Hotel Pet Peeve Survey: Guests Voice Dissatisfaction With Wi-Fi and Noise
By their very nature, frequent travelers tend to spend much of their time in hotels. While hotels do their best to provide a good living and working environment for their guests, they sometimes fall short and, when they do, they fail in ways that can be both inconvenient and uncomfortable for their guests.
Three years ago, in conjunction with FlyerTalk, the world’s largest travel community, we started to compile a comprehensive list of hotel-related pet peeves. Using the results, we then surveyed our readers with the goal of finding out what bugged them the most about their hotel stays. The results of each year’s survey, as well as extensive online discussion in FlyerTalk have guided us in constructing the ensuing surveys. As a result, we’ve been able to refine the list of peeves we present both in terms of eliminating some peeves that turned out to be inconsequential and refine and add new peeves, such as bathroom design (new this year) and noise (combining nearby room noise and hallway, elevator, gym and restaurant noise).
We then asked readers to rank these 15 carefully selected peeves based on which ones bothered them the most.
Over 1,300 readers participated in the survey and, in addition, the topic generated substantial discussion on FlyerTalk, where it garnered over 22,500 views and 300 responses. Readers and FlyerTalk members demonstrated very strong opinions and there was a clear consensus as to what irked many of them.
As we become more reliant on a virtual presence, it’s not surprising that the biggest pet peeves among our readers were tech-related. The number one pet peeve was expensive and/or slow Internet connectivity, while hard to reach or insufficient electrical outlets came in a close second. These two peeves occupied the top three rankings last year (in previous years, expensive Internet was separate from slow Internet).
Indeed, the message to hoteliers quickly became crystal clear: for business and leisure travelers alike, having a fast, reliable connection as well as plentiful outlets can make or break a hotel stay.
Comfort-related peeves followed. Not easily adjustable climate control moved from the number five position in last year’s poll to number three this year, and noise of any kind was fourth, the same position as last year. Insufficient water pressure or temperature followed as number five (up from number six last year), and unexpected fees (including resort fees), a pet peeve that debuted with this year’s survey, ranked sixth.
Insufficient or poor lighting, uncomfortable pillows, and drapes that let in too much light took the seventh, eighth and ninth positions (they ranked ninth, tenth, and seventh respectively last year). Poor bathroom design (including hard-to-reach toilet paper holders and showers that flood the floor) is a new peeve and rounds off the top ten list.
KEEPING UP WITH TECHNOLOGY
Over the past three years, we’ve accumulated a wealth of data as to what hotels are doing wrong, and each year it becomes clearer that what appear to be relatively small issues can have a major impact on guest satisfaction.
In 2011, the first year we conducted the Hotel Pet Peeves Survey, the results disclosed that many hotels seem unable to deliver what the guest is paying for, namely a quiet environment in which to work and sleep. Respondents to the survey gave hotels decidedly low marks when it came to providing quiet rooms and working Internet
Last year, high-tech peeves captured the top three positions, pushing a quiet and comfortable environment down to the fourth and fifth positions.
While peace and quiet are still important, there is no question that Internet- and electrical outlet-related issues, having come out on top two years in a row, indicate a shift in reader concerns. As technology becomes more ubiquitous in our daily activities, hotels can no longer expect guests to take a forced sabbatical, just because the hotel hasn’t kept up. Given that the average download speed in the U.S. is roughly 4.6 Mbps (and the U.S. was only number 12 in a worldwide survey of average Internet speed where Korea was number one with 16 Mbps), the traveler should be able to expect the same if not faster service in his hotel room. He should also not be expected to experience what Jonathan Spira recently did at the hotel in Seattle, where a hotel engineer climbed onto his freshly made bed in his work clothes to try to find an outlet behind the headboard for him.