The Shining Guide to Hotel Disasters

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So I watched The Shining for the first time this October (too late in life!), and while I was lying awake that night trying to avoid thinking about Jack Nicholson breaking in my door with an axe, I realized there were actually a lot of disasters that could happen in hotels –  even ones that aren’t built on haunted burial grounds. Even though the very nature of a disaster means that it’s something out of the ordinary and hard to prevent, there are definitely measures you can take now to prevent future disasters from getting out of hand, or happening at all.

Hotel Disasters

Here’s my guide to dealing with some of the worst hotel disasters (besides the ones that involve murder and creepy hallucinations).

1. Double Booked!


Nobody wants to share their space with a stranger. Even if they aren’t creepy twins.

Whether it’s a regular booking or a special event, there’s always opportunity for disaster if your hotel is using an outdated system to manage bookings. Mistakes can crop up in subtle ways, like that wedding that wasn’t scheduled to run overtime, but ended up overlapping with that business conference because the party didn’t tell you how much confetti was going to be involved. Don’t let it happen!

Make sure you have calendar software that alerts you when there is the potential for overlap and allow plenty of time for larger events.

2. Where’s the Staff?


There’s nothing worse than lonely (and thirsty) guests. There could be a lot of reasons that staff aren’t showing up when they need to be, but one way to manage this problem is with a performance management system. If your staff feel like you are concerned with their experience on the job, and you provide incentives for better performance, it could be easier to avoid disasters like this, where guests end up fending for themselves.

3. Utilities Malfunction


Utilities should really be the last of your problems, but when something goes wrong, it’s pretty hard to ignore. Heat shutting off in the winter? Broken elevators? A layout that can’t physically exist in real space? Ok, that last one is probably only an issue in The Shining, but the first two pretty much qualify as disasters, which require plenty of preemptive care. To avoid utilities disasters like these, make sure to routinely schedule maintenance staff to inspect your property’s heating, plumbing, and electrical systems, EVEN more than you think is necessary. Building maintenance software can also help to mitigate these problems and keep everything automated.

4. Nobody’s Here


Though it’s not a disaster on the level of a boiler bursting or staff not showing up, it’s certainly a financial disaster when there’s nobody staying at your hotel. But how could this happen? In some cases, it could just be bad weather or a tough moment for the travel business, but if your hotel is visible and well-advertised, you should always be able to keep things bustling. Try investing in social media or content marketing to get your hotel’s name out there or offer special deals during those off-seasons.

Are there any spooooky hotel stories you can share from the industry? How did you avoid a Shining-level disaster? Leave your comments down below!

Looking for Hospitality Property Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Hospitality Property Management software solutions.

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About the Author


Abby Kahler

Abby Kahler is a graphic designer for Capterra, a company that loves connecting buyers and sellers of business software. She specializes in church management software. When she’s not covering the industry, you can find her doodling furiously in Photoshop and clogging up her hard drive with graphic design projects.


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