Holiday accommodation issues have the potential to completely derail your trip – if you let them. You might be of the mindset where you see your hotel or bed and breakfast room simply as somewhere to lay your head at night and can cope with most issues, but if you’re not, you’ve paid a lot of money or you’ve a family, or you’re facing something that is just not manageable, that’s a different matter. Here are the most common holiday accommodation issues and how to deal with them.
1. Disappointing Hotel
An unsatisfactory room allocation can usually be rectified by speaking to the hotel manager or package holiday representative right away, although you may have to grin and bear the room you've been given until something better becomes available. The important thing is to speak up and not suffer in silence when holiday accommodation issues arise. If the hotel itself and its services bear no resemblance to what was shown in the brochure, take as many pictures as possible or video the holiday accommodation issues that angered or disappointed you and ask for compensation. If you're forced to change hotels, because the hotel management won't rectify the problems, you'll need to write to either the hotel manager directly or to your package holiday provider, if that's how you booked your holiday, when you get home. Disappointing holiday hotels that were paid for by credit card are easier to deal with, as you can try to claim the money back with your bank when you return home. The amount will be "set aside" by the credit card provider until such time as both parties, you and the hotel, agree on adequate compensation.
2. Absence of a Bathtub
As chain hotels are trying to cram more and more travellers into their hotels, bathrooms are feeling the squeeze. If you arrived at your hotel only to find that the "full bathroom" promised by the brochure consists of only a tiny shower cubicle, you should speak to the manager and ask to be given a room that has the full bathroom facilities you expected to find. You would be within your rights to expect some form of compensation.
3. Housekeeping Issues
If your hotel room is dirty, or the sheets have not been changed, you obviously have reasons to complain about the hotel's poor housekeeping and should report the matter right away, so the hotel manager has a chance to rectify the hotel accommodation issues. Be polite and don't embellish or, heaven forbid, try to blame the coffee stain you left on the carpet on the housekeeping staff. It's usually best to ask for the General Manager rather than launch into a full scale complaint at the reception desk and where you're likely to get nothing but a tired nod from the night porter or receptionist. Should the hotel itself be unkempt and dirty in public spaces, you have every reason to complain. You are expected to sit and eat breakfast in public areas, so they should be spotlessly clean. If an initial complaint doesn't bring about the desired upgrade of cleanliness, you should try to get your money back when you return home.
4. Building Works Not Completed
Sometimes building works do overrun and are still in full swing when the hotel opens its doors to the new season of tourists. If building site noise is waking you up at unreasonable hours or dust pervades every nook and cranny of your room, speak to the hotel management or your holiday rep. You have grounds to expect compensation, if nobody mentioned building works prior to you booking your holiday. Take pictures of the works being carried out and make a note of all the times when building noise interfered with the enjoyment of your holiday. Upon your return home, make a written complaint to your package holiday provider, online trader or the hotel's general manager. Include all relevant copies of pictures/videos and keep copies for yourself.
5. Rude Staff
You may think it will make you feel better giving the hotel a bad review online after you return home, but you'll still be left with the bad memories and a spoilt vacation. Don't get into an argument with rude staff; report the matter right away to the general manager. Don't embellish the events, just state politely what occurred. Remember, there are usually CCTV cameras everywhere, so your own conduct will be on tape, as will be that of the member of staff who misbehaved. You might be offered some form of compensation, perhaps a complementary meal or an upgrade of your room, if you report the matter right away, rationally and calmly. If your complaints are not dealt with, ask for the email address of the general manager so you can write to the hotel after you get home.
6. Noisy Neighbors
The noisy party in the room next door should not keep you or other guests awake all night. It's up to hotel management to keep such situations in check. Complain right away and if no attempt is made to resolve the issue, keep a diary note of how often you were disturbed by the noisy guests on the same floor. When you return home, you have 28 days to complain in writing to the hotel or package holiday provider about the problems that spoiled your vacation. Set out in writing all the issues with holiday accommodation and how the hotel handled your complaint (or not). Be sure to include all relevant information, your hotel bill number and booking reference, holiday dates, accommodation costs paid, give a clear description of the problems and enclose any supporting pictures/videos/diary notes you have.
7. Special Requirements Not Adhered to
If you informed the holiday agent or online trader or hotel owner at the time of booking that you had special requirements, such as food allergies or needing ground floor accommodation because you are in a wheelchair or that you wanted to stay in non-smoking accommodation only, and these special requirements were ignored, you can expect some form of compensation. State clearly in writing what form of compensation you would expect (how much money or a free meal/holiday of your choosing). Enclose copies of all relevant information, pictures etc, and send your complaint by recorded delivery, keeping copies of everything for yourself. Also keep a record of everything that happens next for future evidence, should the unresolved issues with hotel accommodation end up in court.
No doubt you worked hard to save money for your vacation and it’s such a disappointment to find your holiday accommodation is not living up to your expectations. Don’t panic. Don’t let being upset overwhelm you because there’s usually a solution. You’ll feel better even if you have to waste a day sorting it out rather than putting up with it and going home with a memory of the worst trip ever. Have you ever been put in the holiday accommodation from hell?