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No matter what takes someone away from home, the last thing anyone wants to put up with after braving airport security or a tediously long drive are hassles at the hotel. So what are travelers' top cheers and jeers for the hospitality industry? To find out, American Demographics sifted through a generous sampling of the nearly 2,000 letters submitted by consumers last year to hotels and resorts through, a division of Cincinnati-based market research firm Intelliseek. Of all the letters submitted in 2002 through Panetfeedback's online forum, 78 percent were complaints and 16 percent were compliments. The remaining 6 percent were questions or suggestions. Above all else, travelers overwhelmingly agree that hotel housekeeping needs to clean up its act. Of the 150 letters submitted on the topic of “cleanliness/hygiene,� 97 percent were complaints. The billing and check-in departments also received a large share of complaints. Despite the efforts of the hospitality industry to personalize reservations and add amenities, nothing wins guests over like a friendly staff. In fact, the highest percentage of satisfactory letters (44 percent) fell into the “hotel staff performance� category. But don't take our word for it. The comments below offer a good representation of what hotel guests are saying.

“I would like to compliment the employees of your Peoria, Ill., hotel. They greet me by name, ask how my day has been and if they can do anything to help me out. They always phone after I've gone to my room to see that it's adequate. When I've neglected to get a reservation, they have been kind enough to reserve a room for me at another hotel. That's going the extra mile for a guest!� “When we returned to our room, the beds were not made, towels were not replaced and were wet on the floor, and the waste receptacles were overflowing. The front desk person informed us that there was a form in the room that we were supposed to fill out to identify the level of housekeeping we needed. It seems that a minimum level of cleaning should be assumed in the absence of any formal request forms.�
“My partner and I are very price-conscious and tend to shop around for the best hotel rates. On one of the popular travel Web sites, I found a much cheaper rate than I was quoted by your hotel on the phone or on your own site. I pointed this out to the staff, and they honored the Web rate, plus they knocked an additional 10 percent off. The entire process was very efficient.� “My husband has a heart condition and is supposed to exercise every day. I chose your hotel in St. Louis because it had an exercise facility. When we got there, the equipment was rusty and nonfunctional.�
“When we arrived at your hotel, we asked about receiving a room upgrade — never imagining we could afford it — and we received it for free. We were absolutely thrilled. All of the employees at the front desk went out of their way to make it a pleasant stay for us and all of our family. It really made our day, month and probably our year.� “I called your toll-free reservation line and was quoted $92.65 per night. When I checked out of the hotel, I was billed $92.65 for Friday night but $143.65 for Saturday night. The attendant called the 800 number and handed me the phone. The representative took my number and told me someone from Guest Relations would call me. I did not receive a call. I am very upset by the brush-off.�
Source: Planetfeedback
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