The biggest bugbears for hotel guests – from unhelpful staff to weak water pressure

Top hotel bugbears include unclean rooms upon arrival, overly formal or unhelpful staff, and weak shower pressure.  

A study of 2,000 adults who have stayed in a hotel in the past three years uncovered the annoyances when staying away from home and more than half put uncomfortable beds at the top of the list.  

Also featured were housekeeping coming into the room unannounced or having a rubbish view. 

If guests were to experience any of these bugbears, 59 per cent would not stay in the specific hotel ever again and 52 per cent would tell their family and friends.   

The study was commissioned by IHG Hotels & Resorts’ voco hotels brand and also revealed what guests would want from a hotel stay in an ideal world, with nine in 10 naming 'great service' as important.   

Almost half feel an approachable and personalised service is more important than ever following the pandemic and 48 per cent are craving connection and interaction more during their travels compared to previously.  

Nearly half (46 per cent) would like to be able to talk to staff, and vice versa, in a friendly, conversational manner rather than overly formal.  

And many would like some more unexpected services offered, including in-room afternoon tea (24 per cent), customized itineraries (17 per cent) and even a babysitting option (nine per cent).  

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Will Yell, spokesperson for voco,  said: “It’s interesting to see what aspects of a hotel stay can get on a guest’s nerves – as well as what they’d want in an ideal world. 

"From features in rooms to how hotel staff act towards them, all play a part in influencing guest’s experiences.

“The study shows that cleanliness and other basics rank highly, but people also care immensely about how they are approached during their stay and want to ensure they feel comfortable – both physically and in themselves.  

“Every hotel has a different service style, and we pride ourselves on our unique hosted service which aims to give people what they want from a stay and personalised offerings for each individual.”  

Informed by the survey data, voco hotels will roll out new turn up service rooms at select hotels in the UK.  

Instead of turning down beds, the turn up service rooms, bookable for a limited time, will offer a touch of the unexpected for guests, with possible perks set to include in-room mixologists and unique dining, a packing and unpacking service, or in-room spa treatments and fitness options. 

The study also found that 44 per cent of those polled want to be valued as an individual when staying in a hotel and 37 per cent feel it’s important for hotel workers to connect with guests. 

Friendly service topped the list of things that would make people likely to rebook with a hotel brand – beating nice food, an easy check-in service and nice décor.  

And seven in 10 polled via OnePoll said a high-quality service is the most important factor for them when finding somewhere to stay.  

People want to feel comfortable (61 per cent), relaxed (58 per cent) and valued (45 per cent) when staying in a hotel and similarly believe staff should be friendly (68 per cent), approachable (67 per cent) and calm (42 per cent).  

Will added: “Just like travel has changed, consumers expectations have too. With nearly half of travellers stating they want to be valued as an individual, a one-size-fits-all approach to hotel service no longer resonates with travellers.  

“And while service is one of the most important elements that makes voco hotels so unique, we’re also known for doing things a little bit differently.  

“So rather than turning down beds, we’re turning up our hosted service to enhance our guest’s stays and deliver unexpected offerings that meet the needs of today’s travellers.” 

Top 30 hotel bugbears according to guests

1.            Uncomfortable bed 

2.            Unclean room upon arrival           

3.            Noisy guests       

4.            Mould around the bath or shower            

5.            Thin walls so you can hear everything in the next room   

6.            Uncomfortable pillows  

7.            Weak shower pressure  

8.            Unhelpful hotel staff      

9.            Being charged for extras e.g. extra tea bags, extra toilet roll, in room beverages etc           

10.          Faulty key card  

11.          Hotel staff who don’t use basic manners

12.          Housekeeping coming into the room unannounced          

13.          A long and complicated check in process               

14.          No TV in the bedroom   

15.          Lack of cleaning from staff during the stay            

16.          Unapproachable hotel staff         

17.          No light switch next to the bed  

18.          Unable to contact staff when needed

19.          Not enough milk for tea or coffee             

20.          Lack of plug sockets        

21.          A rubbish view  

22.          Not enough tea or coffee in the room         

23.          No plug socket next to the bed 

24.          Hotel staff who don’t smile          

25.          Unsustainable hotels e.g. plastic bottles of water, lack of recycling bins, plastic cups in rooms etc                 

26.          Complicated air conditioning       

27.          Housekeeping not making the bed daily 

28.          No hairdryer provided   

29.          An ‘all in one’ shampoo and body wash rather than individual toiletries   

30.          No welcome treat upon on arrival e.g. coffee, biscuits, cookies  

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