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We’ve all had a less than satisfactory lodging experience, but do you know how to complain about your hotel room if or when the need arises? Your complaint may lead to a more pleasant hotel stay for the next guest.
I’m not a complainer. I normally won’t say anything, unless someone or something makes me really angry. My husband is the same. We’re not the type of people to check into a $50 a night hotel room and pick it apart, demanding to speak to the manager or leaving nasty reviews on TripAdvisor (though they can be entertaining to read).
Even when I do feel justified in voicing a complaint, nine times out of 10 if the person I speak with acknowledges the issue and attempts to rectify it, I’m okay. Even if the issue is never completely resolved. In most circumstances, good customer service can make a less than ideal situation bearable.
My husband travels for work. There are years that he spends more time in hotel rooms than he does at home. This is one of those years. Since our kids are grown, I often travel with him. He’s primarily working in one area at the moment that means many, many nights in one hotel. So far, he’s stayed in five or six different rooms and of those rooms, he’s had issues with half of them.
The first room didn’t have sufficient hot water. This is a bummer since his work is very physical and after a long day of work, the first and often only thing he feels like doing is relaxing in a bathtub. He didn’t complain to anyone but me, thinking the property just didn’t have hot enough water for guests. After all, we have stayed at properties that could really stand to turn up the temperature on the water heater.
The second stay, he was in a different room. This time he discovered that the property did indeed have hot water but was disappointed to find that the tub had a huge crack and all the water drained out to who knows where. He didn’t complain this time either, thinking that clearly, the hotel was aware that the tub needed repair since the rooms were cleaned properly and surely housekeeping had seen the crack in the tub.
The third stay, the water was hot and the tub didn’t leak but the microwave delivered a shock when turned on. He thought about letting it go but didn’t want to get shocked every time he cooked something to eat. A quick call to the front desk and he had a new microwave in his room that didn’t make his fingers tingle when he turned it on.
This experience made me wonder- do we have an obligation to complain when our room is less than satisfactory?
I certainly don’t want to be the guest who is never satisfied but if I notice something that needs fixed- something big, like a tub that won’t hold water and don’t bring it to someone’s attention than likely I won’t enjoy my stay and neither will the next guest.
So how to you complain about your hotel room?
Here are a couple pointers from someone who’s been on the receiving end.
1. Determine if you have a legitimate complaint.
Can the situation be taken care of by the hotel? Is this an issue that the hotel has control of? Before you complain because your room wasn’t cleaned, make sure you didn’t have the Do Not Disturb sign on your door all day.
2. Remember, the person you complain to is a real person.
Whether you complain on the phone or in person, be courteous. As a former front desk employee, I was much more likely to WANT to help someone who was nice to me and didn’t begin their rant with curse words.
3. Know what you want.
Were you overcharged for your room and it was the hotel properties fault? You can reasonably expect them to refund the charges and pay any additional fees that may have occurred as a result. Demanding an entirely free week stay due to an honest mistake probably isn’t justified.
4. Complain about the issue as soon as possible after it occurs.
This goes along with my point in #5. Don’t complain and think you’re entitled to a discount or comped stay if you’ve not given the property an opportunity to make things right.
5. Give the property a chance to correct the situation before you go over their heads.
If you have spoken to the front desk representative and feel that your complaint was not resolved, ask to speak to a supervisor. If you’ve gone all the way to the General Manager and still have an issue, you can call the corporate office of a chain hotel for closure. Unless it was an extreme situation, I wouldn’t start with corporate.
So when you encounter a room that needs attention or experience a stay worth complaining about, how do you handle it?