Most travel now is leisure travel, since so many businesses are working remotely and few are requiring employees to take trips (and for many, there are no clients to visit since client offices aren’t operating at full capacity either).
That also means that travel is optional. If the travel experience isn’t good, why go through the hassle especially considering limitations on activities that may be in place at your destination or testing that’s required? And if hotels aren’t going to offer service, how do they differentiate themselves from Airbnb?
I find that researching trips now is different than it used to be. I can’t just rely on hotels that I know by reputation, or by brand. I need to read recent guest reviews to see,
- if they’re actually offering housekeeping
- whether they answer the phone for requests
- what amenities are actually available on property
- the extent to which promised cleaning happens, rules like distancing and masking are enforced
- how elite benefits are being honored, if at all
Some hotel websites have this information but I’ve found it isn’t always accurate – in fact, a hotel may tell their chain one thing and do another.
One of the first stays I cancelled last year at the start of the pandemic was at Hyatt’s Confidante Miami Beach. So I had a look at recent guest reviews, thinking about making a trip. How do these sound to you for a beach getaway?
they have cut back on service to the rooms to every three days. even after requesting daily service, it did not happen. We were unable to get anyone at the front desk to address the issue by telephone, and a texted request was finally answered on the morning we were checking out. Throughout our stay we had to go floor to floor looking for cleaning personnel in order to obtain clean towels and soap after we ran out. Trips to the front desk were necessary to obtain cups, water bottles, coffee for the in room coffee maker. In general, the little amenities for which one stays at a hotel rather than an airbnb were lacking. Our tv remote was nonfunctional. There was a bandaid from a prior guest stuck to the bathroom floor at check in.
The toilet was not clean upon check-in to my room. The lights were flickering. Phone handset not working. Safe was not working.
When we checked into our room (ocean front with a lounge deck) the room had been cleaned (bed was made, fresh towels, etc) but when we went to the deck, there was dog poop on the carpet by the slider so we sidestepped the mess and found more poop on the deck. …When we called the front desk they said they would be right up – but after an hour we left to get out of the room and asked the front desk if there was another room but they were full.
If I’m going to go to a hotel on the beach – and this property was highly regarded – I expect to be able to get towels pretty easily – whether at the pool, for the beach, or my shower. I expect that calls are answered and requests followed up on. And I certainly expect a room to be clean.
Hotels have cut back, often under the guise of Covid-19, but it’s time to start investing in service, not to mention maintenance. Or else what’s the point?
I warned hotels last summer that making stays less attractive would mean fewer guests return. Guest expectations for hotels have changed but they need to deliver on full service or else they’re just a commodity (room to sleep) and an optional one right now at that.