The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

Merhawi Kidane

Merhawi Kidane

Content Writer

February 13, 2019

The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

Merhawi Kidane, Content Writer
February 13, 2019


The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

When people think of hotels, they’re likely met with thoughts of a glamor-filled 5-star resort ran by employees with a permanent smile on their face and with a thorough knowledge of how to please each and every customer that enters their hotel.

While this may be what people envision for their hotel stays, the reality is that dealing with hotel guest complaints is a common issue for those working in hospitality and you’ll have to work hard to ensure the issues don’t hurt your brand.

The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

One of the best ways of fighting these negative hotel complaints is by preparing for them so that they don’t occur in the first place or so you’re at least prepared to deal with the issue whenever it rears its ugly head.

“How in the world do I stop hotel complaints from happening when I don’t even know what they are yet!?”

Let me tell you how! You first have to adopt a proactive mindset versus having a reactive mindset towards your issues.

You then must finish reading the rest of this blog to figure out what the 20 most common hotel guest complaints are so that you can be prepared for some of the most common issues that will likely arise.

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1. Noisy neighbors

No matter what type of hotel you’re running, where it’s being run, or how big it is. You WILL have to eventually deal with guests complaining about noisy neighbors. This is troublesome for a variety of reasons. Your guests paid good money to stay at your hotel and getting some peace & quiet shouldn’t be too much to ask. In fact, it’s really the bare minimum of what’s expected of your hotel’s service.

The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

To ensure you deal with it correctly, make sure to politely ask their neighbor to please keep their volume down because it’s bothering the other guests. Keep in mind that the noisy neighbors are still guests at your hotel and should be treated with appropriate respect.

2. No hot water

You get off your flight, finally get a car to take you to your hotel, and all you want to do is relax by taking a nice hot shower. You turn the water on and…it’s freezing.

The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

This is a common issue that hotel guests have, and rightfully so. While it may initially come off as a “first world problem”, remember that your hotel’s job is to provide an environment that mimics what they’re used to. And that includes having hot water readily accessible.

If the issue isn’t able to be fixed, make sure to move them to a new room or consider calling in a plumber.

3. Small beds

I know, I know. The description very clearly states that the room comes with a queen and the guest is complaining that it’s too small. While this issue may be especially annoying, the reality is that many people may have unrealistic expectations on what a queen-sized bed (or any bed for that matter) should actually look like. Take the time to calmly explain that the beds are the correct size.

4. Dirty rooms

From roadside motels to 5-star luxury hotels, hotels of all types are susceptible to complaints regarding their cleanliness. Mistakes happen, so don’t spend too much time freighting over it. Just make sure to apologize profusely and to correct the issue while explaining to your staff where they went wrong.

5. Temperature of their room

No matter what you do to try and prepare, this issue will find a way to rear its ugly head no matter what. While one person may find the temperature to be perfectly suitable, another person may find that exact temperature too hot/cold. I wish there was a one fix solution for this, but there isn’t. Your best bet is to handle it by a case by case basis and revert back to the “I’m so sorry for the issue” response.

The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

6. Customers not agreeing with hotel rules

If your hotel says there are no overnight guests allowed, then that means there are no overnight guests allowed. Don’t let a guest feel like they can make you budge on the issue or can complain their way around it. This goes for all of your rules. They exist for a reason, see to it that they’re followed.

7. No free Wi-Fi

People are so used to free wi-fi nowadays that whenever they’re in a place that doesn’t have it (especially a place they’ll be staying at) they tend to get frustrated. Similar to when customers complain about rules for your hotel, you shouldn’t feel obligated to give free wi-fi if it’s explicitly stated that there is none.

The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

That said, you should really consider changing your policy to allow for free wi-fi. It’s 2019, and wanting free wi-fi shouldn’t be considered too much.

8. Rodents, roaches, & other unwanted guests

When people book a room for one person. That means they should be the only ones staying there. So if they come across a roach, spider, or *shudders* rat, you can expect to have a very big complaint coming your way. If you do find yourself in this situation, sorry to say but your best bet is to offer a full refund as well as offering another room for their stay.

9. Low-quality food

Ordering room service is a luxury that most people don’t experience regularly, so when they do order it, they expect nothing short of amazement.

So when the food comes up short, it only makes sense that the customers will leave a complaint. Bring all food complaints straight to the cooks as well as the waitstaff that are responsible for transporting the food to the customers’ rooms. Because if the complaint has to do with the food being cold, then it probably had to do with the way it was handled and transported.

10. Bad smells

This is pretty straightforward & is another issue where you can’t blame the guest for complaining. No one wants to be in a smelly room even for a few minutes, let alone for multiple nights. If you have this complaint come in, make sure it’s immediately addressed by having a cleaning crew go to their room and scrub it clean.

11. “This doesn’t match the website/brochure!”

A common complaint that’s left hotel staff scratching their heads for years is when a guest comes in and complains that certain aspects of their stay don’t match up to what was promised. When you dig deeper, you find that they’re really just mad because it’s raining outside when they envisioned their stay to be filled with bright blue skies.

The only way to deal with this is by holding back the sarcastic comments and being professional about the situation (saying sorry even when a sorry isn’t needed).

12. Unexpected fees

Hotels and vacations are expensive as it is, customers are not going to be happy having to pay more than what they previously had in mind. That’s why your hotel should be assured that you aren’t engaging in the practice of charging people more than what they previously thought they would be paying. This is starting to become more & more common within the hospitality industry and hotels that do engage in it can expect to face plenty of negative reviews informing potential visitors about the unexpected fees.

The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

13. Issues with staff

An issue you’re bound to run into, no matter how well operated your hotel is, are issues that your customers experience with your staff. These problems can range from complaints regarding their attitude, not feeling like they’re doing everything they can, etc. This is a tricky area to maneuver because you don’t want to make the mistake of alienating your employees in an effort to please the customer, but you also want the customer to feel like their concerns are being heard.

Your best bet is to listen intently to the customers’ complaints while apologizing on behalf of the business and working to come to a resolution that you both can agree on. While this may lead you to have to offer free amenities on behalf of the organization, it’s still better than having the customer flood review sites with negative comments.

14. Not honoring reservations

In certain situations, hotels are in the practice of overbooking their rooms in an effort to maximize their profits. While this may be profitable, what happens is that people show up expecting a room and instead are told that there is no room available. To no surprise, this causes guests to be furious and demand an explanation as to why their rooms aren’t available.

If you find yourself in this situation, your best bet is to pay to put them up in a nearby hotel as well as paying to give them a free upgrade.

15. Faulty electronics

Just because people are on vacation doesn’t mean they’re also taking a break from TV, internet, printers, etc. If they’re room details that it comes with the above appliances, then they should work. Along with that, if your guests need to use it for business reasons, then an appliance not working can be a much bigger issue than expected. Set procedures in place to regularly check to make sure all equipment is working, as well as having someone on hand to fix the issue in case something goes wrong.

16. Less than stellar Free breakfast

Most hotels advertise a free continental breakfast to their guests. And while it may be free, that doesn’t change the fact that your guests are still expecting a high-quality meal to start their day. Many hotels make the mistake of skipping on quality just to save as much money as possible, which leads to low-quality meals that your guests are going to remember the next time they want to schedule a room at a hotel. Make sure to go over & beyond when it comes to your hotel’s breakfast so your guests aren’t stuck ordering takeout.

17. Staff not respecting a “Do not disturb” sign

A “Do not disturb” sign should be held sacred in all hotels. Your guests paid for the right to feel right at home and a big part of achieving that is having hotel staff respect there do not disturb sign whenever it’s presented. Speak with your staff about the importance of respecting the sign and ensure that each and every room comes equipped with one.

The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

18. Theft of personal items

This is a very serious issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If a guest accuses a member of your staff of stealing their belongings, then you should have a set of procedures in place to handle the situation. If you don’t have procedures in place, then you should set them immediately. If this matter isn’t handled properly, then it can evolve into something much bigger if it’s left unchecked, and there’s always the possibility of a lawsuit. Practice due diligence to ensure your hotel is protected.

19. Not allowing pets

Once again, certain guests are always going to have issues with rules that are explicitly stated on your website and brochures. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re your guests and still deserve the utmost respect. If a guest shows up with a pet to your hotel when you have a strict no pet policy, be sure to explain your rules regarding the subject and to even suggest nearby hotels that are pet-friendly.

The 20 Most Common Hotel Guest Complaints

20. Lack of complimentary supplies

By complimentary supplies, what I mean are things like shampoo, soap, hangers, etc. While you may be concerned with theft, it’s important to note that not having these available to your guests won’t score you any points with guests and will put a damper on your brand.


Last thoughts

Running a hotel is difficult for a variety of reasons. There’s a ton of moving parts and no matter how hard you work, it seems like there’s always going to be a customer complaining about something. To ensure you and your staff are adequately prepared, revisit this list to ensure you’re aware of all common complaints.

And if you find yourself spending all your time building your employee schedules when you should be spending it on bettering your business, click on the button below to start your free trial of Deputy. G2 Crowd’s highest-rated workforce management app.

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Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on Deputy's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. Deputy is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article. Deputy disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Merhawi Kidane
Merhawi works as a Content Writer and helps to create content that strengthens Deputy’s brand awareness and positions them as the experts of their industry. In his spare time, he loves to discover new hiking spots, going to music festivals, and working on becoming the next Stephen King. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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