This March Dispenser Amenities’ Executive Account Manager, Liz Giles, went to the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and was fortunate enough to catch Colin Powell’s speech about his top ten suggestions for hoteliers. The speech was a hit at the show, so Liz returned and told me all about it. His list of problems was published by lodgingmagazine.com and, when I took a look at it, I had to agree with Liz. Not only were his suggestions pretty funny, but they also made a lot of sense:
1. In the shower, give me one handle that tells me where hot and where cold is. I don’t need a sprinkler system. I don’t need a Jacuzzi.
2. I’m an old man. In the middle of the night, when I wake up, I need big red letters on the clock of the clock radio to tell me what time it is. If it needs instructions, it’s the wrong clock radio.
3. Give me a simple coffee maker…I don’t need all those fancy espressos and the rest of it. All I want is a cup of coffee in the morning, nothing else.
4. I can’t read that well without my glasses. When I go into the bathroom, I don’t know which one the shampoo is, I don’t know which one the conditioner is, I don’t know which one the body lotion is. I end up putting bad body lotion on my head. Would it be so hard just to put a big S on one and C on the other?
5. I don’t need a scale in my bathroom. I can wait until I get home to weigh myself. It is not that pressing a matter and I don’t like the answer anyway.
6. How many people actually watch television in the bathroom? Come on. If you do, you need to see a doctor—you’re staying in there too long.
7. For some reason, a few years ago, everybody decided that a bed needed 12 pillows. All we want is a single pillow to rest our head on and we spend 10 minutes throwing pillows off the bed into the corners.
8. Just put the light with a switch and put the switch at the bottom. Don’t make me reach up, burning my fingers, to turn it on and off.
9. Don’t buy any of those Japanese toilets…I don’t know what to do with all those buttons. And I’m afraid to use it. I don’t know what it might do to me. Who said we needed Japanese toilet seats
with a space control system on it?
10. I cannot believe I can still go into a hotel and when I go to the desk and set up my computer, smartphone, and my iPad, you still make me crawl under the desk to plug them in.
After reading this, I decided to do a little research of my own about the subject. By looking through complaints about many of the top-rated hotels on Tripadvisor, I decided to exclude all of the 1- 3 star hotels because the complaints for all of them were obvious hygiene issues. I decided to look into what concerns guests when they are staying at a well-respected hotel. After reading many reviews of some of the top rated hotels on Tripadvisor and Travelocity, and getting some feedback form our own Eco-Travelers Facebook page, I have come up with my own official top ten peeves of hotel guests:
#1 – The Fear of Bed Bugs
People are absolutely terrified of bed bugs. There has been so many mentions of them in the media and health networks that any small irritation to the skin, unexplained blemish, or unidentified insect, will immediately draw accusations of bed bugs. Although there has never been a case of infectious disease caused by the bites, they are very itchy and excessive scratching could lead to an infection. The fear of bed bugs in the hospitality industry is a much wider spread problem than the bugs themselves.
#2 – Not Having Control over the Temperature in the Room
Some people are very sensitive to temperature one way of the other. At the exact same temperature some guests may feel hot, while others feel cold. The guests not having control over the temperature in the room almost always will lead to complaint from a minority of guests.
Even when the guest do have some control over their room temperature, there have still been some complaints that the thermostat will not go high or low enough. There are some “hack” solutions posted online such as this blog – www.boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfromthewing/2010/02/24/overriding-your-hotel-rooms-thermostat-settings/ – Which explains how to override the controls.
#3 – Disruption from other Guests
In regular size hotel rooms with one wall separating the living rooms, noise is one of the most common complaints from guests. Whether it is a loud television show, movie, talking, or partying, hotel guests hate to be able to hear each other. Open doors in the hallway to other guest rooms will increase this type of complaints exponentially.
#4 – Noise from Machines or Equipment in the Hotel
As mentioned in peeve number three, the guest love to have control over the temperature in their room. What they don’t like however, is any noise at all that is created from this luxury. A small hum or rattle will be enough to have some guests going completely nuts, unable to sleep, and up early in the morning writing bad reviews on Tripadvisor about the Hotel.
Also in this complaint bracket are rooms that are located close to ice machines, car-park stations, or any other hotel amenity that tends to make noise. There are countless terrible reviews posted across Tripadvisor from guests who have encountered this problem.
#5 – The Size of the Room or Bathroom
One of the top complaints on travel forums are from guests who feel that they have somehow been misled about the size of their room. For the most part the complaints stem from the comparison of the price that the guest paid compared to the size of the room they expect for that price.
#6 – The handling of Complaints by Staff
Most guests feel that their complaints should become the number one priority of the hotel’s staff once they are announced, and they likely should be. According to many reviews this becomes the “do or die” moment when the hotel brand can either earn the advocacy of the guest or their active opposition. With an apology and appearance of concern alone, the staff can usually win over the guest even if their original concern cannot be completely rectified. Any kind of rudeness or dismissal of the complaint will almost always earn the brand a former guest with bad things to say both online and in person.
#7 – Coffee
The world’s number one addiction can play a big factor in hospitality. The fact is: Without their coffee at the perfect time, temperature, and flavor, people can become very grumpy. Most coffee-related complaints stated that they had wait too long to get their beverage, the coffee was cold, or the coffee maker was too complicated. The vast majority of people are looking for their regular black coffee with cream and sugar available. Fancy cappuccino and espresso machines often lead to more complaints than compliments.
#8 – Wireless Internet Difficulties
Wireless internet is very troublesome for some people. Many people have had it set up in their home and/or office and have not connected to a new network in a very long time. When they go to set up the connection at the hotel there are often difficulties with entering the password, choosing the right network, or especially if there is a more complicated procedure like a browser authentication code.
Also, hotel wireless networks have been known to become overloaded during peak periods causing the internet experience of the guests to become compromised. This can enrage guests who rely on that connection to check on loved ones, send other critical messages, plan vacation activities, or connect to their work.
#9 – Room Service Delays
When it comes to food and drink people can be very impatient. While they will maybe be willing to wait if ordering a full-course elegant meal, when it comes to simple snacks and drinks they are not willing to wait for very long at all before becoming agitated. The higher the price the guest paid for the room the more they are expecting to be pampered and the faster they expect to be served.
#10 – Wait Time Checking in and out
People are often a little more patient with the checking in procedure than they are with the checking out procedure. When they are beginning their voyage home, there is a very good chance that they may be a little grumpy that the vacation is over. Also complicating the impatience of guests checking out is that they feel that paying the bill should be made as simple as possible for them.