What makes for a bad night at a hotel?

A poor hotel experience is no laughing matter but a new survey turned up some notable write-in responses highlighting the cause of some very bad nights.

These include: a skunk outside, a window falling out, hordes of roaches, police searching for someone in the hotel, bats, the feeling of being in a brothel, padlocks on the outside of the doors, unsavoury patrons, and rooms being switched while at dinner. A surprising nine percent of write-in responders claim to have had a bad night because their room was haunted.

Private research company Qualtrics recently undertook this survey, questioning over 1000 hotel guests to determine which factors most improved or diminished their hotel stay, and the results might surprise you.

According to Bill Murray, Qualtrics managing director Asia Pacific and Japan, “66 percent of respondents said dirty rooms are the main cause of negative hotel experiences, while 65 percent said that wifi helped make a hotel experience more positive.”

Conducted in April 2017, the survey determined that wifi is highly linked to a positive hotel experience, with guests valuing free internet access over a quiet room, free parking and even free breakfast. However, this doesn’t mean guests don’t value a good deal, with the feeling of overpaying being another cause for a negative hotel experience. 82 percent of guests checking out think that they overpaid for their stay, and guests who stay in a 5-star hotel are four times more likely to feel this way.

Negative experiences can often lead to poor online reviews, but research shows that guests are more likely to request a room change or complain to the manager about a problem than they are to post a negative review about the problem. This being said, the survey also showed that guest reviews expose the hotels that provide poor experiences and reward hotels that do better. 67 percent of guests said that they read guest ratings and reviews when deciding which hotel to stay in, while 57 percent searched hotel websites and 43 percent got recommendations from friends and family.

Hotel amenities are obviously important to guests, with many saying that on-site dining and parking are the most important hotel amenities. 86 percent of guests think that on-site restaurants are important, while 83 percent value parking and 68 percent value a pool and spa. The least important hotel amenities include a business office, gym and on-site bar, with men being 71 percent more likely than women to think that an on-site bar is of importance.

In terms of hotel rooms, a first impression is of upmost importance, with the survey indicating that the cleanliness, room size and smell need to be right the moment guests arrive. 45 percent of guests said that cleanliness is the first thing they notice upon entering a hotel room, with 20 percent paying attention to room size, 17 percent to smell, five percent to bed quality and another five percent to the view.

Service to rooms, at reception desks or in terms of hotel transportation can also heavily impact a guest’s impression of a hotel, whether it’s in room, at the reception desk or in hotel transportation. The Qualtrics survey indicates that most guests are pragmatic in the services they need at a hotel and value practical, not premium, services. When asked what hotel services are most important, the highest ranked responses included room service, transportation shuttle and a concierge, while the least valued services included valet parking, the turndown service and spa services.

With 57 percent of guests attributing unfriendly employees to their negative experience, staff training is also key to hotel success and happy guests. Consider the level of service you offer, the expectations of your guests, and focus on areas of importance to give guests the best possible experience.

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