Unsatisfied with your hotel? Know how to address problems and make complaints!
When you’ve hoped for a relaxing stay but get sleepless nights instead, it’s understandable that you’ll be upset. Guests tend to vent their frustration and disappointment afterwards through the process of writing hotel reviews which in most cases sound like the following:
“Hotel room: has-been and musty, moldy smell, unhygienic carpet, urine smells from the showerbase. Something between a fleabag and a hot-sheet hotel. I was scared of getting some kind of disease here. Supposedly the bedding was changed only after a few guests had already stayed in the room….as were the towels…Horror!!”
Given the importance and popularity of hotel reviews, we saw an opportunity to figure out what annoys hotel guests the most. After reading and analyzing 20,000 hotel reviews from hotel.info written between 2012 till now, we found our “winners” (or should we call them “losers”):
A lack of cleanliness, poor services and paltry breakfast buffets.
You probably want to know what to do if you’re experiencing one of the issues listed above. That’s where our expert tips come in handy!
Do you know how to address problems with hotels when travelling?
Besides revealing some really gross experiences in our slide show we’ll also give some good advice on how to address problems and make effective complaints.
Since we’ve only provided the shorter version of our tips you might be interested in reading our more comprehensive list. But be aware those are only tips, not guarantees.
How and when should you make complaints about your hotel? Well here is the advise from our legal expert, Holger Hopperdietzel:
„ For travelers on an all-expenses paid tour it’s mandatory to address the tour operator with complaints. Complaining only to hotel staff won’t be enough to report shortcomings and claim compensation. Moreover any problems need to be reported immediately. Waiting until the end of your stay might lead to a loss of rights.
If the hotel stay isn’t part of your all-expenses paid tour you need to report the issue to the staff of the hotel. Again, it’s essential to report any problems as soon as you find them. “
Having found a reason to complain, you may well want to ask for a reduction in the price of your room:
„ One can take a reduction of price into consideration if there is ‘an objectively identifiable deviation’ between what is contractually owed and what is actually offered. In other words, the condition of a room and the services available clearly do not match the description provided by the hotel when making your booking or fail to meet standards you can reasonably expect at the price you are paying. Only if the deviation is so insignificant that it can be called an acceptable interference is it unreasonable to seek compensation of some kind.
Typical issues justifying a reduction in price are: construction noise that wasn’t indicated when making the booking, broken and unusable utility installations such as showers and heaters, and non-functioning AC in your room. Take care to check all these were covered in the hotel’s contractual agreement though.
Switching to another hotel is a completely different story. You may demand this when your tour operator didn’t manage to remedy a problem by a specific deadline. The same basically applies for individual travelers as well. However be aware that at that time any additional costs have to be paid by you as a guest so it will be necessary to seek a refund later. For individual travelers, depending on the local legal situation it might be possible to file a lawsuit at the site of the hotel. If you’re travelling on an all-inclusive package you will have an advantage in that you’ll be able to sue the tour operator who will most likely be from your home country and therefore covered by legislation there. “
How much of a reduction in the original price can you expect?
If there are specific issues with your room or the hotel has failed to provide certain utilities and services, you may want to try and calculate how much should be taken off your bill. Unfortunately, for most countries there is no standardized list of problems and the amount of compensation they would incur. What you will want to take into account are things such as:
- a loss of value – you expected you would be provided with a certain level of quality and comfort for the price you were paying
- extra expenses that you incurred as a result of the hotel’s failure to provide certain services
- discomfort, and any consequences of that discomfort resulting from the problems with your hotel – legally, things such as dirty, broken or unsafe fittings mean that the hotel may have failed in its duty of care
- if you have paid with a credit card, your credit card company may have to pay you back
Be warned, there’s no such thing as a unified international code for hotels. Therefore you should know whom to address about problems and issues with hotels when abroad.
„ Again, travelling on an all-expenses paid tour gives you the advantage of having a tour operator responsible for everything. Basically, you can rely on the performance description or on agreements made within the travel contract to ensure that any complaint is given due consideration. Therefore if you made a contract with a tour operator from your home country you don’t need to worry about the legislation and complaints procedures of the country you’re travelling to. If you are organizing everything by yourself you should learn as much as you can about the hotel from its own performance description as this is the foundation of your booking. You should also seek information from objective, third-party sources. A useful source of information might be sites were hotels etc. can be rated. But be aware that texts sounding too professional and overwhelmingly positive might be written by hoteliers themselves. “
Short notice from the editor’s board
If you’re in any doubt, it’s a pretty good idea to take some photos as evidence and have some impartial witnesses to confirm what you’ve experienced!
Good to know!
It is important to be as factual and accurate as possible in writing any review. Other people will be making decisions about whether to stay in a hotel based on what you say, and from a legal point of view if you say something that is inaccurate and leads to a hotel losing business or that harms its reputation there is a possibility a legal case could be brought against you. Repeated criticisms and attacks against somebody could even be treated as harassment. However, disputes about negative reviews are unlikely to go this far and a review that is considered to be unreasonable or abusive may simply be deleted from the website it was posted on.
Positive reviews outweigh negative ones
For all of you who thought a lack of service, friendliness and cleanliness are what count as courteous nowadays, don’t worry! Fortunately most hotel guests are perfectly happy with their accommodation and the service offered. They tend to write overwhelmingly positive and grateful reviews like this one:
“From start to finish employees were friendly and obliging. Superb, quiet and clean lodgings. Breakfast was quite good – unfortunately we couldn’t make it to try your “legendary” cakes but we did have a look when they were being prepared. Thanks again for everything!”
And now it’s time to present some excellent, heavenly resorts where service and cleanliness reign supreme and employees are highly motivated to ensure you have a relaxing stay.
“Excellent hotel at good price and perfectly located in the city centre”
“Nice, clean, decent hotel that has good and large rooms especially for London’s conditions. Subway in about 8 minutes walk. Along the Thames there are lots of nice restaurants and pubs.” (Translated by Google)
“The quietest room I’ve ever slept in and sublimely comfortable beds. Pretty good value room service.Very convenient for an early morning flight.”