4 Steps to Take After Having a Bad Experience at a Hotel

In the hospitality industry, the mantra is supposed to be, “The customer is always right.” But what happens when you are a hotel guest and have a bad experience that isn’t resolved easily?

Most of us naturally don’t like to complain. We prefer to move on with our lives and forget the problem existed or use it as a warning story to tell others.

Sure, you could jump online and post a review on the website, but that doesn’t solve the issue. Filing a complaint is crucial if you’re hurt or the problem is serious and could affect others. Chances are, the hotel management will appreciate knowing what happened so they can address it and prevent recurrences.

When your experience at a lodging site was more than annoying, follow these steps to handle the complaint process.

Step 1: Start at the Front Desk

Before you make a big deal out of something that might be easily fixed, start at the very beginning: the front desk. When you notice the problem or want to bring it to the hotel’s attention, whoever is on duty is your initial contact.

Get the name of the individual to whom you’re speaking, and note the date and time of communication. You’ll need that info if you need to file a formal complaint.

Politely let them know what’s going on and give them a chance to respond with a satisfactory resolution. This might be a refund or other compensation, or the clerk may put you in touch with someone who can help you further.

Whatever they say, remain calm and avoid being rude or interrupting. Keep in mind that this is their job, but they may not have the authority to solve your complaint.

Step 2: Talk to a Manager

If the front desk person solves your issue, consider it fixed and let it go. But if they can’t or won’t, ask to speak with the manager on duty.

The manager should have the authority to handle your issue to your satisfaction. It may be a matter of knowing something the clerk doesn’t that explains your problem or having the ability to provide you with compensation.

In some situations, the on-site manager can’t or won’t help. When that happens, you can move on to the general manager, who should be open to hearing your concerns and offering suggestions to solve them.

Step 3: Moving Past the On-Site and General Management

By this point, most problems will have been handled satisfactorily. Yet, there are instances where the management refuses to take your issue seriously or offer appropriate solutions.

If the hotel is a corporation, there should be a contact point near the top of the chain. Try to find their information online and send a message or call them to complain.

Since this person or team is responsible for the hotel’s reputation, and this problem is obviously major enough to make it past the first two steps, the corporate entity should pay attention. Be polite and word your message clearly and concisely.

You may only have a few seconds to grab their attention. Stick with the facts and avoid talking about your feelings regarding the lack of assistance you’ve received so far. Include any evidence you have, such as photos and names of people you spoke with.

Step 4: Make Your Concerns Public

By the time you get to step four, you’re likely frustrated and ready to vent your complaints. Still, the less emotion and more fact you put behind airing your public grievances, the more you’ll be taken seriously.

No one has resolved your issue, and you’ve gone to the top of the chain. Now, it’s time to get to the internet websites and let others know what’s going on behind the scenes.

Start with the hotel’s social media platform and write reviews there. Then, head to your travel booking site and share your concerns there. Keep your reviews limited to less than 200 words. Copy and paste, and share on websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp.

Some of your reviews may be removed or censored. This is standard operating practice for some sites that have relationships with the hotel you’re reviewing. Don’t waste your time on those sites. Keep posting your review elsewhere, and you’ll reach a large audience.


Most of the time, our stays at a hotel are pleasant or, at the least, uneventful. When a bad experience happens, though, we want it addressed, and we want fair restitution.

If you’re in that boat, follow these steps to handle the situation. Start at the bottom, give the hotel a chance to fix the issue, and then work toward the final step of making your problem public.


SND Team

We are a team of writers passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation. We cover anything else that our readers may find interesting. This includes trending news, lifestyle and finance topics, consumer guides, and much more.


Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.