In this lesson, you can learn how to use English in common hotel situations. It could also help you if you work in a hotel!
Do you travel abroad, for work or for pleasure? If so, do you normally stay in hotels? Are you comfortable using English to reserve a room, check in or out, and deal with any problems you have during your stay?
In this class, you’ll learn how to do all of these things in clear, natural English.
QUIZ: Hotel English
Test your knowledge of the vocabulary in this lesson by trying this quiz. There are 20 questions and you’ll get your score at the end. Then, click on ‘View Questions’ to see all the correct answers.
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Nowadays, you’ll often reserve your hotel room online, but sometimes you might need to make a reservation by phone, or even in person.
Let’s see how you can do this:
Kae: Hi, I’d like to make a reservation.
Olivier: Yes, of course. When would you like to check in?
K: On the 3rd of November.
O: And how many nights would that be for?
K: For three nights.
O: And what kind of room were you looking for?
K: A double room. It’s for my husband and me.
O: We do have one double room available for those dates. It’s $80 a night, so that comes to $240 for the three nights.
K: Yes, that’s fine.
O: Great. Can I take your name?
K: Yes, it’s Sarah Banks
O: Thank you, Ms. Banks. Can I just take a credit card from you to make the booking?
K: Yes of course, here you are.
O: Okay Ms. Banks, that’s all finished. Is there anything else I can help you with?
K: Yes, could I have a confirmation emailed to me?
O: Yes of course, what’s the email?
K: It’s s dot banks at gmail dot com.
O: Okay, I’ll send that over to you now.
K: Excellent, thank you very much.
O: You’re welcome. We look forward to seeing you.
K: Thank you, goodbye
Let’s look at some key phrases and useful vocabulary from this section.
You can start the conversation by saying something like:
I’d like to make a reservation for the 3rd of November, for three nights, please.
Of course, you can change this to suit your situation, like this:
I’d like to make a reservation for the 20th of May for one night, please.
The receptionist might ask you:
What kind of room are you looking for?
What could you say here?
You could ask for a single or a double room. Most hotel rooms have a double bed, so they can be for one or two people. Some hotels might have single rooms which are for one person.
If you’re travelling with a friend, you might ask for a twin room, with two separate beds.
You could also ask for a triple room for three people, or maybe a family room, which might have four or even more beds.
Finally, if you need a lot of space, you can ask for a suite. A suite is like an apartment, with a living room, possibly a kitchen, and one or more bedrooms.
The dialogue you just heard was easy—there were no problems or surprises—but what if the hotel is full on the dates you want?
O: Hello, I’d like to make a reservation for the 20th of May for one night, please.
K: Very well, sir, and what kind of room do you need?
O: I’d like a triple room, please.
K: I’m sorry sir, but don’t have any triple rooms available on that date. It’s a holiday period and we’re almost fully booked. I could offer you a family room, which has four beds. Would that work for you?
O: That could work… How much is it?
K: It’s $195.
O: Ah, I see. That’s more expensive than the triple. Is there any way you could offer a discount?
K: I’m sorry sir, as I said before, it’s a holiday period and we expect to be very busy at that time.
O: I see… Alright, then. I’ll take it.
K: That’s fine. Can I take your name for the reservation?
This time, the conversation didn’t go so smoothly.
The receptionist said:
We don’t have any triple rooms available on that date.
The receptionist also gave a reason. Do you remember what it was?
It’s a holiday period and we’re almost fully booked.
Fully booked means that every room has already been reserved. You might also hear something like:
I’m afraid we don’t have anything free on those dates.
Luckily, this time you were able to get a room, even if it was more expensive than you were hoping for.
What’s the next step?
2. How to Check In to Your Hotel
You arrive at your hotel and go to reception to check in. Do you know what you should say here?
Let’s look together!
O: Hello, welcome to The Palm Hotel
K: Hello, I have a reservation; the name’s Sarah Banks
O: Yes, I see that here. I have you in a double room for three nights; is that correct?
K: Yes, that’s right.
O: How many keys would you like?
K: Two, please.
O: Okay, here you are. Enjoy your stay, Ms. Banks.
K: Thank you.
That seemed easy. And usually, it should be.
But perhaps there’s a problem. Let’s look at an example that doesn’t go so well.
O: Hello, welcome to The Palm Hotel
K: Hello, I have a reservation.
O: What name was it under?
K: Sarah Banks.
O: I’m sorry, I don’t have a reservation under that name. How did you make the booking?
K: I did it on the phone. I actually have a confirmation here with me, would that help?
O: Yes, please. OK, yes, now I see the reservation. I think there was a problem with the spelling. I do apologize.
K: It’s no problem.
Now, you’ve checked in and you’re ready to enjoy your stay. What next?
3. Asking About Hotel Facilities
You might need to go back to reception to arrange extra services, or to ask about the hotel’s facilities.
Let’s look at our first dialogue:
O: Is there anything else I can help you with, Ms. Banks?
K: Yes, I would like a wake-up call tomorrow, if possible.
O: Yes of course; what time would you like the call?
K: 7.30 please, actually… better make it 7.
O: Okay, no problem. I’ll make a note of that.
K: Also I need to go to the airport on Wednesday morning. Do you offer a shuttle service?
O: Yes, we do. What time’s your flight?
K: It’s at 10.30am.
O: Okay, we have shuttles to the airport every hour, so I think you could take the 8am shuttle.
K: Perfect, thank you.
The guest asked for two different things. Do you remember what they were?
She asked for a wake-up call, and she asked about the airport shuttle.
A shuttle is a bus which drives between two places. Many hotels offer airport shuttles, which drive between the airport and the hotel.
Let’s look at some of the polite language from this dialogue.
To ask for a wake-up call, I said:
I would like a wake-up call tomorrow, if possible.
Adding if possible on the end of the sentence is not necessary, but it makes it sound more respectful and polite.
To ask about the airport shuttle, I said:
Do you offer a shuttle service?
You could use this question to ask about other hotel facilities. For example:
Do you offer 24-hour room service?
Do you offer a dry-cleaning service?
Do you offer conferencing facilities?
Can you think of anything else you could ask about here?
Let’s see some more ways to ask about hotel facilities:
O: Hello, how can I help you?
K: Yes, hello. I need some restaurant recommendations.
O: Okay, no problem. Our concierge on the other side of the lobby can recommend a good restaurant and help you to make reservations.
K: Thank you. Also, I wanted to ask: what kind of gym facilities do you have?
O: We have a complete gym and small swimming pool just down this corridor. The swimming pool also has a sauna and a steam room.
K: Wonderful! Thanks for your help. Oh, actually, one last thing: what’s the WiFi password for the hotel?
O: It’s Palmbeachhotel. All one word, with a capital P at the start.
K: And that works everywhere in the hotel?
O: Yes, it does.
K: Thank you very much.
O: You’re welcome.
Let’s look at some of the useful language from this dialogue.
A concierge works in a hotel and can help guests to arrange things in the local area. For example, a good concierge can help you to book theatre tickets, find the best Thai restaurant in town, or organize a sightseeing tour of the city.
The phrase I wanted to ask is a good way to introduce a question politely. You can use it in many ways.
I wanted to ask: is it possible to check out one hour late?
I wanted to ask: what time is breakfast?
Okay, at this point, you’ve checked in and you’re getting comfortable.
But what if something goes wrong?
4. Dealing With Hotel Problems and Complaints
O: Hello, do you need any help?
K: Yes, I have a few problems with my room.
O: Okay, I’m sorry to hear that, what seems to be the problem?
K: Well, first of all there’s an issue with the heating. It’s too hot, and I can’t seem to turn it down.
O: Okay, I’ll send somebody to take a look at that. Was there anything else?
K: Yes, actually. I’m not sure if it’s normal, but my key doesn’t always work in the door. Sometimes I have to put it in five or six times before it works. Am I doing something wrong?
O: I’m sure you aren’t, madam! Sometimes, older key cards don’t work so well. Let me make you a new key right now.
K: That’s great; thanks so much for your help.
O: You’re very welcome.
Here’s a good phrase to use if you have a problem during your hotel stay:
There’s an issue with…
There’s an issue with the sink in the bathroom.
Can you think of any other ways you could say this?
You could say something like:
Something’s wrong with the sink in the bathroom.
I think there’s a problem with the sink.
Next, let’s look at one more example where things don’t go so well.
K: Yes, can I help you with something?
O: I’d like to make a complaint. My room hasn’t been cleaned properly.
K: I’m very sorry about that, sir. What exactly is wrong?
O: There’s dust everywhere and I found a hair on the pillow which definitely isn’t mine. I have to say this is unacceptable. If I’m paying this much money, the least I should be able to expect is clean bedding.
K: I completely agree sir, and once again, I’m very sorry. Here’s what I can do for you: I can offer you a complimentary upgrade to a deluxe room. I’ll also make sure that housekeeping double-check the room before you use it, so that we can be sure it’s perfectly clean.
O: Well, that’s fine, but still, this sort of thing shouldn’t happen.
K: You’re right, of course. I’ll communicate this issue to our management so we can investigate and find out exactly why this happened.
O: When can I move rooms?
K: As soon as you’re ready. Just call reception and we’ll send someone to help you with your bags.
This time, the situation was a little tenser. However, you can see some good phrases here to express anger without being rude.
I have to say this is unacceptable.
The least I should be able to expect is…
This sort of thing shouldn’t happen.
These phrases are interesting, because they’re quite formal, but they also express quite strong emotion.
Normally, formal language is cold-sounding and emotionless, but using phrases like these shows that you’re really unhappy with the situation.
Now, your problems have all been solved and it’s time to go home again. What’s the last thing you have to do?
5. How to Check Out
K: Hi, I’d like to check out please.
O: Yes of course; how was your stay?
K: Very nice, thank you.
O: Here is a copy of your bill. The room and tax are already paid, so these are just the extras.
K: That seems fine, can you put it on my credit card?
O: Yes of course, I’ll just do that now… Okay, here’s your receipt. Thank you again for staying with us.
What extras might you have to pay?
You might have to pay for any drinks or snacks you take from the minibar. You might also be charged for phone calls, room service, or movies.
In the dialogue above, everything was fine. What if there are things on your bill which you don’t agree with?
O: Hello, can I help?
K: Hi, I’d like to check out please.
O: Certainly… Here’s your bill.
K: The total seems higher than I expected; what exactly are these additional charges?
O: Let me have a look [look at piece of paper], OK, this payment is for the water and snacks you had from the minibar, and it looks like this is a phone call that was made to the USA.
K: Right, I see now. Yes, that’s fine. I’d like to pay cash, if that’s OK?
O: Yes, no problem. Thank you for staying with us.
K: Thank you, goodbye.
Now, the next time you stay in a hotel and need to use English, you should know what to say in any situation!
For more practice be sure to watch more travel lessons from Oxford Online English like Airport English.
Thanks for watching!
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