Most hotels are good experiences, but what about hotels that are bad? Although most of the time we check in to a hotel and have clean rooms, hot breakfast, air conditioning that works and no bugs, there are some hotels that just don’t meet up to expectations. What do you do when a hotel experience goes bad? How do you handle it? How can you redeem the experience? I’ve got some ideas born out of personal experience that will you help you know what to do when a hotel goes bad.
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What to do when a Hotel goes bad
The more nights you spend in hotels, the higher the odds of having a bad experience. We’ve stayed in many hotels and have had very few stays that turned sour. Most of the time we have had spotless rooms with cheerful staff and great experiences. But there are some things that can go wrong with hotel stays.
Potential problems with hotel stay:
Problem: We have had the smoke alarm start beeping in the middle of the night because the battery got low.
- Resolution: Call the front desk and they sent someone up with a new battery within a few minutes to change the battery.
Problem: Toilet gets clogged and overruns
- Solution: Call front desk and have them send up maintenance to unclog and clean it up
Problem: Loud neighbors
- Solution: Sometimes you just have to deal with it. If it gets really bad, call the front desk and ask them to contact the upstairs neighbors.
Problem: Air Conditioning doesn’t work
- Solution: Call front desk and they will typically either move you to another room or fix it. One time this happened and they fixed it while we were out for supper.
Did you hear about the hotel in Phoenix, Arizona that didn’t have working air conditioning? We called the front desk and they sent a repairman up. He looked at us and said it was hot in our room because we were “hot, steamy and big”. Not sure that was the best response he could have given us. They finally gave us two fans but the room stayed like an oven all night.
Problem: Breakfast is cold/crowded or out of food
- Solution: Ask the staff to refill the food if possible. If it’s too crowded, we have been known to take our food to go. In some situations, we just grab coffee and juice and skip completely. If the staff looks like they are trying and just unable to keep up with demand, it isn’t typically worth it to complain. They can only work so fast. When the satisfaction survey arrives in the mail, that’s the time to make your opinion heard.
Problem: Reservations not available when you check in
- Solution: Always print your confirmation number or have a screenshot of your reservation if you use your phone app. This will help ensure that you get your room when you arrive. If you have a reservation, they will find your room or refund you. If not, then it’s time to call the head office and let them know the problem that you experienced.
- Solution: I don’t stay in a hotel that has ants, bugs or gnats. If I see a stray bug or ant, that’s one thing. But if there are serious issues with insects, call the property and let them know.
Problem: Dirty Bathroom/Sink
- Solution: We once arrived on a property where we had a reservation. We had misgivings the minute we pulled in the parking lot. I checked in and looked at the rooms before we unpacked any luggage. I knew within 30 seconds that I was not taking any chances with any critters so I immediately went back to the hotel counter and checked out. They were able to credit our account because of the lack of cleanliness on their property. (If you don’t feel comfortable, then don’t stay there!)
Problem: Elevator issues
- Solution: Let the front desk know of any potential safety issues with the elevator so they can contact service immediately. Take the stairs.
We were in a hotel elevator when it suddenly dropped half a floor then stalled. A few seconds later it readjusted to the lower floor and opened. It was probably not a huge safety issue, but it was scary enough that we took the stairs the rest of the stay. We let the front desk know so they could call the elevator service techniciain.
Communication tips for bad hotel stays:
The first thing to remember when hotel stays go bad is that it’s always better to be firm and pleasant rather than rant and show anger. State your issue with the front desk but ask to speak to a manager. If you don’t get a good resolution from the on site manager, take their name and remain calm. Advise them that you will follow up with their area manager and ask for the contact information. If they don’t give it to you, you can find that information on the hotel website.
- Follow up with the area manager as soon as possible so you are the first one to tell the story.
- Remain calm and keep your facts straight.
- Think about the resolution you want. Is the situation bad enough that you feel you need a full refund or is it sufficient for the hotel to be advised of the situation?
The bottom line: If you don’t get a good resolution, it’s not the end of the world. You can make your point heard by not going to their hotel again.
Have you ever had a bad hotel stay? How did you resolve the situation?