Hotels face fierce competition for business with some going the extra mile to ensure that they attract travellers whilst some other establishments don’t seem to try at all. I suspect most of us will have horror stories about the hotel from hell and high praise for others but what are the things that we rate as most important when choosing a hotel and what things are the biggest turn offs?
A recent survey by Hotels.com has revealed that it is breakfast that tops travellers’ wish lists. Guests rate the first meal of the day as more important than access to wifi. Parking was also deemed to be a big plus as was a front desk which is manned 24 hours a day. This is all very interesting but it seems to me that the survey was asking the wrong questions because if you look at the things which guests really hate a different picture of priorities emerges.
Following an Alex Polizzi piece in the Daily Telegraph outlining her pet hates about hotels, readers were asked to comment on their own niggles. Some of the issues raised were frankly trivial like toilet paper having the corners folded but the responses generally suggested that poor service, over charging and noise were the major concerns.
I don’t think any survey will prove as useful as simply reading online reviews. You don’t have to examine many of those before it becomes obvious what really delights or upsets guests. Here any establishment that wishes to elevate itself above the crowd will find everything they need to know and more and none of it should come as a surprise.
Peace and Quiet
It strikes me as common sense that the majority of people paying for a bed for the night would value the ability to sleep and therefor noise is always a major source of complaint. Noise from other guests is not the only problem because people are also left furious after air conditioning units, heating systems, banging doors and poor plumbing keep them awake.
Rude staff, inflexible check in times and inadequate parking facilities are a major annoyance as is poor food and unpleasant tea and coffee. Nobody likes being charged for wifi, being ripped off by mini bar prices or running out of hot water. Hotels that charge high prices simply because of their sought after location are frowned upon and guests also hate dirty rooms and uncomfortable beds.
This really isn’t rocket science and surely hotels do not need surveys to tell them how to do their jobs! People are generally bothered about peripheral issues like nice cushions, attractive lighting and a fancy kettle. Provide a clean and safe room with a comfortable bed, drinkable coffee, hot water, access to wifi and correctly functioning climate control and guests will be happy. Allow them to check in when it suits them, do your best to keep things quiet and lay on a good breakfast and they will be delighted. Give them a parking space and a great price and they will tell the world what a brilliant stay they have had. Simples!
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and freqient traveller who has stayed in some truly terrible hotels!