The Mews Blog > The most common hotel guest complaints and how to resolve them
Hotel complaints are without a doubt one of the worst things a hotelier has to deal with, but having a solid plan of action in place as to how to resolve common complaints will make this pain point less painful.
The complaints you receive will vary from property to property and according to your hotel’s dimensions, location, and clientele. But one thing’s for sure: the best strategy for handling complaints is to be prepared and to make sure your staff are too.
In this article we’ll look at the five most common hotel guest complaints and strategies to resolve them.
Five most common hotel guest complaints
Working in a client-facing position has its ups and downs, but by knowing what the common guest grievances are and how to deal with them, you can be prepared for the worst.
1. Wi-Fi access
Wi-Fi has come to be a necessity for our everyday lives, and it’s no wonder this is a source of dissatisfaction should it not work. Guests nowadays have a laptop, smartphone and/or a tablet, all of which they most likely will want to connect to Wi-Fi.
It’s important that your structure is prepared to offer the bandwidth that’s required to handle all this connectivity.
Some ways to avoid and anticipate this trouble is to have a fast Wi-Fi service with the bandwidth and range to serve the maximum occupancy of your hotel.
Another way to resolve this problem is to make sure that your staff are trained ahead of time about how to connect to the Wi-Fi, so that should a frustrated guest not be able to connect to the internet, your team has the know-how to troubleshoot.
Make sure the password is clearly listed in the room and in the hotel lobby. After all, a connected guest is happier, easier to upsell and remarket to, and likely to be more satisfied with the service you're providing.
Most people go to a hotel to disconnect and relax, or in the case of business guests, they want a place to quietly take care of their emails and unwind from a busy day.
This is why noise can be a very common grievance. In some cases your staff won’t be able to solve the problem, especially if your hotel is in the city and there’s a lot of outside noise, but in other cases, there are some solutions.
Think about moving your guests further up, where ground level noise will be less of a nuisance. Depending on the kind of hotel and your target audience, you may think about having a no kids policy.
If you’re in the early stages of buying or remodeling your hotel, make sure to think about insulation – it’s key to provide the most relaxing and ideal stay.
3. Room and water temperature
Depending on the system you use to heat or cool rooms and the water temperature, you might run into complaints about the water temperature (and/or pressure) as well as
the temperature of the room. Since guests’ comfort is so important, it’s key to have the ability to help them reach the ideal temperature.
Think about having instructions about how to cool and heat the room written out inside the room, so guests can troubleshoot on their own. You may consider integrating some smart room features that allow guests to set room temperature before they arrive.
Finally, make sure your team knows how to handle the thermostat and what to do or who to call should the water temperature not reach the ideal setting.
Cleanliness is one of the most important elements of providing a top hotel stay. When this is not up to par, it’s only normal that a guest would complain. First, make sure to read this article about optimizing housekeeping to ensure that your staff is working in the best and most efficient way possible.
Once you’ve ensured your human resources are covered and working to perfection, it will be a lot easier to avoid these mishaps.
However, should a cleanliness complaint be made, be sure to offer your profuse apologies. You may think about offering them another room or an upgrade. If the guests don’t want to move, then consider offering a free drink or a treatment at your spa while they wait to get the room re-cleaned.
5. General service
Your service should always be top-notch, but as your staff are human beings, it’s only normal that mistakes can be made. Common complaints could be about a rude staff member, long wait times, unavailable room features or amenities, or the room in general.
If a guest complains about a rude staff member, apologize and then look further into the issue to prevent it from happening in the future, and make sure the guest knows this is what you will do.
It’s also important to explain in as much detail as possible the features and amenities you offer, with really clear pictures to manage expectations.
To mitigate long wait times and to help improve the quality of service, definitely consider using virtual concierge services, where guests can check in and check out online, and directly send their requests straight to your reception team from their phones.
Best strategies to resolve guest complaints in hotels
Now that you understand the most common guest complaints and have some pointers on how to resolve them more easily, it’s important to keep in mind some of the best general strategies for handling these common grievances.
For starters, be apologetic and receptive to what they are saying. Smiling often helps to diffuse the situation, but make sure your team use common sense. If the guest is clearly very upset or frustrated, smiling could make things worse. Be sympathetic without being patronizing.
Compassion is key, so recognize that your client is unhappy and offer a solution to make them happier, which in extreme cases could be a complimentary night’s stay or an upgrade.
When a problem arises, be quick to respond using all the resources you need to solve the problem. After the problem has been solved, be sure to follow up and see how the guest is doing, and if there is anything you can do to make their stay better.
In a business where the customer is always right should be the motto, it’s important to surpass expectations instead of falling short. This is why you should be prepared to handle the most common hotel complaints so that your staff is trained and not caught off guard should problems arise.
Employing the tips and strategies we have listed in this article, you are sure to offer a stellar service and keep guest retention rates high even if little problems arise.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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