What to do when there is a problem at your hotel

Sometimes a hotel just isn’t up to par.  The issues can be wide ranging but I never hesitate to get hotel employees involved if I feel there is a need.  This year we will have stayed away from home approximately 119 nights.  Add in the fact we have traveled this way for years, I feel confident in saying we are well versed in dealing with hotel employees. 

So how do you talk to management to get a resolution for your issue? Here are a few recommendations to help you the next time you have a less than stellar stay at a property.

#1 Keep it civil. 

Keep the issue the main issue and do not let your emotions run wild.  The hotel management should only need to deal with the problem at hand.  Not the problem and an irate customer.  Kindness and keeping your cool is always a better way to get your needs met.  

#2 Keep it private. 

Speak to management in a quiet setting away from other guests if possible.  I usually try to reach out to the front desk over the room phone or go to the front desk and ask for the help or consideration that is needed. Relaxed body language and a sense of decorum go a long way to getting a favorable outcome.  

#3  Keep it on topic. 

Have a clear idea in your mind what the issue is and how a favorable outcome can be reached.  How the situation made you feel is less important than the situation itself when it comes to getting a resolution.  Bringing emotion and drama to the table doesn’t help anyone.  Being solution minded is an asset.  

#4 Go only as high up in command as you need to. 

If you need more towels, speaking to the maid in the hallway may be enough.  If there is a mechanical dysfunction or broken items in the room, speak to the front desk so they can let maintenance know to fix the issue.  If there is a gross oversight in cleanliness and hotel standards, it is time to get management involved. Invite management to view the issue personally with you.  If you do not feel management has taken care of the problem properly, it is time to reach higher up to the hotel chain.   

#5 Be reasonable. 

If you show up to a hotel and your room has not been cleaned properly, you can reasonably expect a new room or your currently assigned room to be recleaned ASAP.  They are not going to put your kids through college because of that oversite.  A good hotel chain will go above and beyond to make it right but keep your expectations reasonable.  

#6 If you do lose your cool or get overly emotional with the hotel staff, apologize. 

It will make you feel better and help you get your emotions in check. I am not saying you do not have a reason to be upset or that you are not allowed to have feelings.  An over-emotional state of mind however is not always the fastest way to get a resolution to the problem. And when it has hit the proverbial fan, that is what you want, a fast solution.  You can ruminate about it later when you are at home vacuuming your rugs.  Let the feelings go for the moment, get the issue handled, and get on with your vacation.  

Things that don’t work:

Losing your cool.  I cannot repeat this one enough.  We have all seen that person throw a fit at a restaurant or venue.  They have decided their night is ruined and nothing management does will fix it.  Having a “lost cause” attitude on vacation isn’t going to help you redeem your time.  Not only does this ruin your experience but it also sets everyone in your party on edge.  Just don’t go there.  And once the management knows there is no making it right in your eyes, they are less generous with their solutions.  

Social media shaming.  This doesn’t work out for you or them.  Want to leave an honest online review? Great.  Do that.  People will better understand what happened and take note of the situation.  Posting negative photos and comments are really only appropriate if all of your other methods of resolution haven’t worked.  

Passive aggressive property damage ( or not so passive ).  I have never personally seen this (or done this) but I have heard of patons damaging hotel rooms or properties after a non-favorable outcome.  Don’t do this.  They have your credit card information remember.  “I was upset” isn’t going to hold up in court.   

Saying nothing.  It is your vacation.  It is your precious time on this earth.  Do you need more towels for your big family? Tell them.  Do you need three extra rolls of toilet paper because you are homeschooling in the room and well… kids potty a lot!?  Tell them. ( Maybe leave off the why in this scenario ) Are you allergic to down and you need them to scrounge up a few poly fill pillows? Tell them.  Is there something off about your room?  TELL THEM.  tell them. Tell Them. You get the point.  It doesn’t make you the bad guy.  Your hotel will want to know how to best accommodate you.  Saying nothing is almost as bad as losing your cool. They cannot help you if they do not know there is an issue.  

As I write this my children are swimming in an Embassy Suites indoor pool.  When his topic popped up as next on my editorial calendar, I had to chuckle.  My current hotel stay and the previous were rough. One experience was bad enough the hotel chain refunded our stay and gave us extra loyalty points valued around $50.  These two stays granted me lots of opportunities to try out these techniques for a better stay experience.  I am happy to tell you all the issues were dealt with by management well and we were able to redeem our precious travel time as a family.   

The bottom line is things happen and people fall short.  If you travel frequent enough you will have your own set of stories to tell.  Let’s just handle those challenges with grace and dignity.  Happy travels. 

A Wife, Mother, horseback riding, RV-ing, travel enthusiast always looking for the next adventure. As the Matriarch of a homeschooling family of four we keep our suitcases packed and our atlas handy. Join us on our adventures.