Listen up tourism sector, here are seven things hotels get wrong consistently. As a former hotel employee and frequent traveller, I believe improvements are in order! If you’re wondering why Airbnb and similar are threatening your industry, it’s because you’ve rested on your laurels for far too long.
1. Tetchy over towel replacement
That little note saying that if you hang your towels up, the hotel will do their duty to the planet by saving energy and water through not replacing them. I cannot tell you how many times I have hung my towel up and yet it has still been replaced! Furthermore, don’t tell me it’s all about saving water and energy and then only supply disposable cups for me to drink out of – greenwashing much?!
2. Profligate packaging
In this day and age, individually packaged toiletries are a disgrace. Attractive, refillable pump packs of soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner are perfectly acceptable and do not produce the same disgusting amount of packaging waste. They can still be branded if there is a partnership with a particular skin care brand that needs to be promoted. One organisation is turning this around. The Global Soap Project, founded by Ugandan Derreck Kayongo (watch his TEDx Talk here) takes part used bars of hotel soap, recycles them with the help of their partners at Clean The World and distributes them to developing countries where soap is not available or affordable for locals. While this initiative is a fantastic trash to treasure story, the fact that the soap is discarded after minimal use in the first place is an opportunity to reduce waste.
3. Plastic Fantastic
The same goes for bottled water. Why not refillable glass bottles instead of plastic disposables, for inside hotel rooms? In the sun-soaked Maldives, the geographical isolation of the islands means that everything has to be transported in and out of the resorts by boat and seaplane. There is also very limited space in the archipelago for landfill. Maldivians know it is their stunning natural environment that draws tourists to the location, so protecting it is a priority. Therefore hotels like Reethi Beach Resort where I stayed, collect and filter water on site and packaged in reusable glass bottles for use throughout the island. There is no reason that the concept of reusable water bottles could not be applied in any hotel around the world.
4. Short Changed
On the opposite side of the coin, ladies, on what planet is one sanitary bag per day enough?? Biodegradable bags are available, so stop shortchanging us! Especially at THAT time of the month. Better still, ladies take the matter into your own hands and remove the need for sanitary bags altogether by investing in a menstrual cup. You’ll not only help save the planet but save yourself a tonne of money. I promise once you try one you’ll never look back.
5. Flabbergasted by faucets
Why do shower/bath taps need to be so complicated? I have to allocate an extra 10mins to every shower in a new hotel because of the insanely complicated way the faucet systems work. Then, I give my husband a demonstration to save him the time. I remember having this issue the first time I visited the U.S. in 2002 and the situation has not improved! It seems there has been a general shift to two-in-one designs, probably to save on plumbing. I found myself so befuddled by one Orlando hotel shower that I eventually had to admit defeat and call housekeeping. They couldn’t even give me instructions over the phone because there were various different systems installed across the hotel. They had to send someone to show me! Hotels – is this experience you want your guests to remember? Total frustration and embarrassment? I don’t think so.
6. Check out
Having grown up in Australia and worked in hotels there, I thought 10am check out was reasonable and normal. After a big night out, it would always be a scramble to maximise sleep and check out on time. Apparently, this mid-morning rush is completely unnecessary! Every other continent can manage to offer a noon check out, so what’s the deal Downunder?
7. Champagne taste on a beer budget
My final hotel pet peeve comes from my inner interior designer and I have found applies particularly to mid-range properties. Don’t try to furnish your hotel in an opulent, luxury fashion if you don’t want to spend the money on quality finishes! We see right through your chipped, faux wood veneer and badly installed fittings. Try an intentional minimalist look and invest in fewer furnishings so that your hotel won’t appear so cheap. Do it well or don’t bother!
Is there something about hotels that drives you bonkers, or you agree/disagree with the above, please leave a comment. If you’re a hotel that has these issues solved, then feel free to let us know!
Peace, love and inspiring travel,