The Language of Hospitality for Reservations Sales Excellence


Most of us would agree that interpersonal communications is never easy, especially those of us who have marriage partners, significant others, or who have survived the parenting of teenagers.  In the lodging industry, communications can be especially difficult due to language barriers, or if we speak the same language, dialects and cultural differences. Another unique challenge is that guests are buying an intangible “product” that they are usually very emotionally engaged with, such as the perfect room, condo or vacation home for hosting their idealized vacation dreams.

This is why it’s especially important for those who work in jobs related to reservations sales to be especially conscientious of the words we use so that they convey the spirit of hospitality.  Here are some examples of commonly heard phrases along with better alternatives. 

Examples Related To Hospitality In General:

  • I’ll have to check on that for you… vs. Allow me to check on that for you. 
  • You’ll have to… vs. May I suggest that you…
  • I don’t think so… or I’m pretty sure… vs. I’ll find out for sure and let you know!
  • Sure, no problem vs. You’re most welcome. It was my pleasure to assist.
  • This (problem) happens all the time. vs. I apologize that you had this happen to you.

Examples relating to explaining policies and procedures. 

  • It’s against our (company or hotel) policy. vs. For guest (safety or security) purposes that is restricted. 
  • I checked, but my manager still said no. vs. I did check further for you, but we do need to uphold this requirement.
  • I’m not showing that request. Who did you speak with? vs. Let me see what we can work out for you…
  • Let me see what we can work out for you… vs. Let me see what we can work out for you…

Here are examples relating to rates, restrictions and availability. 

  • That discount only applies to rack rates. vs. Allow me to explain those restrictions.
  • You can’t get that rate for your dates. vs. Are your plans flexible? May I check other dates?
  • Are your plans flexible? May I check other dates? vs. Are your plans flexible? May I check other dates?
  • All we have left is… vs. All we have left is…
  • The rates go up due to high occupancy. vs. During this time of year (when it’s busy) our normal rates apply.
  • For the first night the rate is $100, then it goes up to $175. vs. For the first night normal rate of $175 applies, but for the first night I can extend a value rate of $100.
  • That rate is not available. vs. That rate is sold out.

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