6 Tips for Making a Complaint at Your Hotel or Hostel

It’s Okay to Make a Complaint

Sometimes things go wrong while you are on your travels and your accommodations don’t live up to your expectations. In this situation, you don’t have to grin and bear it — you can mention it to the staff and hopefully improve your situation. However, in order to get the best results when you are making a complaint it is important to approach the situation in the right way.

Here are some valuable tips for how to make a complaint.

1. Stay Calm and Positive

You will have a much better chance of getting a good response when making a complaint if you approach the staff in a calm and positive way.

If you are angry and hostile they will be less likely to want to help you and the situation might escalate. When you approach them in a friendly way they will feel respected and will want to work with you to ensure you are happy.

2. Consider Whether It Is Worth Complaining About

The truth is that every little issue at a hotel or a hostel is not worth complaining about. Your stay won’t be perfect, so it is important to let little things slide if you can — otherwise you will spend all of your travel time complaining. Save yourself the stress and pick your battles.

For example, if there is a candy wrapper on the floor underneath the bed of your hotel room this is not really cause to complain — the cleaners just missed a small detail, so either ignore it or pick it up yourself. However, if the room is very unclean and the sheets have not been changed, this can be a valid reason to make a complaint.

3. Get Evidence

Is there mold in the shower or a cockroach in the sink? Were you served undercooked chicken when you ordered room service? Take a photo of it! Having photo evidence is very powerful and it will ensure you are not accused of exaggerating or making things up.

Also, these days any hotel and hostel guests have a lot of power when it comes to reporting problems on review websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. The hotel knows you could post those photos online, so they will do their best to avoid that happening.

Don’t threaten in an antagonistic way, but if your complaint is not dealt with very well you do have the right to post a true account of your experience.

4. Figure out What Solution Would Satisfy You

Before you make a complaint, you should have an idea in mind for what solution would make you happy. You should be realistic about this when making hotel complaints — a good hotel/hostel will refund you for services you didn’t receive, but most will be unlikely to offer you a free stay if there was one small issue with the room.

What do you think is a reasonable response to your issue? Do you want compensation for the inconvenience caused and if so, how much? Make a fair and reasonable request and then you can negotiate from there.

5. Raise Your Complaint at the Right Time

Do it as soon as the issue arises, not later when you are checking out, as this gives the staff a chance to actually do something about it. Also, if the front desk is very busy you might want to wait until another time as the staff will have less time to respond to your complaint.

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6. Ask for the Manager

Sometimes when you are making a complaint to the receptionist on the front desk they don’t have the power to solve the problem. They are not authorized to give discounts, offer you a free room service voucher, or change your booking to a different room.

Don’t get too frustrated with the front desk employee; usually they would like to help you but their hands are tied and they would get in trouble for overstepping their authority.

If this is the case, don’t hesitate to ask for the manager. They will have much more decision-making clout and will usually be able to make the solution happen. If they cannot, ask for the contact details of the next highest in command and continue up the company hierarchy until you find someone who can help you.

Keep these six tips in mind so you can have more success the next time you make a complaint at your hostel or hotel. With the right approach, the complaint can be dealt with in the least stressful way possible so you can find a resolution and get back to enjoying your travels.

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