Hotel Hell: What to do if you end up in one

Hotel Hell: What to do if you end up in one

By: Heather Jabusch

Most people realize that hotel pictures on the web are photo shopped, even if it is replacing the window view with a more aspiring scene. The point is what you see is not always what you get. Hotels will not update that they now have stains on the carpet, old and worn linen, rusty tubs, or broken elevators. A great way to avoid surprises like these, is to read the reviews by recent guests on sites like as well as finding out when then hotel was built and when the last renovations were. If you see more than one or two comments that concern you, then call and ask to speak to a manager. Let them know your apprehension and ask if these are still current issues at the hotel. This gives management a heads up that you are aware of any short comings that they may be going through and are not willing to endure them. Also, be sure to write down the manager’s name that you spoke with. This way, should anything happen during your stay, you know exactly whom to contact, and if that person is not available, ask for the next in command. The director of sales is a great contact, as they are the one selling the hotel and often have more time to assist you.

Psycho 1960

Your hotel may not be this bad, but it doesn’t take much to ruin your stay

One of the biggest mistakes guests make is waiting until they get home after a stay to contact management about a complaint. As a hotelier, with a 100% satisfaction guaranteed policy, you must give us the opportunity during your stay to fix the issue(s). The first thing I do after check in is inspect my room thoroughly. Simply pull back the bedspread and inspect the sheets and pillow cases to make sure they are not stained, dirty, or torn. Then, I head to the bathroom, to make sure the facilities are acceptable. If anything is not to your standard, call the front desk immediately and tell them (again, making note of the person you spoke with, date, and time). Usually, they will either have housekeeping or maintenance come correct the situation. If this is not available, then ask to be moved to a new room. Not all rooms are the same! In design, yes, but if the air conditioner is dripping, a toilet is running, a bad odor, or you are hearing noises from the elevator; a new room will fix these concerns.

Should the problems not be fixed within a decent time frame (approximately 2 hours), and you find yourself in hotel hell, call the front desk and ask to speak to management because your room is unacceptable. If you cannot reach the general manager/assistant manager, nor get a return call, then contact the brand corporate office and inform them that you are unhappy with the services. Make it clear that you are not comfortable spending the night in this hotel and request to have your reservation moved to a different hotel. Corporate will open a customer care case that is sent to the general manager’s email informing them of the situation. Most hotels have, or can, create accounts with other area hotels and will walk guests if they are oversold or cannot satisfy the guest (paying for the first night). After all, this is the hospitality industry.

Another way to get the hotel’s attention is to go down to the lobby to discuss the issues where other guests checking in might hear. In no way am I suggesting you to be rude or obnoxious as this will get you kicked out of a hotel with no empathy. State your issues and request to be moved to another hotel that is in better condition. While you are waiting, I would start calling the area hotels and see what their rates and availabilities are. This way you are already aware of your options and can possibly suggest a comparable hotel that you would like to try and will not accept a false statement that nothing is available. Hotels have to take their grading very seriously, as they can lose their flag over poor customer service. So, always give them your email address when making your reservation, as you will often receive a survey via email after your stay from the brand. Then, also write a review of your experience on a reputable site, such as to warn others away from this hotel.

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  1. Anni Bricca says:

    I love this. I really recommend people read all the hotels policies before arriving! You can turn a bad situation around very quickly in most cases if you know the ground you stand on. No need to have a ruinous time on your own dollar. Thanks for writing this – loved it and LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo!

    • Heather Jabusch says:

      Thank you Anni, you are correct. It amazes me to hear what people will go through, when a phone call can often provide a quick solution.

  2. Jessica R says:

    Great tips! Will be using them on my many travels!

  3. Ann Zuccardy says:

    Always follow the golden rule and treat others as you’d want them to treat you. 99% of the time, hotels have gone out of their way, in my experience, to remedy problems when I approach them with compassion, humor and courtesy. Good article!

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