About the controversial issue of Internet users’ reviews and the discomfort they cause among the most reluctant hoteliers, I host some doubts about how many hotels are constrained by the same Achilles heel. Or are the most sensitive factors in a hotel, those that can disappoint travelers, always the same? Let’s see what the study of a popular online booking engine brings us. It is an interesting research which has gathered the main complaints of its clients after has evaluated all this knowledge and effects for its platform affiliates.
These are the most frequent adverse opinions on the Net:
Breakfast. This hotel meal has become the real test of hospitality quality and emotional power. Internet users often complain about how expensive breakfasts are in a hotel compared to those in their usual cafeteria of every day. Granted that it is not the same breakfast in the neighborhood that is served in a multi-star hotel, but there is no possible justification for those high prices given the quality and extent of the food offered. Moreover, we could point out the sameness of hotel breakfast presentation, the minimal replenishment of the products, the slow attention of the service and the length of time the food spends on the buffet table.
Parking. We do not fully share the opinion of many that parking fees or underground garage rates are too expensive; however, they could be offered to guests in the form of upgrades or rewards of the loyalty program.
Noise. We firmly agreed that a huge number of hotels have some defects of design and construction that make them permeable to the intensity of traffic (in downtown hotels, at least). Therefore, the guests have to put up with some disturbances or passersby talking on the street at night, as well as jocular manifestations from those who share the same space barely separated by a thin wall.
Room size. On this topic, there is a diversity of opinions, according to the criterion and custom of the guests’ countries of origin. It is well known that Americans prefer large rooms and Japanese, small and non-connecting rooms. The Europeans are in between, or what is equal, we are used to rejecting any space that would cost more to our wallets.
Service. There are those who, like the Spaniards, have become accustomed to a courteous, but cold and even arrogant treatment. There are those, like the Asians, who endure the lack of rituals in guest service. And there are others, such as the Central Europeans, who already know how abrupt the Spanish hosts are and are consoled by their friendliness, their joy of living and, most of all, by how cheap the alcohol and the beach umbrellas can be there. The Americans complain, however, of how inefficient the service is and how rarely servants accept their tips.
Wifi. About this there is unanimity. The internet access is generally expensive and not always possible from the rooms.
Cleaning. There are some complaints about the cleanliness of their room, especially of the bathrooms. Knowing the average quality levels of the hotels in Spain, I wonder if these complainers would make the same charges against some traditional London hotels, by the way.
Comfort. Old mattress? Unsafe furniture? Actually, in which hotels are these stuff located? It is very probable that the comments refer to those establishments in either decadent locations, such as the Majorcan Platja de Palma before the Strategic Plan, or in emergent destinations which have not yet been fully renovated, for instance, China and some Asian countries.
Smoking. How unpleasant it is to stay in a room which smells of tobacco. Guests complain about the insufficient separation between smokers and non-smokers, the smoke smell on non-smoking floors, and sometimes the lack of rooms available for non-smokers, even if they have been booked in advance.
Star rating. Some European countries, like Spain or France, seem proud of their rules for a hotel classification by stars. No one wants to know that guests are usually disappointed with this false stellar attribution. Yes, they are frustrated because of excessive, inadequate and unaudited rules, mainly related to advertising rather than to homologation of the product. Hotels, in general, display too many stars, forcing others to think about the use of six, seven and even ten stars. At which point, just a small hotel of two stars will seem like chicory in the future.
Do we care about users’ complaints? From now, who will listen to travelers?
Fernando Gallardo |