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-   -   How Annoyed Do You (or I) Have To Be (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-technology/1306882-how-annoyed-do-you-i-have.html)

Mike Rivers Jan 25, 12 7:17 pm

How Annoyed Do You (or I) Have To Be
 
, , , in order to ask to switch hotel rooms? (or even hotels)

I'm writing this now having just returned from a two week trip during which I stayed in 7 different hotels, a couple for 3 or 4 nights, a few for one night only. I know this is no big deal for the high flyers on expense accounts or even government per diem (which I suffered with for 35 years before retiring), but now I travel on my own nickel, of which there aren't a lot. I try to avoid the real flea bag hotels and stay in a lot of Comfort and Hampton inns - that's pretty much my standard nowadays.

So anyhow, maybe things are just getting worse or I had some bad luck on this trip, but I was really annoyed by too many little things that just shouldn't be as they were. And they're things that I don't discover until I've unpacked and settled into the room. These aren't things that are easy to take care of like I need more towels or hangers or softer pillows or another blanket or there's a burned out light bulb.

These are things like I have to run the hot water for several minutes before it gets hot, or I have to fiddle with the flush level on the toilet to get it to stop running, or the radio or coffee maker sucks, or the WiFi internet access is poor or gets spotty when the rooms fill up, or the wet bar sink where I make coffee drains slowly. Maybe tomorrow they can bring me another radio or maintenance can come around and pour in some drain cleaner, but I'll be gone by then. And if I pack up and switch to another room, will it be any better there? Will I find quirks that are the same, or different and just as annoying?

Actual annoyances (technical things, which is why I posted here):
  • Useless coffee maker (I posted another thread about this here and got some good suggestions). I've had some satisfaction here in the past by asking if they could find one of the older style coffee makers, but that's drying up. Maybe if I was paying $250/night for my room the manager would send someone out to Target and buy a $12 coffee maker for me, but not in a $75/night room.
  • Barely lukewarm water in the vanity sink (though the shower was OK)
  • Crummy Internet performance
  • Motion sensitive light switches that didn't work sensibly (I found these in three rooms this trip, all a little quirky). In one, when I got out of bed in the middle of the night to powder my nose, the light across the room near the front door turned on, and I had to turn on another light near the bed in order to see my way back after manually turning off the rogue light switch. And did the motion sensing light switch near the bathroom work when I needed it? Nooooo!
  • Hot and cold water faucets reversed in the sink - hot on the right, cold on the left. (does anyone think that the maintenance staff will ever fix this?)
  • Refrigerator makes a lot of noise. I don't need it so I just unplugged it, though once (not this trip) the freezer hadn't been defrosted in years and left a puddle on the floor - serves 'em right!
  • Shower head badly clogged - this is a no brainer for me. I learned a long time to bring my own and a pair of pliers to switch them out, but it's amazing how little water comes out of most of them.

And I could go on. None of these things bothered me enough to go to the trouble of switching rooms, but it sure did get annoying. Since I know that there's nothing that they can really do but give me a different room, particularly after 7 PM when maintenance and housekeeping have gone home, I didn't report the problems until I checked out, and of course I have no idea if they ever took any action or that the next guest in that room will have the same experiences as I did. They of course apologized, though none offered me a discount or a free night (so much for the 100% guarantee).

Am I just being too crotchety in my old age? Should I just expect to put up with stuff like this? What kind of little annoyance do you complain about, if any, and what's your record for satisfaction?

lovexylitol Jan 25, 12 7:55 pm


Originally Posted by Mike Rivers (Post 17888077)
[*]Useless coffee maker (I posted another thread about this here and got some good suggestions).

Everything else does not really happen alot to me, or at least I could live with. But this, almost always the coffee maker and cups, utensils are dirty, be it a low end inn type or downtown high end hotels (High end for me would be normal business hotels, so not that high end), especially in US. Of course it does happen anywhere in the world, but I think that consideration for these petty(?) details are one virtue many hospitality services around here are missing.

cordelli Jan 25, 12 8:53 pm

You should stay at hotels that have satisfaction guaranties so you could try to get your money back if things aren't right. I think it's more of a problem of the hotels you are staying at then a general issue in all hotels. Though for fairly common things like the hot and cold not being the standard hot left, cold right, I would not expect them to refund.

When we redid the kitchen, the plumber asked which side we wanted the hot on and which the cold on, because apparently a good number of people prefer it that way. Color me shocked, but that's why one says H and one says C on it or whatever it's marked as). When the bathrooms are back to back, it's pretty common for one to be reversed from the other.

Kagehitokiri Jan 25, 12 11:02 pm

dont worry, there is always someone more picky and demanding, and someone who is a better negotiator

for business - needs to meet your needs
for personal, depending on what you are paying - needs to meet your expectations

vmsea Jan 26, 12 6:05 am

I've asked to switch rooms before based on actual experience:

1. When a room has smoke smell.. I can't stand smoking or smoke smell.. so if a nonsmoking room has smoke.. change

2. I saw blood on my bed sheet.. well that was just disturbing...

3. I saw dead bugs/flies... on the floor.. change

that's about it..

Global_Hi_Flyer Jan 26, 12 6:51 am

I've seen all the things you list, really not uncommon. The one that peeves me is where the bed is made up wrong (short-sheeted on the bottom sheet) - I'm tall and my feet end up feeling the end of the sheet and the mattress. I've even had that happen at a couple of higher-end, full service hotels. More than once, I've made housekeeping (or the manager if it's late enough) come remake the bed.

Things where I have requested a room change: heavy smoke smell in the room either from previous occupant or smoke seeping through the ventilation system; windows that didn't seal properly leaving a very drafty room and whistle as the wind blew; badly torn carpet; room not made up; stained bed linens (one time diesel smell that permeated the room, another it looked like blood); school group in hotel for a couple of days on my floor/adjacent rooms; major defect (broken furniture, door, bathroom, etc). In one case, I had the hotel move my parents when the room heater didn't work in their room, and I moved in another where the heater/AC made loud clanging sounds.

I've had issues in hotels from low end to high end. Fortunately, they don't happen very often at all & the hotel management is usually very responsive.

N965VJ Jan 26, 12 11:28 am


Originally Posted by Mike Rivers (Post 17888077)
Crummy Internet performance

The hotels you're staying at probably don't charge for internet access, but if I had to pay this would annoy me. I've been using a Sprint aircard as my sole internet connection on the ground for 9 years though, so this is not an issue for me. If you are paying for access where you stay, you might consider this option.



Originally Posted by vmsea (Post 17890098)
I saw dead bugs/flies... on the floor..

That's better than live bugs. :eek::p

Global_Hi_Flyer Jan 26, 12 12:06 pm


Originally Posted by N965VJ (Post 17892004)
The hotels you're staying at probably don't charge for internet access, but if I had to pay this would annoy me. I've been using a Sprint aircard as my sole internet connection on the ground for 9 years though, so this is not an issue for me. If you are paying for access where you stay, you might consider this option.

That's the reason I bought an aircard in the first place. Really bad throughput and hotel blocking of VPN traffic. So bad that I couldn't even hold a connection to office webmail. Add in a "help desk" person that told me I needed to turn off my software firewall, and I headed over to the Sprint store the next morning.

Though I use an ATT hotspot now, I've never looked back.

pinniped Jan 26, 12 12:40 pm

Reasons I've switched in the recent past:

- Smoking smell in a non-smoking room. Especially annoying considering I stay in a lot of hotels that advertise being 100% nonsmoking.

- A truly undesirable room in a hotel where I have elite status. I honestly never get too demanding about major upgrades...I know most hotels aren't built with many suites to begin with and arguing about whether one is available or whether an elite should get it as an upgrade is a futile cause. But when a disinterested front desk clerk puts me in a low floor, bad view, next to the elevator, I will absolutely go back to the front desk and ask for a better room. I don't like doing it...it's feels very DYKWIA-ish...but I feel that it's justified and not exceeding the purpose of the elite level. The response is almost always a better room...only once that I can recall the front desk saying the hotel was extremely full of Platinums and couldn't move me (in that case, they comped part of my bar tab).

- If I learn about it in time, being assigned to a floor full of convention-goers. Also possibly a school group, although school groups are usually more sober and chaperoned after 10pm or so.

- At Hampton, 4Points, and Fairfield, I always ask for rooms facing away from the highway. They're usually pretty decent about assigning elites on the non-highway side to begin with. It's only about 1 in 10 that I forget to ask and have to call down from the room and ask for a reassignment. At these motels, I imagine this is a more common request than specific floor or other parameter.

vmsea Jan 27, 12 4:36 am


Originally Posted by N965VJ (Post 17892004)
That's better than live bugs. :eek::p

This remind me.. I've seen live bugs but it was in some hot/desolate place .. Phoenix maybe? :p .. .but basically the rooms had critters crawling around.. freaked me out but I just figured it was everywhere and changing rooms won't help..

pinniped Jan 27, 12 7:34 am


Originally Posted by vmsea (Post 17896358)
This remind me.. I've seen live bugs but it was in some hot/desolate place .. Phoenix maybe? :p .. .but basically the rooms had critters crawling around.. freaked me out but I just figured it was everywhere and changing rooms won't help..

I've stayed in hotels with mosquito nets before. In some parts of the world, crawly critters are definitely included in the room rate!

Mike Rivers Jan 27, 12 4:11 pm


Originally Posted by cordelli (Post 17888564)
You should stay at hotels that have satisfaction guaranties so you could try to get your money back if things aren't right.

Actually most of the places I stay claim a 100% satisfaction guarantee, but you have to be fair and give them an opportunity to solve the problem. You can't just go up to the desk when you check out saying "the room wasn't satisfactory, so I'm not paying."

There are some things that could probably be solved by changing rooms but I have to decide whether it's worth the trouble once I've settled in, and usually I decide, particularly if it's just for a night, to live with it. There are some things that I can determine immediately that could be better in a different room and I won't hesitate to ask for another room. These are things like being next to the elevator or the ice machine (I don't even have to open the door to figure that one out), or too much traffic noise. A smokey room is immediately obvious. But sometimes when I've asked for another room, I've been told that there are no other rooms. They're probably lying, but at that point I don't really have much choice other than to take it or leave and try to find another place to stay at the last minute.

I've asked for a different coffee maker which worked for a year or so but they seem to have all disappeared from storage by now. Same with a radio where the problem isn't just poor reception in the location, but a noisy volume control or intermittent switch. I'm not terribly fussy about bedding and I can usually just squash bugs like I do at home.

But somehow it just seems silly, before I unpack, to test the water flow or check out the Internet access, which may be fine while everyone's at happy hour or out to dinner but fail when they all get back to their rooms and start watching movies on their computers. I have, on occasion, walked the halls with my computer and if I find that i'm in a WiFi dead spot, ask for another room if I'm going to be staying a few days, but if it's just one night, I'll take the computer to Starbucks or Safeway and mooch off them. And, no, I don't stay at hotels where they charge for Internet access. I avoid that when I make my reservations.


Though for fairly common things like the hot and cold not being the standard hot left, cold right, I would not expect them to refund.
That's just an annoyance, not a deal breaker. I just make it a point of standing clear of the flow in the shower when I get ready to turn it off lest I turn it the wrong way and get scalded. I didn't realize that some people prefer it that way. I remember a saying from elementary school that all you need to know to be a plumber was "Hot on the left, cold on the right, S**t flows down hill, and Friday is pay day." In the backwards Comfort Inn in Las Vegas the labels on the faucets were indeed correct. I took a photo of it to use in an article about user interfaces and human factors, ;)

At budget hotels they don't really do much for Elite status members except give you more points. I'm a Choice Hotels gold member, Comfort Inns sometimes have suites but that just means there's a half divider between the bedroom and living area. Econo Lodges just have one kind of room. Maybe there are room upgrades at Clarions but it's been a while since I've stayed in one. I did stay a night at an Ascend (their boutique group - who'd'a'thunk they'd have one) and the room was really nice, but I used points for that so I got what they had. It had a Keurig coffee maker that actually made a decent cup of coffee, but not as good as what I make when I have the proper tools.

I've occasionally been in a hotel with a tour group or a school athletic team but they're usually not too disruptive though they can take over the breakfast area pretty easily since they're all on the same time schedule. Once I found myself in a room opposite or next to what appeared to be a band that was partying and playing music at about 1 AM. All I could do at that time was call the front desk and ask them to try to quiet them down. I was tempted to go join them.

So I guess the gist of it is that there are a few things worth fighting for (smoke, mostly, I guess) and others like backward faucets that we can live with.

jspira Jan 27, 12 9:42 pm


Originally Posted by Mike Rivers (Post 17888077)
How Annoyed Do You (or I) Have To Be, , , in order to ask to switch hotel rooms? (or even hotels)

First, I'd like to ask for a link to your article on user interface where you included the faucet photo.

But I digress.

To directly answer your question, my response is "annoyed enough to know I will not sleep well or function well in the room."

Case in point: last week I stayed at a reasonably elegant hotel in Philly for three nights. I always check for elevator and possible ice machine locations to ensure I am away from any possible noise and, as the bellman brought me to my room, I asked about the ice machine, as we had passed a door labeled "ice machine" walking to my room.

He assured me it was nowhere near my room and I took him at his word.

He was wrong.

At night, I heard something cycling on and off (the room's ultra high-tech HVAC thumped when it turned cycled - and it cycled very frequently to boot). I couldn't figure it out until the next day.

It was the ice machine.

Despite the fact that the machine was behind not one but two doors, it was actually placed in a room that shared a wall with the wall my bed was against.

The hotel immediately moved me to a similar (but slightly larger) "executive room." The bellman who helped me move was sympathetic to noise issues and detected a fan noise in the bathroom before I had a chance to look around. It was a loud noise coming from the roof (top floor of the hotel).

So he went downstairs to speak to the MOD and a third room (apparently the last available room in the hotel) was found.

It was smaller but it was quiet. Very very quiet.

The hotel comp'd one night without my asking and also (again without my asking) gave me 5000 additional points.

TheMadBrewer Jan 27, 12 10:06 pm

In the garden paradise of El Centro, CA I once had to decide if I wanted hot water or WiFi.

My first room was too far from the AP to get a connection. So I asked to be moved closer to get a better signal.

My new room had 5 bars of signal, but was so far from the water heater that there was no hot water.

Being a geek, I stayed in the room with WiFi. Showers are overrated plus there was enough "biological matter" in the air that nobody could tell, anyway :)

Xyzzy Jan 28, 12 8:40 pm

Any hint :rolleyes:f smoke and I'm at the desk demanding a new room. If the Internet access doesn't work and I need to do work I'm also switching. Other than that it doesn't happen too often. I never use the coffee maker so that never is an issue. Bugs that I felt might want to come home with me would cause me to move.

At one point I was a regular a a particular California hotel and made SURE that all of my reservations indicated the rooms I would absolutely never allow them to check me into. One night was enough. The whole room shook every once in a while. At first I thought it was the rail yard nearby. The property was 3 stories and these rooms were located next the mechanical room on each floor. Each time I checked in thereafter the clerk would look at the reservation, see the note and comment on how I must have really been there before. I stopped staying there when the maids managed to miss my room for two days in a row. I got a nice note and a comped night, but that was pretty much the last straw for a LONG time at that property for me.


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