image of hotel front office person dealing with multiple guest complaints

Imagine a guest arrives at your hotel, ready to have a memorable stay, and something doesn’t go as expected. What happens when you can’t meet their expectations?

NB: This is an article from TrustYou

The more prepared you and your staff are to handle guest complaints, the less likely a negative experience will damage your hotel’s reputation. Uncover the secrets to guest satisfaction and learn how to turn complaints into rave reviews.

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7 Frequent Guest Complaints in Hotels

In the hospitality industry, guest complaints are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t proactively prepare your staff for them. Some issues may be recurring, while others can be avoided by offering top-notch service.

The most common complaints are about the facilities, cleanliness, guest experience and service level. Only staff familiar with potential issues will be able to respond to or prevent problems, so let’s explore them in more detail.

Prices and Hidden Fees

No one likes to encounter hidden fees. That’s why price transparency is fundamental to guest satisfaction. You can avoid complaints by implementing rate parity, or consistent rates, across all your distribution platforms. That way, you can avoid hearing the common complaint “Your room was cheaper on”

Make sure to itemize different charges for maximum billing transparency. Communicate tourist taxes, added services, amenity pricing and any other sales tax. Ensuring your guests know what to expect reduces the chances of a complaint.


Noise complaints can be expected whenever many people share walls and communal areas. When guests are on holiday or traveling for business, they want to relax without being bothered by loud neighbors or passersby. At the same time, you wouldn’t want to compromise the “loud” guests’ comfort either.

What can you do to mitigate the situation? Try to encourage guests to keep the noise down with friendly signs throughout the hotel. You could also implement quiet hours from 10 pm to 8 am, encouraging guests to keep their voices down and refrain from listening to loud music or having visitors.

If you must intervene, acknowledge each guest’s rights and address them calmly and politely. Ideally, you can offer them an alternative space for socializing.

Slow Service

Always try to respond to service requests as promptly as possible. However, there will be times when a staff member forgets to deliver the requested towels. Or perhaps there’s a maintenance issue in the room, such as a leaky faucet. Untimely responses to service requests frustrate guests and may affect their perception of your hotel.

If the maintenance staff can’t solve the issue, consider giving guests another room. The general rule is to acknowledge the mistake, make the guests feel appreciated and apologize with a complimentary drink.

Q2 2023 Global Impact Scores 1

The latest TrustYou research shows that, globally, the category Service is most likely to bring higher hotel scores.

Check-in and Check-out

After a long flight, guests want to go straight to their hotel room, but sometimes, the room may not be ready for check-in. Prevent this issue by listing your check-in times on the website and pre-arrival communications. You could also ask for the expected arrival time to prioritize these rooms or offer early check-in as an upsell.

Want to keep track of check-ins and check-outs, manage housekeeping tasks and offer mobile check-in to speed up the process? A Property Management System like Mews is a great way to avoid hiccups in your operations while improving guest satisfaction.

Substandard Cleaning

Dirty towels, missing toilet paper rolls, bedding stains and insufficiently clean floors – these are some of the most common housekeeping complaints. Make a clear list of daily, weekly and monthly housekeeping tasks, and have experienced staff members supervise each room after cleaning.

Leverage your PMS to easily manage occupancy and get an overview of check-ins and check-outs. That way, you can manage human resources and call on reinforcements if necessary.

Disappointing Amenities

Sometimes, a complaint can’t be avoided, no matter what. Either the technology fails, or the guests aren’t happy with the amenities.

Each case will require different solutions, so make sure your staff has excellent problem-solving skills. If there’s an issue, send a technician to fix it. When guests complain about their sleep quality, offer extra pillows and blankets and show them how to adjust the room temperature.

Rude or Untrained Staff

A warm welcome upon arrival can do wonders for first impressions. But when guests face rude or untrained staff, it speaks negatively to your hotel’s reputation. The best thing to do is apologize for the rude staff and have an honest and upfront conversation with your staff afterward.

To avoid future staff-related problems, organize regular training and hire highly motivated team members who want to create the best possible guest experience.


We’ve looked at some of the most common guest complaints and how to handle them. Running a successful hotel requires you to focus on offering the best guest experience instead of putting out fires or lapses in service. Training will prepare your staff to handle any issue that might arise in a prompt, proactive and polite manner.

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