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How to Handle Common Hotel Guest Complaints and Boost Satisfaction

Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Co-Founder & Head of Product
Learn how to effectively handle common hotel guest complaints, boost guest satisfaction, and improve your hotel's reputation.
How to Handle Common Hotel Guest Complaints and Boost Satisfaction

In the hospitality industry, delivering exceptional customer service is paramount to ensure guest satisfaction and loyalty. However, it's inevitable that hotel guest complaints will occasionally arise during their stay. As a hotelier, it's your responsibility to address these issues promptly and effectively. In this article, we'll explore common complaints in the hotel industry and provide tips on how to handle them gracefully, ensuring your guests leave with a positive impression.

How to handle hotel guest complaints?

Hotels and other hospitality businesses encounter numerous complaints on a regular basis. Aside from disrupting the overall workflow of your team, these complaints can be posted online as negative reviews which may be detrimental to your online reputation.

While there’s a wide variety of guest complaints that hoteliers face every day, we’ve compiled the top hotel guest complaints and how to resolve each one of them.


Poor Housekeeping: Keeping it Spotless

One of the most common hotel guest complaints pertains to housekeeping issues. Whether it's dirty laundry left uncollected, used cutlery in the room, or floors not properly cleaned, your guests have a right to expect a clean and comfortable environment. To prevent such complaints, ensure your housekeeping staff is well-trained and follows a clear set of instructions. Implement a detailed schedule for each task, and have supervisors cross-check their work.

screenshot housekeeping complaint tripadvisor
Housekeeping complaint from Tripadvisor.

How to handle guest complaints in housekeeping?

If a guest does complain about housekeeping, respond promptly with an apology and offer to rectify the situation. Sending a supervisor or housekeeping staff to address the issue immediately and providing a complimentary amenity as compensation can go a long way in resolving the problem.

Noisy Guests: Peace and Quiet for All

Handling complaints about noisy guests can be challenging. It's crucial to remember that your guests pay for a peaceful and relaxing stay. If one guest complains about another guest causing a disturbance, address the issue diplomatically.

screenshot complaint hotel construction noise
Complaint on a hotel’s construction noise.

Speak to the noisy guest politely, explaining the importance of a peaceful atmosphere for all guests. Offer to move them to a quieter room if necessary, and apologize to the guest who lodged the complaint. Your goal is to ensure everyone can enjoy their stay in a serene environment.

Uncomfortable Beds: Sweet Dreams for All

Complaints about uncomfortable beds, small beds, or insufficient beds are common, especially among business travelers and families. If the complaint seems genuine, consider switching the mattress. If that's not possible, provide extra pillows or blankets for added comfort. If the guest requests a room change and availability permits, accommodate their request.

screenshot tripadvisor complaint hotel beds rooms
Complaint about the rooms.

To prevent such complaints, make sure to clearly specify bed sizes and the number of beds in your promotional materials. Politely inform guests that this is what they've booked, but offer the option to upgrade to a larger room for an additional charge.

Slow or Inconsistent Service: Speeding Up Satisfaction

If your staff fails to respond to guest requests or doesn't address problems efficiently, it can lead to dissatisfaction. Start by apologizing for any inconvenience caused. Rectify the issue promptly and ensure a more capable staff member handles the guest's needs in the future.

screenshot complaint services and facilities
Slow service and problems on facilities.

How to handle guest complaints in front office?

Identify the root cause of the service issue and resolve it immediately. Offering a complimentary amenity or a discount on the guest's bill as compensation demonstrates your commitment to their satisfaction.

To learn more about guest satisfaction, read 9 Proven Strategies to Boost Hotel Guest Satisfaction: A Comprehensive Guide

Unfriendly Staff: A Warm Welcome for All

Rude or unfriendly staff can significantly impact a guest's experience. It's essential to hire well-trained staff with a positive attitude towards guest service. Guests should never feel like your staff isn't doing their utmost to assist them.

google reviews complaint guests not greeted properly
What happens when guests aren’t greeted warmly.

Address staff-related complaints with care. Avoid reprimanding employees in front of guests, especially when the validity of the complaint is uncertain. Instead, discuss the issue with the staff privately, listen to their perspective, and take appropriate action to avoid demoralizing or losing valuable team members.

Transportation Issues: Getting There on Time

Transportation complaints can include issues like missed airport pickups or shuttle delays. Apologize for the inconvenience and take immediate steps to resolve the transportation problem. Offer alternative solutions, such as calling another cab or arranging hotel transportation.

google review complaints on location
Location issues.

Maintain a comprehensive guest arrival schedule, ensuring that staff is aware of pick-up and drop-off requirements to minimize transportation glitches.

Lack of Amenities: Meeting Expectations

Before a guest arrives, thoroughly inspect the room to ensure all promised amenities are available and in good working order. Check the Wi-Fi connection, hot water availability, and any requested extra bedding or blankets. Ensure that breakfast or dinner services run smoothly.

google review screenshot complaint amenities and facilities
Lack of amenities and issues on facilities.

In case of complaints about inadequate or poor-quality food, apologize and offer complimentary meal coupons if the complaint is valid. If the complaint is unreasonable, politely offer additional food at an extra charge. Regularly inspect complimentary meals to ensure they meet the promised standards in your marketing materials.

Hidden Fees and Charges: Transparency Matters

Ensure that all charges are clearly mentioned on the tariff card and in reservation confirmations. Transparency is key to handling guest complaints about fees. If a complaint arises, show the guest that all charges were disclosed in advance.

screenshot booking review hotel prices
Booking review about hotel prices.

If the complaint pertains to additional amenity fees, offer a discount or waive the fee to maintain customer satisfaction.

Poorly Trained Staff: Learning from Mistakes

Trainee staff can inadvertently lead to guest complaints due to inexperience. Allocate non-critical tasks to new staff members and have experienced employees oversee their work. Regular training sessions and performance reviews help staff stay on top of their responsibilities.

screenshot booking complaint staff’s demeanor
Booking complaint on staff’s demeanor.

How do you handle customer complaints about employees?

When addressing complaints related to staff errors, apologize to the guest and offer a complimentary service or discount to make up for any inconvenience. Use these instances as learning opportunities for your staff to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

Unsafe Conditions: A Priority for Safety

Safety-related complaints should never be tolerated. Ensure all safety measures and precautions are taken seriously, and promptly address any complaints regarding fire alarms, security, or hygiene. If the complaint is valid, offer alternative arrangements, apologize profusely, and provide compensation. Investigate the root cause of the safety issue to prevent future incidents.

screenshot booking review issues on safety
Issues on hotel safety.

Remember, ensuring the safety and satisfaction of your guests is paramount for their return and positive recommendations. Take immediate action to rectify these complaints and improve your hotel's reputation.

Maintenance Issues: Keeping it Shipshape

Maintenance complaints about issues like malfunctioning air conditioning or leaking taps are avoidable with regular upkeep. Implement routine maintenance for rooms and appliances to prevent such complaints. If a maintenance issue does arise, apologize to the guest and send a staff member to rectify the problem immediately. Offer compensation in the form of coupons or discounts on future stays.

screenshot review about disappointing maintenance work
Review about disappointing maintenance work.

Check-in and Check-out Problems: Smooth Sailing

Guest complaints about check-in and check-out timings are frequent. To avoid these complaints, clearly specify the timings in your marketing materials. Politely inform guests that these are hotel policies and should be respected by all guests. For genuine emergencies, accommodate adjustments for a charge to discourage any misuse.

tripadvisor screenshot checkin and checkout procedures
Issues on check-in and check-out procedures.

Consider using a property management system (PMS) like Preno to streamline check-in and check-out processes, making them more efficient for both staff and guests. Furthermore, it’s highly recommended to include a guest feedback collection process in your checkout routine. Surveys and reviews can help your team pinpoint bottlenecks within your workflow that may affect guest satisfaction.

To learn how to incorporate surveys on your checkout process without disrupting a guest’s customer experience, read Gain Insights and Enhance Your Hotel Services with Guest Feedback


Parking Fees: Transparency from the Start

Guests who drive to your hotel may be surprised by parking fees. Avoid this common complaint by clearly stating in your brochures and website that parking is available at a charge. When guests book rooms, inquire about their parking needs and communicate the associated charges in advance. Mention parking tariffs on booking confirmations.

screenshot google review additional parking fees for guests
Additional parking fees for guests.

Lack of Privacy: Respecting Guest Wishes

Guests requesting privacy through "Do Not Disturb" signs or other means expect their wishes to be respected. Train your staff to never enter a room when the "Do Not Disturb" sign is on the door, unless there is an emergency or if it's absolutely necessary for safety reasons. Similarly, guests' personal details, like their telephone numbers and addresses, should be kept confidential.

issues of privacy in hotels screenshot tripadvisor review
Problems on privacy.

The violation of privacy can tarnish your hotel's reputation and can lead to legal implications too. Publicize your privacy policy to assure guests that their information and privacy are safe with you. Promptly address any complaints relating to privacy issues and take appropriate action.

Misleading Advertisements: Honesty is the Best Policy

Guests are easily frustrated when expectations, based on your advertising, are not met. Updated and accurate photos, clear descriptions of amenities, and authentic reviews should be a part of your ads to avoid a potential mismatch between guest expectations and reality.

google review screenshot issues on online booking
Issues on online booking.

If a guest complains about misleading ads, make sure to promptly investigate and make changes where necessary. Offering small compensations or apologies goes a long way in retaining guest trust and maintaining your reputation.

Elevator Issues: Keeping Things Moving

Guests expect hassle-free access to and from their rooms. When the elevator is out of order, apologize, and dispatch a maintenance team to fix it promptly. Offer assistance to guests on higher floors or provide them with a temporary room on a lower floor. Keep guests informed about the repair timeline and offer a complimentary amenity or a discount on their bill for any inconvenience caused.

screenshot elevator complaint google reviews
Elevator issues–functionality and cleanliness.

How will you respond to customer complaints quickly?

To respond to customer complaints quickly and effectively, you should follow these steps:

  1. Acknowledge the complaint: Begin by acknowledging the customer's concern. A prompt response shows that you value their feedback. You can use phrases like, "Thank you for bringing this to our attention."
  2. Empathize: Show empathy and understanding towards the customer's issue. You can say, "We understand how frustrating this situation must be for you."
  3. Investigate: Quickly look into the complaint to understand the details and determine its validity. If possible, involve the relevant department or staff.
  4. Apologize: Regardless of fault, offer a sincere apology for the inconvenience the customer has experienced. Apologies can go a long way in diffusing tension.
  5. Propose a solution: Provide a solution or compensation to address the complaint. This could be a discount, a room change, or any action that rectifies the situation.
  6. Follow-Up: After resolving the issue, follow up with the customer to ensure they are satisfied with the resolution and ask for their feedback.
  7. Document and learn: Document the complaint and its resolution for internal analysis. Use complaints as opportunities for improvement.

How do hotels handle complaints examples?

Here are two examples of how to handle guest complaints in your hotel:


A hotel guest, Mr. Smith, arrives late at a downtown hotel and is informed that his room isn't ready due to a housekeeping delay. The hotel quickly acknowledges his frustration, empathizes with his travel fatigue, investigates the delay, and offers an apology. They propose solutions, such as waiting with complimentary refreshments or upgrading his room once available, and providing a discount on his stay. The hotel maintains communication, ensuring a smooth room transition, and documents the incident for improvement.


A guest, Ms. Johnson, faces a room temperature issue during a winter stay. The hotel acknowledges her complaint promptly, expresses empathy, and dispatches maintenance to address the malfunctioning heating system. They offer a sincere apology, provide a portable heater and the option to change rooms with working heating. Communication is maintained, and once the issue is resolved, the hotel confirms a comfortable room temperature. They document the incident for internal analysis to prevent such issues in the future, ensuring guest comfort and satisfaction while upholding their service reputation.

Regardless of the issue, communication is paramount in addressing guest complaints. Fortunately, there are numerous AI solutions that can help you ensure an efficient communication process with your guests. Getting an AI writing assistant that will help you craft formal yet empathetic messages should be your top priority.

How do you handle customer complaints scripts?

While no template can accommodate all forms of guest complaints, here’s a simple response that you can customize based on the guest’s concerns:

Customer: I had a terrible experience at your hotel. The room was dirty, and the staff was rude."
Response: "Dear [Customer's Name],
We deeply regret the disappointing experience you had at our hotel. Your feedback is highly valued, and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you encountered. This does not align with our commitment to excellence.
We intend to rectify this situation promptly. Please allow us to investigate your concerns further, and we will take immediate action to address the issues you've raised. As a gesture of our commitment to improving your experience, we'd like to offer you a complimentary stay or a discount on your next visit.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and we look forward to making amends on your next stay.
Best regards, [Hotel Name]

Remember that each response should be tailored to the complaint of the guest. Using a generic script that doesn’t offer any solution to their specific concern may add fuel to the fire.

Write optimized and personalized responses to customer complaints with MARA

Responding to negative online reviews can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be with our AI Review Assistant of MARA. This intuitive tool is designed to ease your Online Reputation Management process, making it more efficient, personalized, and time-saving. It offers the best and most personalized AI for responding to and analyzing your guest reviews.

Streamlined Review Inbox

A streamlined Review Inbox is vital for mitigating the impact of customer complaints. Without it, crucial negative reviews may go unnoticed, significantly affecting your online reputation over time.

One of the key features of this tool is the Review Inbox. Your review inbox makes responding to reviews as simple as hitting "Generate reply" and clicking "Send". The Review Inbox connects to multiple review sources, including Google,, and Tripadvisor, giving you a panoramic view of all your reviews. And you can even configure review response automation: Why not allow MARA to automatically respond to simple reviews, like 5-star Google reviews with no text, ensuring you never miss a review? Daily notifications about new reviews keep you updated and in control.

MARA Review Inbox
Review Inbox for easier review management.

Review Analytics for insight management

Surprisingly, there's one major benefit to receiving online negative reviews and complaints: they provide authentic customer insights that can help you improve your operations.

To help you understand and analyze the multitude of reviews, the Review Assistant also incorporates Review Analytics. This provides actionable, easy-to-understand insights that are tailored exclusively to your business. With MARA, you can quickly get the gist of all your reviews without needing to read each one. The analysis is so detailed that you can find out about specific issues like "water in the pool is too cold" or "lack of vegan breakfast option”. These insights help optimize guest experience without requiring you to be a data expert.

MARA Review Analytics
Review Analytics for extracting authentic guest insights form online reviews.

The most personal response AI

MARA's AI isn't just about efficiency; it's about personalization too. The Brand Voice feature allows the AI to adapt to your tone, making sure your responses sound authentically you. Plus, with Smart Snippets, you can "teach" the AI how to respond to recurring praises or complaints. Your AI then incorporates this information into its responses, but always with different words, providing more personalized, relevant replies.

This review response assistant has quickly become a game-changer for over 2000 customers. Its promising capacity to elevate your overall rating, amplify response rates, glean insights from customer feedback and economize both time and money, is the reason behind its growing popularity.

Final Thought

Handling common hotel guest complaints promptly and empathetically is crucial for ensuring guest satisfaction and loyalty in the hospitality industry. Similarly, managing online reviews need not be overwhelming. With the appropriate software like our AI Review Assistant, MARA, you can streamline the process, personalize responses, and derive valuable insights from reviews. MARA is free for testing, requires no credit card, and can be fully operational in less than five minutes.

This post is part of our hero content series on “Hotel Guest Experience: A Deep Dive into Creating Memorable Stays".

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Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I prevent common guest complaints in my hotel?

To prevent common guest complaints, maintain clear communication about your hotel's policies and amenities. Train your staff to provide excellent service and regularly inspect and maintain your facilities.

What should I do if a guest complains about hidden fees?

If a guest complains about hidden fees, show them that all charges were mentioned in advance. Transparency in billing is key to addressing these concerns.

How can I handle maintenance issues in my hotel effectively?

To handle maintenance issues, apologize promptly and resolve the problem swiftly. Offer compensation to the guest and ensure that regular maintenance checks are in place to prevent recurring issues.

What is the best way to address noisy guests in my hotel?

When addressing noisy guests, speak with the disruptive guest politely and offer to move them to a quieter location if necessary. Always apologize to the complaining guest for any inconvenience.

How can I ensure my staff provides friendly and welcoming service?

To ensure your staff is friendly and welcoming, invest in their training and provide periodic evaluations. Encourage a culture of exceptional guest service.

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