As a member of the hotel industry you will inevitably find yourself in a situation that requires you to offer help or  assistance to a guest. This situation may present itself as an absolute necessity or one of simply polite behavior. In either case, knowing what to say in those situations will hold you in good stead with the guests. At times, you will be in situations that you will offer your help and at other times you may be asked to respond to a guest that has requested help. Look at the expressions below that cover both circumstances.

Expressions- Offering Help

When offering help When asking for help
Would you like some help? Could you give me a hand?
Can I give you a hand? Would you mind helping me out?
Do you need any help? Could you help me please?
May I offer my assistance? I need some assistance please.
‎Need any help? Help, please

Dialogue- Offering Help

When offering help

Staff: Excuse me ma’am, Could I help you with your bags?
Guest: That would be great thanks.

Staff: Pardon me sir, but it likes like you could use some help with those packages.
Guest: I sure could, thanks.

When responding to help

Guest: Excuse me, but can you help me?
Staff: Of course ma’am, what can I do for you?
Guest: Someone just stole my purse off my shoulder outside the hotel.
Staff: Are you OK?
Guest: Yes, just shaken up a bit.
Staff: Why don’t you sit down here and I’ll call the police for you.
Guest: Thank you; I appreciate your help.

Guest: I don’t understand what the taxi driver is trying to say. Could you translate for me?
Staff: Of curse sir, I’d be delighted to help.

Health problems Emergency Services Health Care Personnel
flu fire department nurse
headache police dentist
stomache ache hotel security optician
diarrhea clinic pharmacist
tooth ache first aid EMT

Guest, many times being in foreign countries and unfamiliar cultures, may need some advice or suggestions in certain situations. It is only natural that they would seek assistance for the hotel staff. Giving sound advice and suggestions to guest when needed can make the difference between an OK vacation and a great one. There are several expressions that can be used when asking for or giving advice and suggestions. Look at the examples below.

Expressions- Advice

When asking for advice
What do you think I should do?
What would you do in my shoes?
Do you have any ideas about what to do?
What would you suggest?
Can you think of anything that might help?

When giving advice
Why don’t you (…. take a taxi instead, it’s faster.)
Have you thought about (…. getting some medicine at the pharmacy)?
I think you should ( …. see a doctor).
Have you considered ( …. the local markets? Sometimes they have great deals).
One option may be to (…. call you embassy).

When responding to advice

That’s a good idea.

That might work. I hadn’t thought of that.

Maybe you’re right.

Thanks for the advice.

Thanks, I’ll try that.

Dialogue- Advice

Guest: That food was really spicy and upset my stomach.
Staff: Maybe you should get some medicine at a pharmacy.
Guest: That’s a good idea. Thanks.

Guest: That woman looks angry. Did I do something wrong?
Staff: Actually sir, that gesture you used is considered very rude in our culture.
Guest: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend anyone. What should I do in that situation?
Staff: Using this gesture instead is appropriate.
Guest: Thanks for the advice.

Guest: I can’t seem to find any of the souvenirs I want at the mall. I can’t go home empty handed. Do you know where I could go?
Staff: Have you considered shopping at the traditional open market. It has hundred of items to chose from and the prices are usually cheaper than in the mall.
Guest: Thanks, I’ll try that.

Practice Conversation Activities- Help and Advice

1. Role Play

Role play the following situations with a partner, one person taking the role of the guest and the other the staff. Practice both offering help and responding to help. For added fun, really take on the role. Pretend to be in front of an ATM looking confused. pretend to be having difficulties moving luggage, pretend to be an elderly gentleman limping to the elevator.

Move luggage
Put a box in a trunk
Use an ATM
With a stolen purse
Carry a handful of shopping bags
Carry a baby and push a stroller at the same time (a mother)
Limping to the elevator (an elderly man)

Listed below are some common vocabulary words that hotel employees should know in order to assist guests with any problems they may have.

2. Role Play

Role play the following situations with a partner, one person taking the role of the guest and the other person taking the role of a hotel staff. Provide a guest with advice for:

A sunburn
Get a bargain on clothes
Activities on a rainy day
With a toothache
With a cut finger
With broken glasses
Stop the hiccups
Sleeping well

3. Group Activity- Help and Advice, Appropriate Responses

Divide the class into groups. The teams work together to formulate a response to the items listed below. After discussion, one of the team members presents the response to the class. The teacher judges which team presents the best answer based on grammar and language use and pronunciation.

3. A guest requests advise about how to appropriately greet locals
A guest requests advise about where to find the best bargains for souvenirs
A guest requests advise about what medicine to take for an upset stomach
A guest requests advise about when the best time is to visit the area for vacation

4. Group Activity- Help and Advice, A Skit

Divide the class into groups of 2 or 3. Students work together to develop a skit about offering assistance that is grammatically correct. Once the skit is developed, students present it to the teacher and the rest of class. The teacher judges the skit based on grammar and language use, originality, and acting ability. Be creative and have fun!

5. Discussion- Help and Advice

Have a discussion about the types of things that guests ask for help or advise about. Can the staff usually be of assistance? If they can’t, what do they do- send them to someone who can help, talk to their supervisor about it, apologize and forget it? How often do guests ask for help or advise? Do people of some countries ask for help or advise more than others? Do the guests tip or otherwise acknowledge the assistance?

Other Links
Asking for Advice
Making SuggestionsGiving Advice