Every hotelier wants their customers to leave feeling relaxed and satisfied with their experience, but nobody’s perfect, and there are always things to improve upon.
The Hotel Guide 2018 will be out on 9 October, and we’re looking at some of the statistics and issues from the guide to give you an overview of the most common customer complaints, and what you can address to have every guest leaving with a smile.
One of the biggest areas for complaint, according to The Hotel Guide, is the bedroom, with 59% of complaints about the bed being saggy or uncomfortable, and 48% of comments about poor-quality bedding.
Addressing these complaints alone would boost your satisfaction levels by a long way. Invest in supportive, comfortable mattresses and high-quality, high thread count bed linen for a comfortable night’s sleep for your guests and no complaints on checkout.
Slightly less of a problem, but still important, 38% of guests were unhappy with windows that didn’t open. That’s not such an easy fix if your windows are a single unit with no option to open them, but if it’s simply a case of sticking panes because of excess paint or tight fittings, those things can be quickly fixed, and your guests satisfied.
Poor lighting by the bed featured in 30% of complaints. Guests may enjoy reading in bed, watching television, applying make-up, or even wanting to eat in bed, and it’s not hard to fit a brighter bulb or buy a new lamp that properly illuminates the area.
Finally, the last two items on the list accounted for 15% of gripes - captive coat hangers and UHT or long-life milk. These aren’t huge items that are going to ruin a holiday, but paying attention to those smaller details can have a big effect on customer satisfaction.
When it comes to the bathroom, guests do seem to have quite the list of things they dislike. Lack of cleanliness tops the list - 86% of guests weren't impressed by unclean toilets, 74% by hair in the plughole, and 61% by dirty shower curtains.
Cleanliness really is a basic requirement in a hotel room, and failing that standard is not an option. Staff may benefit from extra training, or perhaps more supervision is needed to ensure standards are met.
Other complaints centered around privacy, with 34% of guests unhappy with a free-standing bath in the bedroom, and 49% disliking a “lack of privacy in the bathroom”. One other complaint that 27% of guests made was about wet rooms that flood the floor when used.
Depending on your layout, those complaints may not be easily addressed, as moving baths and correcting floor levels potentially involves building work, or at least some re-tiling and redecorating, but try to look at the bathroom from the point of view of the guests and see what you can do. Can you provide a non-slip shower mat, or extra towels, or invest in a dressing screen to separate the free-standing bath from the rest of the bedroom?
The final bathroom complaint made by 13% of customers was about refillable soap/shampoo dispensers. The Guide suggests that’s perhaps because guests like to take their hotel toiletries home, and it is a minor issue compared to the cleanliness of the bathroom. But again, addressing it with some pretty miniature toiletries could make for happier guests.
Add in some beautiful, sumptuous towels and a bathrobe or two, and you could give your bathrooms a whole new feeling of luxury.
Quality was an issue when it came to dining, with 33% of people complaining about poor quality coffee, tea, and juice. 21% of guests also disliked over-packaged condiments. A look at new suppliers might be in order to find good quality drinks at a good price.
Other issues included a dislike of paper napkins (9%) with 8% of guests thinking that hotels don’t do enough for people on restrictive diets, and 17% of people unhappy if the menu doesn’t change for several days. A good look at how you plan your menus and an investment in high quality table linen and cloth napkins can make all the difference to guests.
Finally, general complaints by over half those surveyed involved surly staff at 52%. 46% of people complained about discretionary services charges added to bills and 31% of people disliked confusing bills. Irritating background music irritates nearly a third (29%) of people. Also, 28% of guests were unhappy with poorly trained staff, and 27% had a dislike of Americanisms, such as ‘you guys’ and ‘have a nice day’. Poor wifi caused 26% of complaints, and very long wifi codes caused 10% of grumbles.
Those are big numbers which, with some retraining and a good look at your billing system and your wifi access, can come right down for happier guests and less complaints.
Obviously, no hotel can please everybody, because people have different personal preferences. And you shouldn’t try. You know who your ideal customers are, and aiming to attract them to your hotel and please them while they are staying is always going to be your priority. But getting the basics right and understanding what your customers want will go a long way towards ensuring continually high levels of customer satisfaction.