How to Assist Guests with their Special Needs

Anticipating guest’s needs and assisting guests in fulfilling their special needs are the prime jobs of an hotelier. Though all guests should be attained with highest possible service, however there are some special guests who are to be treated with extra attention and care due to having some special requirements.

Here is the list of such special guests

  • Aged or elderly guests.
  • Infant and young children.
  • Disabled guest or Handicapped guest (ex-blind, deaf or wheelchair depended).
  • Non-native guests or foreign language speaking guests.
  • Single or solitary guests.
  • Guests who have health issues, such as:
  1. Heart patients
  2. Allergic to some foods
  3. Special dietary needs

How to Serve the Special Guests

how assist guest special needHere are some standard procedures to assist guests with their special needs based on their age, physical condition or status:

Serving aged or elderly guests

  • Escort the guest to the guest table and help him/her to be seated.
  • Arrange calm and quite corner with suitable and comfortable chair for the aged guests.
  • Always serve the elderly guests first with great care and respect.
  • Ask for any special assistance or requirements.
  • Treat guests on the basis of their pace.
  • Deal with the guest in a clear, slow and calm voice.
  • Anticipate their needs concerning their functional disabilities or difficulties.
  • Escort the old guests to the washroom and exit, if necessary.

Serving infant or young children

  • Always treat all infant or young guests as V.I.P guests.
  • Deal with young guests with a playful mind and special care.
  • Be friendly and familiarize with the child.
  • Politely ask the parents to determine any special requirements such as:
  1. Required cutlery.
  2. High chair.
  3. Any special food recommended.
  4. Whether allergic to any food or not.
  • Provide clean and presentable baby chair or high chair (if required) and set it properly to avoid any accident.
  • Offer bread or crackers immediately after the child is being seated.
  • Present the children menus (specially made for the children).
  • Place the order (serve the children first) after the order is being taken as per requirement.
  • While serving the children remember that their meal should be eye catching and appealing.
  • Offer to cut the food after the child is seated and the meal arrives.
  • Always arrange children’s cutlery (ex-teaspoons or espresso spoons) since they find it difficult to eat with adult’s cutlery.
  • Keep sharp items and hot items out of child’s reach.
  • Provide extra napkins and unstemmed glassware or Plexiglas glassware (depending on the age).
  • Offer the child guest or children guests some coloring books/crayons whilst waiting for their course to keep them busy and quiet.
  • Always arrange necessary baby chairs, cutlery and service to accommodate all requests whenever required.

Serving disabled guest

  • Offer your help before the guest is being asked for help.
  • Treat them with special care and attention and deal with a soft and clear tone.
  • Adjust yourself according to their pace.
  • Provide them a comfortable and suitable seating arrangement and make the area as functional.
  • Anticipating their needs (ex-wheelchairs, required cutlery) and offer help for any request.
  • Ensure there is enough space in the service area for them to move freely.
  • Make the area as functional as you can.
  • Offer to help in taking their food, if required.
  • Escort them to the entry and exit.
  • Do not take extra care of them too much so that they can think themselves aliens.
  • If the guest is visually impaired then offer necessary assistants such as:
  1. Offer your hand to escort the guest to the table.
  2. Read the menu and describe buffet (if required).
  3. Fill plate at buffet for them.
  • If the guest has hard of hearing then try to deal with the guest through the lip reading or body language or gestures.

Serving non-native or foreign language-speaking guests

  • Always approach a non-native guest with a clear and quite tone.
  • Try to communicate with the non-native guest by using a common language for both of you.
  • If you are unable to communicate with him then ask for permission from the guest to find a personnel or a person who can help to communicate.
  • If necessary, use a translator to deal with the guest or ask a colleague who knows the guest’s language.
  • While dealing with the foreign language speaking guest, use distinct signs, sign language, gestures or draw pictures (based on the situation).

Serving single guests

  • Arrange a comfortable seating arrangement with an interesting view.
  • Serve the guest with special attention.
  • Offer newspaper or magazines.
  • Be familiarize with the guest and approach with a friendly behavior.
  • Talk to the guest (if time allows and the guest is receptive).

Serving guests with health issues

  • Identify whether the guest is allergic to any food or not (ex-seafood, nuts).
  • Determine from guest regarding any special dilatory needs.
  • Before serving the guest, confirm whether the guest has any serious health problem or not (ex-heart patient or diabetic).
  • Consult with the responsible chef and supervisor before placing the order.
  • Check to ensure the food is prepared according to the requirement before serving it to the guest.
  • Give assurance that all meals are prepared concerning their health issues.

Training Video

Click Here to Watch Our Free Video on Some Examples on How to Assist Guests with their Special Needs


  1. This information is MOST GRACIOUSLY HELPFUL and GREATLY INFORMATIVE….THANK YOU, SOOOOO VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!!! My family and I (my 21 year old daughter, my 83 year old father and, myself – 59) are staying in a suite.
    My father uses a wheelchair, due to his disability after suffering a stroke, decades earlier. He can drive; however.
    In the morning, he likes to go out for breakfast but, he needs assistance getting in and out of his car. Unfortunately, this type of assistance has upset a manager-type hotel employee!!!! She reminded me that, because my daughter and I are here with him, we should no have to t ask for assistance for him; but can do ONLY in and EMERGENCY. I do not want to be chastised again because my dad may need help (I work part-time).
    I’ve found an article on the internet titled: “HOSPITALITY AND DISABILITY: HOW HOTELS CAN IMPROVE ACCESS”.
    As is in your company’s article, the hospitality industry is improving ways to accommodate disabled guest and, guests with particular needs. With access to this information, I truly believe that this place that we are staying in is EMBARRASSINGLY BEHIND THE TIMES, in the hospitality industry, regarding GUEST SATISFACTION and IMPROVING ON TREATMENT AND ACCOMMODATIONS OF GUESTS WITH DISABILITIES AND PARTICULAR NEEDS!!!!!!!!! I wish that I could speak with some one in the hospitality industry, in order to INFORM and EDUCATE ME on what to expect from hotels regarding guest satisfaction. It is not our intent to misuse staffs’ time or, abuse the services from the accommodations where we’re renting.
    Thank you for this place to leave a reply/vent….. Happy Holidays to you all!!

  2. Thanks for training video on assisting guests with special needs. Very informative and considered and helpful, clear & sucinct.
    Kirsten (Hospitality Cert III student)


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