I get a lot of email every day as most of you do. In fact, it is almost word overload. However, a recent article written by Larry Megelonsky, founder of LMA Communications in Toronto, Canada really struck a cord with me. The article listed his 17 hotel guestroom pet peeves. I’ve cut and pasted them below. As the owner of Hamanassett Bed & Breakfast in the Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, for years when I traveled and stayed in B&Bs it was my dream to one day have my own property. And I kept a list of everything I would include when that day came because I never found one bed and breakfast that totally pleased me. Many came close but there always seemed to be something missing. After reading the list below I’m proud to say that at Hamanassett we have addressed every single one of his peeves save one, we don’t offer HBO or Showtime but we do offer plenty of cable channels. Every flat screen television in the rooms also have a DVD player and we offer over 100 movies free of charge. Read on to see his peeves and how we address them. My responses are set off by <>. If you have additional peeves let me know. I can always learn from my guests and readers.
1. Complex Wi-Fi setups <At Hamanassett it is simple to connect to our network and you are ready to go.>
It is bad enough that I have to pay for Wi-Fi, but what’s worse is trying to set up a complex Wi-Fi connection. Headache! Even with my MacBook Air, there are connections that just don’t seem to work, no matter what you attempt.
2. Poor Wi-Fi signal <Our signal is available all over the house as well as the entire property. You can surf the net sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch while listening to the waterfall or on the side terrace.>
I am differentiating this point from the setup and cost. What I am referring to is insufficient bandwidth to operate the basics of the business — loading the Internet and downloading basic files (let alone movies or anything of that magnitude).
3. Paying for Wi-Fi <Like everything at Hamanassett except your room, our WIFI is free. We also offer business services such as sending and receiving faxes for our guests.>
Give me a break. I’m paying $550 per night for the room, and now you want another $13.95 for Wi-Fi? What’s wrong with this picture? I pay five bucks for a coffee at Starbucks and get all the Wi-Fi I need (which, by the way, is where your consumers are going instead of your restaurant because of this). Also, don’t you ever notice that that the economy-segment hotels seem to have free Wi-Fi while the luxury products do not?
4. In-room coffee in un-openable packets <All our room has coffee makers with supplies. Alas, the only way coffee comes is in the foil packs which helps keep the coffee fresh. However, we have a 24 hour hour guest pantry with a Keurig coffee machine so this is always an option. >
Unfortunately, we airline travelers no longer carry scissors. So how do we open these space-proof foil packs? I once phoned down to the front desk to ask a bellman to bring up a pair.
5. Shampoo amenities not large enough for two users <I’ll add my peeve to this. I hate the bottles of shampoo and conditioner with bottle opening so small you have to smash the bottle against the palm of hand over and over in hopes of getting a dollop of liquid. Hamanassett offers Gilchrist and Soames amenities in bottles with wide mouths and large enough for more than two uses each day.>
If my wife is with me, we need to execute our own shampoo-rationing plan. Don’t you think someone could increase the size in anticipation of two designated occupants?
6. No decent TV channels, except if you go to the pay section <As mentioned above, we don’t have HBO but we offer almost a hundred channels plus all the free movies on DVD for our guests to enjoy.>
As an older guest, it would really be nice for me to be able to watch an hour or so of high-quality television without commercials. I’m talking getting up to code by offering a little HBO or Showtime.
7. Small water bottles that are not free <Not only do we place free bottled water in the rooms (although our well water is far superior), we also offer free soft drinks, juices, snacks and cookies in our 24 hour guest pantry.>
Single-serve water bottles cost just a few cents each — about 35 cents at most from a wholesaler. Include a few and price your room up by just a buck.
8. A larger bottle of water with a $5.95 “warning” neck tag
Come on now. Does that water bottle really dictate that price? Better to have no large water bottles than to feature a price incongruity that might upset guests.
9. Too many tent cards <Don’t have any of these.>
I arrive in the room, and I’m bombard with brochures telling me about the great chef, a promotional food offer somewhere in the hotel or the drink specials. Yet, surprisingly, these offers are not available in room service.
10. Complex lighting controls
Some even require putting the glasses back on to figure out how to use them. Worse is trying to close the lights to get a night’s sleep, and you can’t figure out how to shut off that one hallway light that cannot be accessed bedside.
11. TVs that cannot be seen easily from the bed
I have been in rooms where the TV is opposite the bed, but the room is so large you are out of remote-control range. And if the remote control can’t see the TV, imagine how you, the viewer, can see it! I have also been in rooms where the TV has to be rotated to be viewed from the bed, and in doing so the remote no longer functions.
12. Noisy AC units
In fact, some are so noisy that when the compressor clicks on, it might wake those in the next room. Sorry, but I expect a quiet room, especially in the luxury class. This one may require a heavy upgrade cost, but for guest satisfaction, it is a must.
13. Drapes that don’t fully block sunlight
Often, blackout drapes just aren’t sized properly, leaving gaps. Amazing how sunlight dances through badly matched seams!
14. Quirky alarm clocks
We’re talking the ones that do not set easily or those tied into a radio and not a buzzer. I’ve given up on this one and just use my iPhone.
15. Lack of accessible outlets for chargers <I hate having to crawl on my knees trying to find an outlet for my computer of phone charger. Every room at Hamanassett has an easily accessible power strip.>
How do you plug your phone in to recharge it and still have it handy by being within reach of the bed? I realize most guestrooms were configured and built well before the advent of smartphones, but this might crop up as a pesky problem for your guests.
16. Soap packaged in plastic shrink-wrap <Our Gilchrist and Soames soaps are either boxed or wrapped in easy to remove tissue.>
You know what I’m talking about: the packaging that requires real effort to remove. You need long fingernails and lots of patience (and your glasses on). Test a random batch from your supplier. If you can’t open it easily, replace the batch — or get a new vendor!
17. Bathrooms with poor lighting <Every room has a makeup mirror with one side magnified.>
This one tops the list as my wife’s biggest complaint. It’s added in here, as she definitely had a few things to say about hotel rooms she will never visit again (along with those that do not have makeup mirrors).
So there it is. Again, I welcome remarks or suggestions from anyone who reads this. We strive to constantly improve our guest experience.