening Meals

Ideally you will have been in contact with the Tour Manager about the menu in advance. Pre-ordering may be required but if it is a set menu there will no doubt be some dietary requests to deal with. Generally, a Tour Manager will try and give you as much notice of these as possible.

It is really helpful for Tour Managers to know the seating arrangements for dinner. Are the tables 2’s, 4’s, 8’s etc? Are your staff going to show people to tables on arrival or should the Tour Manager do this?

Hotels have various systems for group meals. Some require the whole group to arrive before taking any orders, some go table to table and some as people arrive. Again it is helpful for the Tour Manager to know this in advance if possible because they can prepare guests. There is nothing worse than a guest coming into dinner 10 minutes late to find everyone seething because they can’t order.

It is also helpful to know what the situation regarding drinks service is in advance, again to help prepare the group. Is there a wine/drinks service in the restaurant? Are drinks orders taken with the meal orders or perhaps before or after? If there is no drinks service then you may need to organise extra bar staff 30 minutes before the group meal time to deal with the drinks orders.

Dine at Leisure Option

Giving guests the option to dine at leisure can be very welcome on some tours so if this isn’t going to cause your kitchen problems then perhaps discuss it with your Tour Manager. Some tours have lots of meals included and eating together every night at the same time can be difficult over the length of a tour, with guests appreciating a little more freedom. However, if there are not many meals included then dining together can be a welcome opportunity for guests to socialise with each other.

Tour Manager and Driver Dining

Often Tour Managers and drivers will sit separately from the group. This varies from company to company and from Tour Manager to Tour Manager so again it is one of those things that is good to check in advance.

I like to be somewhere where I can see everyone in the group so I can keep on eye on the service and if there are any problems.

If you would like to read the read the rest of this article click the button to get a free PDF which includes more tips to make coach holidays and excellent experience.

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Hotel Consultant

I know how tough it is to run a hotel, I’ve spent half my life in hotels – not figuratively, literally.

Hotel management is tough and challenging. I spent a while working in events and hospitality management so I know how difficult it can be.

I know the importance of revenue management, and the pressures that the hotel sector and hospitality industry has been under, which is why sales are even more important.

My approach to being a consultant is based on pragmatic and practical solutionss that you can afford the time to implement – whether in terms of time or money.

My service comes with a full money back guarantee because I really want to add value to your bottom line, if I don’t do that then I haven’t done my job properly.

Why not get in contact to find out more? There really is nothing to lose.

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