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Common lodging complaints and problems

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Common lodging complaints and problems

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The following is a list of common problems a guest at a hotel, motel, or other place of lodging may encounter. These situations are generally not pleasant, and in severe cases, may ruin one's vacation. The likelihood of them can be reduced if one reads hotel reviews prior to making a decision to book a lodging facility or asks to see the place prior to checking in.

Historically, lodging facilities have easily been able to get away with neglecting their properties and mistreating their customers because often they do not get repeat customers, since many people will only travel to a location once. But that is changing. The reviews provided on the internet in modern times has given all such establishments with an incentive to offer quality accommodation because those that give bad service are likely to receive negative reviews and therefore lose business.

Employee behavior[edit]


Staff is rude to customers who seek them for their expected duties. Some staff members are rude to all. Others treat certain guests with disdain due to their personal prejudices of certain groups of people or an individual.

Rudeness may range from the outright refusal to help or serve the guest who has a rightful expectation to the service to sheer coldness while at the same time performing his/her duties.

In some most extreme cases, staff members may be quite demeaning and treat guests like criminals, all when they have done nothing to deserve it. The worst thing the guest has done is to be a customer and provide them with money with the expectation of reasonably good service. If this is the case, the guest has done nothing wrong, regardless of what the staff makes one think. It is purely the staff's wrongdoing.


Employees perform duties unprofessionally or not in the manner expected. The result is substandard service in a variety of possible ways. Examples may include poorly performed monetary transactions, rooms not serviced to expected standards, or a variety of other problems.


Guest is mistreated or in some cases completely denied accommodation due to their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or social class, to name a few. In not all such cases will staff admit to this, especially where such discrimination is illegal. They may cover it up with some other excuse, such as "we don't have any rooms" or "we don't take people with noisy children." Or they may quote an inflated price that they know will lead the prospective customer to voluntarily decline services.

Invasion of privacy[edit]

You expect the housekeeping service to clean your room and make your beds up. You do not expect them to snoop unnecessarily. And unfortunately, there are some nosy hotel workers out there. And while their intents can be criminal, this is not always the case. Regardless, you feel violated.


False advertising[edit]

Property does not live up to what it has been advertised to be. Includes jacked up pricing, the lack of amenities ads or booking sites stated it has, or pictures that deceptively give a nicer appearance than reality.


The guest is charged more than s/he was quoted in advance for the stay. Can occur through hidden charges or "incidentals" not quoted in the original price, forced upgrades, the charging of a "security deposit" followed by the refusal to refund it, or false or exaggerated claims of damage for which the guest is blamed and forced to pay, to name a few.

Theft of belongings[edit]

Personal belongings of guest missing. This can occur if stolen by an employee who has access to the room (e.g. housekeeper) or a non-employee who burglarizes the room via forced entry or opportunity. Though not common, this can be prevented by locking valuables in safe (if provided), hiding valuables where unlikely place to be found, or taking them with you when you leave room (though this may place items at risk for theft while outside room).

Dishonored coupons[edit]

A coupon has been made available to the potential customer prior to arrival that makes the price attractive. But upon arrival, the clerk makes an excuse not to honor the coupon. Often, the customer will stay anyway because they don't feel like looking for alternative accommodation.

Denial of refund[edit]

You are rightfully owed a refund for services for which you have paid but not received. Either management tells you a firm no. Or they say they will at a later time, or after certain conditions are met. They continually give you the runaround. The plan is that they will wear you out until you give up.

The refund may be your legal right, and they may know that too. But fighting it may not be easy because you may not know who to contact for enforcement on your behalf, or this may require a court battle that is too costly or too impractical if you live far away.

Property quality and condition[edit]

Dirty room[edit]

The room, or parts thereof, are shy of being immaculately clean, and can appear disgusting to the guest. This may include the floor or carpet, the wall, the upholstery, the linens, the bathroom, or the kitchen facilities, just to name a few.

Unpleasant odors[edit]

The room exhibits an unpleasant smell to the guest.

Often, the room smells like cigarette smoke, which is unpleasant for a non-smoker. Separate smoking and non-smoking rooms are supposed to alleviate this problem, though properties vary in how good of a job they do at this.

Uncomfortable beds[edit]

The bed(s) are extremely hard, old, or otherwise uncomfortable to sleep on. The pillows are too hard, too thin, or worn. Or else the linens are made of an unpleasant fabric. This could affect one's ability to sleep well.


The room is infested with insects or rodents, commonly roaches or bedbugs.

Amenities not working[edit]

Many properties are sought for the amenities they include. But it can be frustrating when one or more of them are malfunctioning. No one likes to have an air conditioner that does not work on a hot day, or wifi that simply will not connect.

Deteriorating facility[edit]

The building or the room within are falling apart, and have not been well maintained. Some examples are excessive peeling paint or wallpaper, a leaking ceiling, dripping pipes, rust or mold, broken windows, or loose tiles, to name a few.

Unsavory guests[edit]

One or more, sometimes a significant number of guests staying at the property, are a nuisance because of their behavior, and their presence can be bad enough to ruin one's stay. Some of these behaviors can include racuousness in common areas, playing loud music or TV, public drunkenness, illicit drug usage, drug sales, and prostitution, just to name a few, all while management is apathetic to this activity.

Quality of area[edit]

Sometimes, the surrounding area can be the problem more than the facility itself. In a way, this is not the fault of the management. But it is the owner who chose to open a property in such an area, so in theory, they are responsible.

Crime ridden area[edit]

Area is filled with crime, including drug sales, prostitution (where illegal), theft, or even worse, violence. This puts the guest at unease.

Be sure to judge an area by what truly factually occurs there, not the race or ethnicity of the people who live there. The color of one's skin or one's nationality are not what define someone as a criminal.

Noisy area[edit]

Areas can be noisy for a variety of reasons. This could include heavy volumes of traffic, railroads, factories, or airports, just to name a few. In urban areas, noise is a part of life. Some urban dwellers are used to this and view it as a fact of life. For others, this may be the cause of quite a lot of unease.

Dirty area[edit]

Area has large amounts of pollution affecting air quality. This may make it hard for some, especially those with allergies or lung diseases, to breathe.


Mishandled reservation[edit]

You make a reservation, expecting to check in hassle free. You may even have paid in advance for your reservation. But when you arrive, you are told there are no rooms for you. Equivalent to being bumped from a flight, except that you receive no compensation.

Unexpected eviction[edit]

You plan to stay longer. You haven't paid yet, but you have the money and are willing to. But management tells you a firm no. Your lease is not being renewed for no apparent reason. You don't know what you've done to deserve it, and the manager won't tell you why either. You are now left out in the streets to fend for yourself and find other arrangements. This is common with extended stay and living facilities.

Even worse, you have paid for some upcoming accommodation, but likewise, you have been told you cannot return. And the management refuses to give a refund, saying it is their policy, no refunds. And getting one will not be easy if it is possible at all. Perhaps the management tells you they will be refunding you, but puts it off and gives you the runaround for so long, that they wear you out until you give up. This is their plan.

Safety issues[edit]

Property does a poor job of making its guests feel safe and secure as they should. This may include the lack of fire protection, weak locks on the doors, low security of the facility altogether, water or electrical problems, or falling hazards, to name a few.

See also[edit]