Types of Common Guest Complaints in Hotels
1. Service-Related Complaints
Are usually associated with the hotel service. The guest may experience a problem with hotel services and may become dissatisfied. It can be of wide-ranging and about such things as long waiting times for service, lack of assistance with luggage, untidy room, missed wake-up call, cold or ill-prepared food, or ignored requests for additional supplies. The front office generally receives more service-related complaints when the hotel is operating at or near full occupancy.
Examples of guest complaints due to service-related issues:
- Ignore any request made by the guest for any special amenities.
- The service is too slow!
- I’ve been waiting for 30 minutes to speak to someone.
- Why there is no one at the bell desk?
- Missed wake-up call request by guest.
2. Attitudinal Complaints
Attitudinal problems are often associated with the attitudes and behavior of the hotel staff. All hotels whether it is big or small do come across instances when guests complain about the impolite, unprofessional, and indifferent behavior of staff members of the hotel.
The moment an employee disagrees with the guest, his conflict with the guest begins which leads to guest complaints. Guests may express attitudinal complaints when they feel insulted by rude or tactless hotel staff members or sometimes guest overhears staff conversations or receive complaints from hotel staff members. Managers and supervisors should listen and attend to the complaints and problems of the guests. This can be especially critical to maintain good guest relations.
Examples of guest complaints due to staff attitude:
- No one smiles around here.
- What a rude waitress.
- The front desk clerk was not very friendly.
- Staff showed a lack of skill and sensitivity in dealing with guests.
- Guests feel insulted by rude hotel staff members.
3. Mechanical Complaints
Mechanical complaints deal with equipment problems within the hotel. Most guest complaints are related to hotel equipment malfunctions. It is usually concerned with problems with air conditioning, lighting, electricity, room furnishing, vending machines, ice machines, door keys, plumbing, television, and so on. Effective use of a front office log book and maintenance work orders may help to reduce the frequency of mechanical complaints.
Examples of guest complaints due to mechanical reasons:
- Air conditioner.
- The vending machine.
- The lights are not working.
- TV not working.
- The docking station for iPads, Phones, etc. not working.
- Plumbing Issues.
- Hot water or cold water.
- The key not working.
- In safe not opening.
- The Electric Kettle not working.
- The fan not working.
- The dryer not working.
4. Unusual Complaints
Unusual problems are those that the hotel has no control over such as the weather, traffic, or transportation. Guest sometimes expects the front office staff to resolve or at least listen to such kinds of complaints which are unusual and the hotel cannot do anything about them. Sometimes guests demand something that simply is unwarranted or impossible to deliver such as complaining about the absence of a swimming pool, lack of public transportation, bad weather, and so on.
Hotels generally have little or no control over the circumstances surrounding unusual complaints. Front office management should alert front desk agents that on occasion guests may complain about things the staff can do nothing about. Through such orientation, staff will be better prepared to handle an unusual situation with the appropriate guest relations techniques and avoid a potentially difficult encounter.
Examples of guest complaints due to unusual reasons:
- The traffic around here is crazy!
- It’s so hot and humid in this area.
- The traffic in this town is ridiculous.
- The pre-paid taxi counter at the airport had a long queue.
- It’s difficult to deal with the tuk-tuk drivers.
- Why it’s raining all day?
5. Room Related Complaints
Any guest complaints related to the room are categorized into complaints related to rooms. This issue can occur due to room category booked vs assigned, old mattresses, poor view, noisy room, poor linen, or even bad lighting in the room. Nowadays due to most of the bookings being generated online guest expects that the picture is shown while reservation should match with the room they have been assigned.
Due to numerous Online travel agents (OTA’s) available online and the fact that these OTA’s have a different type of layout for the hotel image gallery, the guest is often confused about the room they have reserved. Once the guest reaches the hotel and check-in to the room they find out that the room allocated to them is different from that they have seen online.
Also, the less sleep the hotel guests have the more issues you’ll have with them the next day. Try to ensure that the mattresses are always good if you want your guests satisfied in the morning.
Examples of guest complaints related to rooms:
- Noisy room.
- The view is not good.
- Booked vs assigned room.
- Downgraded to a lower category due to non-availability or maintenance issues.
- Repeated maintenance issues.
6. Complaints Due to Food and Beverage
Even with very good accommodation facilities, the guest can complain about the hotel due to the reason of food and beverages not up to their exception. Even if your hotel provides an exceptional culinary experience to the guests, despite your best efforts, there’s no way to please everyone and that leads to the occasional customer complaint.
Examples of guest complaints related to food:
- Dirty cutlery and crockery.
- Stale food served.
- Quantity of the food served.
- Non-veg delivered in place of veg food items.
- The wrong item was received.
- Items were missing.
- Delay in food service.
- Dust particles or Hair in food.
A special type of Guest complaint: The Unresolvable!
These are the types of complaints that the guest refuses to allow you to solve. For example, a guest who found some animal hair from the previous guests in a corner which the maids missed. The hotel offered to re-clean it but the guest refused. The next day he complains again and again the hotel offers to clean but he refuses again, this goes on every day.
Professional hoteliers know about this kind of guest, and as a hotelier, you should be aware that some guests are just abusive. They will try to make abuse look like a complaint. So it’s important to learn to differentiate and to stand up for your employees.