If you had asked me before now why I would choose to stay in a budget hotel then rightly or wrongly, I wouldn’t have stated the standard of customer service as a primary reason. Much more likely would be price of room and convenience of location as these are two important factors, which influence my own accommodation choices.
However when I stayed in a Travelodge last weekend, it wasn’t the price or location, which stood out in the end. It was actually the quality of the customer experience. This got me thinking about what makes a good hotel stay and to what extent customer service plays in this. Does paying less mean you expect less?
The booking stage creates the first impression of your chosen hotel. If this process is over complicated or confusing then you’re likely to abort your choice and try elsewhere instead. It doesn’t matter where you go, it needs to be simple to book rooms; any extras should be clear at the end of the booking and be added as wished. Sometimes there can be a whole list of different room types to choose from which can take time to scroll through. With Travelodge, there is no confusion about room types as the brand is the same wherever you travel. What I like about this is the consistency and reassurance of knowing what you can expect.
Another all-important consideration for a hotel choice is location, whether this is the proximity to good transport links, events or local attractions. I chose Travelodge for my stay in London because it was close to the hotel where friends were staying and also in easy walking distance of tube and bus links. Travelodge hotels are almost always in good easy to reach locations and because of their branding are easy to spot. This is particularly useful for me who, even with the help of Google maps, would be hard pressed to find myself out of a paper bag.
Once you’ve booked your stay and found the hotel then the next test of customer satisfaction is to survive the check in queues. Wherever you stay, there should always be enough staff on reception so that all guests can be welcomed in a timely manner. Check in staff should be friendly, efficient and helpful as they are your first point of contact in the hotel itself. If there are problems here then that can set the tone for the whole stay. Again in this respect, my own personal check in experience was perfect; quick, easy, efficient and hassle free.
A good night’s sleep and an enjoyable stay
How much you enjoy your stay can be determined by a number of factors. Some of which are perhaps outside the control of the hotel itself such as noise from outside or possibly other guests. However from a customer service point of view, it’s how any complaints are dealt with which is important, and not necessarily the issues themselves. I had to contact reception as the TV was not working – a very important first world problem as you can imagine but nevertheless, something, which was dealt with quickly and efficiently, and even personally by the manger himself. How you are made to feel as a guest is also very important when considering overall value and enjoyment of a hotel stay. In this case, staff seemed genuinely pleased to help and interested in ensuring complete customer satisfaction.
Budget hotel, budget service?
So in summary, the best stays are when you leave a hotel after a good night’s sleep feeling satisfied with the booking process, hotel location, check in and your overall visit experience. With this in mind, then it shouldn’t matter customer service wise, whether you’ve booked into the Ritz or your local guesthouse, as these expectations remain the same. Budget hotel should not mean budget service. What do you think?
I chose to stay at Travelodge because of the reasons given above. All opinions and thoughts are my own.