You may be staying at a hotel for business or for a vacation. Either way, you expect your stay to be pleasant and the staff to be accommodating. But what do the staff expect of their guests? And what actions could you be taking that hotel staff are secretly judging you for?
We spoke with hospitality professionals to find out about the guest behaviors they judge the most. From their responses, we discovered these seven things you’re doing that may be raising eyebrows among hotel staff.
1. You ignore the safety instructions
Matt, curator of The Travel Blogs and a former receptionist at The Whitehouse hotel, told The Cheat Sheet what truly annoyed him about some guests he dealt with.
While working as a receptionist in a large London hotel [with] over 500 hundred bedrooms, the fire alarm went off … all the guests [had] the same idea, [to] call reception and find out what’s happening. [With] 300 calls all coming in at once, they’re not all going to be answered, and all the guests do is panic thinking there is no one at reception.
When staying at a hotel, know what to do in the event of a fire. The staffs’ job is to get the guests out. The longer they hang around, the more dangerous it is for everyone. The only thing to light up that evening was my switchboard.
- Our advice: Pay attention to fire exits and evacuation procedures, usually located in all rooms or posted in elevators. If you have safety concerns, contact reception at your convenience (rather than in the face of a potential emergency) to receive further instruction.
2. You flaunt your Rewards status
Many hotels have programs to reward frequent guests. In fact, Hilton, Marriott, and Wyndham Rewards programs are known for their award-winning customer service and benefits. However, just because you are a Rewards member, doesn’t mean staff won’t notice when you expect royal treatment.
“It’s annoying when Rewards members proclaim their status loudly and expect to get special treatment beyond what their package entails. We’ll always give them what they ask for, of course, but if I was a Rewards member I’d probably be a bit more low key about it,” Natalie, a Food and Beverages Operations manager, told The Cheat Sheet.
- Our advice: If you’re gaining Rewards member status, check what benefits the status entails. Remember that while customer service is a staff member’s first priority, a low maintenance attitude on your part will go a long way.
3. You compare the prices to what you pay at home
New York City, known for its incredibly high food, drink, and lodging prices, is the most popular U.S. tourist destination, despite the cost. Laura MacLeod, a Human Resources expert and consultant, worked for several years as a server and bartender in a New York City hotel, and she told The Cheat Sheet her biggest gripe on the job.
My co-workers and I always found it annoying when guests would complain about the prices, comparing them to what they pay at home. “Where I live, beer is $2. Can’t believe you charge $8.” We would smile and say nothing, but we were thinking, “This is NYC, [it’s] more expensive than your town. Just let me know if you want the $8 beer. I have other guests to serve.”
- Our advice: Budget your trip ahead of time, and research the prices where you’re going. Anticipate that large, metropolitan cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are going to have significantly inflated prices compared to your hometown.
4. You’re passive aggressive on TripAdvisor
The beauty of online review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp is that they offer you honest advice from real customers. The sites may help you to choose a restaurant for dinner, pick the best deal at the bar, or make sure that your stay is exactly what the hotel promised. However, hotel staff have a bone to pick when faced with the power of TripAdvisor, as Matt explained.
It drives me mad that people will sit there and blatantly lie to your face. While managing a small country town hotel in the UK … guests checked out and when I asked how everything was, they replied, “fine.” The next day … [there was] a scathing review on TripAdvisor. Apparently the meal, room, and breakfast [were] all the worst they’d had, but they lied to my face and said everything was “fine.”
- Our advice: “Sometimes things go wrong, just give the hotel a chance to fix it, they always will,” said Matt. And he’s right; by being proactive and notifying hotel staff when something about your stay frustrates you, you give them the opportunity to fix it early on. This will make your visit more enjoyable and save them the scathing online review.
5. You try to dispute charges
Hotel costs can set your budget back significantly. Between room service, parking, Wi-Fi, and the irresistible hotel bar, your wallet may be empty by the end of your stay. However, being accountable for your charges while you’re living luxuriously is important; hotel staff, like Natalie, notice.
Hotels are expensive … with room charges, spending at the outlets, parking, etc. There will always be guests at check out [who] try to get out of all the charges … or try to dispute bar charges to their room when they were too drunk to remember and probably put the tab on their room. It’s frustrating for the staff, and playing dumb to charges we have on record isn’t cool.
- Our advice: Prepare for your trip by researching approximately how much the stay, parking, and other excursions will cost you. Next, set a budget for how much you’ll allow yourself to spend on extraneous hotel costs like drinks, room service, Wi-Fi, and spa amenities.
6. You don’t learn the customs of where you’re going (like tipping!)
“Another huge annoyance: People who don’t tip. Some say they don’t know the customs (they’re British and they don’t tip in most parts of Europe/U.K.). We would definitely judge this,” MacLeod told us. Natalie agreed, saying, “It’s crazy to me when guests complain about tipping or paying for valet parking … valet is rarely ever free.”
- Our advice: Whether you’re traveling in the U.S. or a foreign country, learn the customs. Avoid offending the residents of your destination country at all costs, and do your research ahead of time to ease your frustrations and theirs.
7. You don’t follow instructions
“Breakfast time is another time that seems to affect the guests’ mentalities. The most polite, charming people can [turn] into ravenous beasts when it comes to breakfast,” Matt commented. He encouraged guests to inquire before breakfast about the procedures for the meal.
Sometimes there will be a “Please wait to be seated” [sign], sometimes there may not [be], but never sit down and start tucking into the buffet without talking to someone first … when guests don’t let staff know they are there, they end up sitting at a dirty table. These servers could be looking after 200 or more people in a morning, [and] sitting at a dirty table will just make it seem like you are already being served; that’s when a guest will feel ignored.
- Our advice: The front desk staff is there to help; utilize them! Ask about breakfast and other meals and the appropriate procedures for them, and then follow those rules. The rules are in place to make sure your stay is enjoyable and help the staff work efficiently.
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