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Paula Carreirão

December 30, 2019

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10 Stress Management Tips for Hoteliers during the Holidays



The Countdown:

5… check-in waiting and no clean room available.
4… upset guest because you denied his late check out.
3… colleague is late and you will miss the meal with your family (again!).
2… phone doesn’t stop ringing and you are “front-desk alone”.
1… OVERBOOKING and no room available anywhere.

Happy New Year’s Eve, hotelier!

Is this scenario familiar to you?

Well, I’m an ex-hotelier myself and I did have my share of holidays’ shifts. So I know for a fact that this time of the year can be the opposite of happy: crowded hotels, overbookings, room problems, grumpy customers, to never be able to celebrate appropriately with family and friends…

It’s true that for most people, the holidays ARE a happy time. Firework and smiles everywhere, people laughing. But for hoteliers, the holidays can be something else!

I feel your pain having to work during the holidays and other special occasions. So to help you cope with all the work-drama, I put together this list with 10 stress management tips, especially for the hotel industry.

They helped me to keep my sanity during chaotic times so I hope they will also stop the problems from getting the better of you while dealing with guests.

Stress is more than to get annoyed with something.

Stress, depression, and anxiety are, unfortunately, part of the modern human condition. Nevertheless, it’s important to discuss work-related stress, especially in the hotel industry. One may wonder that the high level of stress in the industry might have something to do with the high rate of turnovers.

Just to be clear: by stress I mean much more than getting annoyed with something. Actually, being under stress for prolonged periods of time can have serious consequences, like mental health problems for employees (and even potential financial loss for companies). In more severe cases, it can even lead to burnout, making the person totally unable to work.

If stress is part of the modern human condition, then Americans might need some training to get in better shape. They are among the most stressed-out populations in the world. Here are some facts about Americans and stressful workplaces:

  • 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress. (Everest College)
  • US businesses lose up to $300 billion yearly as a result of workplace stress.
  • In 2019, 94% of American workers report experiencing stress at their workplace. (Wrike)
  • Work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths and results in $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly.

But the saddest thing is the little support these stressed people receive (if any). In fact, workers don’t feel safe reporting stress because they think it would be interpreted as a lack of interest or unwillingness to do the activity. So they keep quiet and the problem only grows…

Well, if there isn’t much support around, you better learn how to take care of yourself. After all, without health, we have nothing!

10 stress management tips for hoteliers

Problems will always come and go. You just have to deal with that. There are countless stress management tips and strategies like mindfulness or meditation on the web, but I doubt you will find tailor-made tips for hoteliers like these ones below.

Most of these tips come from my own experience as a hotel agent. They don’t have scientific support that they actually work, but I did feel better when applying them. Let’s take a look:

businessman relaxing surrounded by paperwork


1) You can’t win all your battles so choose your favorite holiday. Usually, hotels divide the staff among the holidays and most of them operate on a seniority-type scale. So there’s a chance for you spend your favorite holiday with your favorite people at home. Knowing this in advance, you can plan better and enjoy the most of it.

2) To avoid additional stress working during the holidays get your personal errands and eventual shopping out of the way before your shifts. When you don’t have to worry about all of that, helping customers will be a pleasurable experience.

3) For hotel managers: always have phone numbers for eventual extra staff. Don’t be short-handed and always be prepared for unforeseen events. Also, you should have nearby hotels’ phone numbers, in case of frightening overbooking. Try to have at least 5 numbers and talk to your potential partners before in case the worse happens.

4) Review all reservations at least 2 weeks before guests’ arrival. Check payments details, guests’ data, and special observations. To feel that I was in control helped me cope with stress.

5) Wearing comfortable shoes at work during the holiday madness is the best way to go. I know sometimes it’s not possible to choose your working shoes, but if it is: choose wisely.

6) I found that I could refresh myself by escaping to the staff area and taking a few deep breaths. Slowly drinking a glass of water can also be quite relaxing.

7) Take breaks when you can and listen to music. Good happy music. Not the classics that tend to repeat themselves in the hotel lobby. Music always helps me change my mood. For better.

8) Just smile and be nice: be a Madagascar penguin it’s a skill that the hotel front desk agent has to develop. Don’t take it personally when guests are complaining. Remember to smile when you pick up the phone, and never ignore customers who are standing in front of you while you’re on a call.

9) Sometimes, a party or a celebration can help make you feel better about the holiday. If the hotel doesn’t organize a small celebration for the staff, get together with your colleagues and make your own small event. Bring a favorite snack or some party decoration and have a bit of fun. We all deserve it!

10) For hotel general managers: please, thank your employees at the end of their shifts. They are putting aside their own needs to do the best job they can. Don’t take it for granted.

Celebrate good times… with work

To work in the hotel industry or any facility open 24/7 is to give up weekends, evenings and holidays. You have to work long hours and, yes, holiday hours can stretch even longer. That’s a perfect recipe for work-related stress.

Even though some people are motivated by stress, the majority suffer from stress, which leads to a drop in productivity, mental sickness, and dismissals. That’s why is so important to not neglect your own well-being and try to find the best way to handle stress. Especially during holidays or peak season when everything is extra chaotic in hotels, stress management tips can be very handy.

But it’s not all bad and stressful! You might also find that your guests are more sympathetic to your schedule and tips tend to be a lot more generous on an important day. Just keep providing guests with great service and you will surely be rewarded.

Holiday Bonus: one of the holiday’s classics, and that you probably hear a million times in the hotel lobby during your shift, is “Auld Lang Syne”. I found this video that explains the history behind the lyrics and I found it quite interesting. I hope you’ll like it too!

And for you, hotelier, I wrote this version. Hope you like it:

“Should old reservations be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should all the requests be forgot
And complaints stand in line?

For all the rooms are booked, my dear.
For all the rooms are booked.
We’ll give an upgrade for the guests
To forget we overbooked.”

By the way, wouldn’t it be great to have a robot to help you with repetitive tasks and put a bit of the stress away? We developed a hotelier-chatbot that might be what you need to face the challenges of the hotel industry. Find out how:



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