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During my travels, I’ve had many amazing hotel experiences and I’ve had some that are a complete disaster. From impossible to connect to WiFi to getting asked to pay for a room upgrade because they didn’t have any more regular rooms available, I’ve heard it all. Watch this video where I reenact some of the things that hotels do that really annoy their guests.

Related Article: 5 Reasons Guest Leave Your Hotel Unhappy


#1 – Making it hard to connect to WiFi

It’s amazing how many hotels still cannot manage to make high-speed Wifi easy to access when you’re a hotel guest. In today’s world, no matter if guests are traveling for business or pleasure, one of the first things they’ll do is connect to WIFI when staying at a hotel. In today’s world, no matter if guests are traveling for business or pleasure, one of the first things they’ll do is connect to WIFI when staying at a hotel. [Tweet “Internet access is no longer a luxury, it’s a basic amenity that you need to get right.”]


  • Put the password, if there is one, ALL OVER THE HOTEL.
  • Be sure to put the instructions on how to connect and the password in the guest room.
  • Briefly, explain the process upon check in.

#2 – Citing policy and deflecting responsibility instead of solving the problem

If you work at the front desk, one of your key responsibilities is to try and find a way to solve each and every issue and/or problem that a guest may have. In the video example, I arrived at the front desk to explain that I had called the day before to request an early check-in as I was arriving before standard check in time. Instead of the front desk agent (Michelle) explaining that my room, unfortunately, wasn’t clean yet and offer to hold my luggage until check-in time, she scolded me on not reading the email confirmation that says check in was at 2 pm. In the next example, I have the same request but cited the person I spoke to (Tom) on the phone a day prior and Michelle just threw him under the bus and said that they never let anyone check in before 2 pm and again cited policy.


  • If you can’t allow me to check in because my room isn’t clean, then just tell me that and explain what other options are.
  • Offer to store guest luggage until your room is available for check-in.
  • If the guest room is clean/available for check-in before the standard time, offer the ability to check in early for a nominal fee or just allow you to check-in for free.
    • Hotels that are very busy usually have more strict check-in policies/fees to allow the necessary amount of time to properly clean each room for the next guest’s arrival.

#3 – Not making eye contact with guests checking in

I can understand that the process of checking in guests is a very monotonous part of working at a hotel and the repetition can be quite boring at times. However, in a world that is increasing digital, a warm and friendly smile with a genuine greeting can really go a long way in helping to built brand loyalty for hotels. Whether the guest is staying with you for the first time or they’re a frequent traveler, the first interaction at a hotel can set the mood and experience for the guest’s entire stay.


  • Try to ask unique and different questions to guests upon their check in instead of the standard, “how was your flight?” or “have you stayed with us before?”.
    • If you know the guest has arrived at your destination via a plane, ask them “Are you a window or isle kinda guy?”
    • Upon check in ask, “Is there anything I can do to make your stay more enjoyable”, but ONLY IF YOU MEAN IT.
    • Make eye contact when you ask questions and practice active listening to show your just not going through the motions.

#4 – Not actively acknowledging the guests who walk in

Many times I arrive at hotels and the FD agent is on the phone. Whatever, it’s not big deal and part of their job. It becomes annoying when they can’t acknowledge that I’m waiting or act like I’m an inconvenience to them.


  • Just make eye contact and mouth the words “I’ll be right with you” or even a small head nod acknowledging that you the guest is waiting.
  • Treat the guest as you would if they were a guest coming to your home.

#5 – Getting put on hold immediately after someone answers the phone

This is my #1 pet peeve when calling any business. “Hello…can you please hold, Click…” Why even ask the question or answer the phone if you weren’t going to take a second to listen to my reply? If the other call you were on was so important that you can’t wait the 2 seconds it take me to reply to your question, then you probably shouldn’t have answered my call in the first place and sent me to leave a message.


  • If you have to place a caller on hold, at a bare minimum, wait for the caller to respond or say “Ok, I’ll hold” before you immediately place them on hold.
  • This annoyance is 100% avoidable and should be a standard for telephone etiquette trained to all employees who handle guest calls.
  • Always allow the caller to respond to your request and then apologize for the wait when you are able to return to their call before helping them further.

#6 – Giving guests a different room than the one they originally booked

If you’re traveling alone, the difference between one king or two queen beds isn’t a huge issue, but if you’re traveling with a work colleague, the likely is. If you’re traveling as a family with children then it can cause real issues as well. I’ve had a hotel try to charge me for an upgrade to a Suite as they had overbooked Standard rooms and the only remaining rooms available were Suites. I politely told then to go fly a kite and explained in the nicest way that it’s not my fault that the room I booked and paid for was not available and in no way was I going to pay to upgrade to a Suite. If at any time, the room type that was booked by a guest becomes unavailable, you need to do everything in your power to ensure the guest experiences the least amount of discomfort. Even worse is when a hotel checks you in and puts you in a different room without asking. If you’re going to place a guest in a room that is different from what they booked, you MUST advise them during the check-in process.


  • Most guests if traveling alone are fine to switch from a king to a queen or a queen to two twin beds. If that option isn’t available, it’s the hotel’s responsibility to either upgrade them to a higher room category or Walk the guest, whichever is easier for the guest.
  • Address any potential issues of room availability with the guest BEFORE sending them to a room.
  • Customer service is the new marketing. It’s much better to keep a customer happy by giving them a free upgrade which has negligible additional costs rather than trying to move them into a lower category room or walking them to a different hotel.

#7 – Not knowing any information about your local area

If you work at a hotel and interact with guests, you need to be the local Sherpa for your location. You need to know the best pizza place that delivers to the hotel, have the 24-hour dry cleaner on speed-dial, and knowing the best place for a family of 6 to go to dinner is crucial. Nothing is more frustrating than going to the front desk and getting blank stares when you ask for the closest coffee shop or directs to the convention center.


  • Design cheat sheets that can be prepared in advance with the answers to the top 10 questions your front desk team is asked.
  • Make copies readily available at the front desk to hand out to anyone who has questions.
  • Bonus points if your hotel GM builds a relationship with the local pizza place or dry cleaners to negotiate a referral bonus.
    • For example, for every 50 pizza orders delivered to your hotel, the staff receives five free pizzas for a lunch party.

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