Tips For Hotel Guests – 10 Things Not To Do

December 25, 2016

hotel room - tips for travelers: things not to do as a hotel guestI’ve been on both sides of the situation. Having spent 14 years in the hospitality industry “on the other side of the front desk” and now a traveler and expat, I can tell you some interesting observations and tips I’ve gathered when it comes to guests in hotels. The below suggestions I’ve come up with are from personal experience as a front desk agent and manager as well as a hotel guest. I’ve seen and heard some strange guest complaints over the years and have had to deal with some surprising human behavior from guests of hotels that I’ve served in my career. Hopefully, if you happen to be a hotel guest at one point or another in your life, this list of things not to do as hotel guests will come in handy and provide you with a better experience wherever you choose to travel.

1. Don’t Disrespect The Staff

hotel reception- things not to do as a hotel guestYou might be thinking that this advice is obvious. For those who read the heading and thought “Well, yes the hotel staff are people and should be treated with respect just like anyone else”- thank you! Honestly, you would think this is a natural “common sense” sort of thing. You’d be surprised how many people fail to do this.

Some hotel guests see the front desk counter as some sort of wall where those on the other side are somehow “beneath” them. This mentality leads them to assume they can say cruel things or behave in a way that puts down the hotel employee(s).

Treating the staff (whether front desk, housekeeping, or otherwise) only diminishes the guests experience. Even for those instances where something negative occurs and it IS the hotel’s fault, there is still no excuse for being mean and disrespectful to the people who are working there. As a hotel guest, you will have a more enjoyable time AND get more satisfaction by being kind and polite to the employees as well as other guests of the hotel.

2. Demand

If you follow the first advice we’ve listed here, this concept should come naturally. If you want or need something from the hotel staff, ask politely. Even if the “thing” you are asking for or need should have been included, it’s just not necessary to stand there and demand it. Yes, there are some things that can fall through the cracks. When they do, some hotel guests tend to take it as a personal attack. It’s not.

More often than not, the employees are juggling several things at once and just happen to forget or miss giving you that water bottle or roll of toilet paper. It’s nothing against you. Just ask them for it. You might even be surprised that they, not only apologize for the mishap, but also give you a little something extra for the “inconvenience.”

What’s even worse is if you demand something additional to what you’ve been promised or paid for. This is just rude and obnoxious. Have realistic expectations and don’t be pushy for the sake of seeing how much you can get.

3.Assume Security

hotel hallway- security tips for hotel guestsWhile hotels tend to do everything they can to ensure the safety and security of their guests, there are still some precautions you should take for yourself. There are lots of protocols and procedures in place that are there to help the hotel guests as well as the employees stay safe. I’m not saying that you should be afraid to check into a hotel because bad things can happen Just be aware for yourself and do your part.

One thing that can help you stay safe while you’re staying away from home is locking your room. Yes, most hotel rooms lock once the door closes, but you should use the latch and dead bolt as well. As a rule of thumb, I usually do this every time I walk into a hotel room, even if I’m leaving in a short while.

You can never assume that someone else will not get a hold of your room key. Unfortunately, this can happen. Additionally, you can notify the hotel staff that you do not want anyone to be give a key to your room or be told which room you are in. Most hotels will train their employees to never give out any information, including the room number, of their guests. However, accidents happen. Not to mention, hotels around the world might not be used to doing this.

I have heard stories of visitors being given a key to a guests room. While the guest might be expecting them, they may not necessarily want them to come to the room. The front desk staff might feel that just because they know each other, it would be “rude” not to obey the request and give them the key.

Lastly, try not to ever say your room number out loud to anyone. You never know who could be listening. Especially as a solo female traveler, this is crucial in making sure no one just shows up to your door during your stay.

4. Check Out Early Without Notification

Regardless of how you have made your reservation, you should confirm your stay dates with the front desk upon check-in. It’s a lot easier for changes to be made before you have actually checked in. furthermore, if your plans change during your stay, stop by the desk and let them know. You don’t want to get charged for a night that you did not use. Also, if you decide to stay longer, you want to make sure there is availability at the hotel for the additional nights. Nothing worse than having to pack up and have to leave last minute.

5. Arrive Without A Credit Card

things not to do as a hotel guest - traveler tipsMost hotels, nowadays, require a credit card for checking in. Some guests prefer to pay cash for their room because it may be helping them keep better track of their budget. This is totally fine. You still need to have a valid credit card that can be authorized for an amount, sometimes the entire stay and an additional “deposit.”

You have to keep in mind that the credit card hold is a way for the hotel to ensure some payment if the guest decided to leave the hotel and not stop by the front desk. Some hotels can have hundreds of check-ins and check-outs on a daily basis. You can’t expect them to trust that everyone will come by and pay for everything at the end of the stay.

In essence, you are paying for your room in advance. Now, if you decide you want to pay differently at the end, usually, the amount can be taken off the card. Be aware that it might take some time for that to show on your account. Allow a few days for “processing.”

6. Ignore Your E-mails

So you’ve booked your reservations online and everything’s good to go, right? Wrong! When booking online, you will typically provide an email address for confirmation. Make sure you check that e-mail address for correspondences from the hotel. You might just get the email that explains your dates of stay and payment information.

Make sure you check that the dates are correct (very often the day might be correct but the month may be wrong, and you want to check the year, too!). Also, double check that it states the kind of room you meant to book. You don’t want to show up at the hotel with your friend, only to find out you have only one bed in the room!

hotel room type - check e-mail confirmation: hotel guest tips

Something else that can be overlooked is the number of rooms that are being booked. There have been a few times that the guest has booked two rooms when they only need one.  There are even times when they have PAID for two rooms and didn’t realize until a month after they have checked out! Just pay attention to your email and check that everything is how it should be BEFORE your arrival. Remember, this is your booking so it’s not the hotel’s responsibility.

7. Expect Employees To Be Telepathic

You’re laughing. I know. Ridiculous right? Well, you would think people are smart enough to know this, but something about the hospitality industry makes the guest feel that their every wish will be granted and that the hotel knows exactly what they want and when they want it. O.K, so a good hotel aims to do exactly this. They try, at least.

With the gathering of data, thanks to technology, hotels are able to keep track of your preferences and even past issues. This is there to help them provide you with the best service possible for each stay. I truly believe that they do consider this to the best of their abilities. Some are better at it than others.

As a hotel guest, do your part in providing information to the hotel. If you absolutely must have a certain request in place for your stay, make that known to the hotel. Make sure you call in advance and let them know what you need and why. Front desk staff are usually able to take notes on your reservation and communicate this information to the other members.

hotel poolside service - things to avoid doing as hotel guest

Communication at a hotel, just like anywhere else, can sometimes fail. Be aware of this and have a plan “B” in place for yourself.

8. Think All Your Requests Will Be Guaranteed

This concept goes hand in hand with the above advice. I mean, you can call in advance and get some requests noted. But to assume that every single request (location of room, specific room number, connecting rooms, being close to a specific room or guest, etc.) will be granted. There are situations that cannot be controlled by the hotel staff. On the other hand, there are requests (such as additional amenities like pillows and shampoo) that are easily taken care of. It helps to be realistic in your expectations.

things not to do as a hotel guest - travel tips

9. Ignore the hotel policies

Make yourself aware of the check-in and check-out times. If you have a specific schedule or events you have to attend, make sure you plan around the hotel policies. You don’t want to be stuck in the lobby when you have to be getting ready for a wedding that you are suppose to attend. Have some kind of idea of what you would do if your room is not ready for early check-in. At the same time, don’t assume you can have the room as late as you need it. The hotel has to get the room flipped and ready for the next guest so make an extra night’s reservation if you cannot leave at the designated time.

There’s also the consideration for policies on the booking of the hotel room. This also goes back to our point on checking your email. You want to make sure that you know what the cancel policy is on the room you have booked. There are certain reservation types (prepaid, package, or group bookings are some examples) that will not allow any changes or cancellations once you have confirmed the booking. There are also prepaid reservations, at times, that will charge your credit card in advance. You will need to read the reservation policy carefully in order to avoid any surprises later.

10. Walk Around Barefoot

hotel pool - things not to do as a hotel guestAside from just being plain unsanitary, guests are required to have shoes on when walking around public spaces in a hotel. Regardless of how clean the premises are, there is a real safety concern when walking around with bare feet. There’s the possibility of slipping (most people tend to walk barefoot with wet feet after using the pool) or stepping on a sharp object. Furthermore, you can drop something on your feet accidentally. A word of advice: try to wear slippers (sometimes hotel will provide) even inside your hotel room.


Do you have any funny or weird hotel stories? Ever heard a guest in the lobby demand something ridiculous? We’re curious to know your thoughts on the above hotel tips. Tell us in the comments below.


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Taiss Nowrouzi

About the Author

Taiss Nowrouzi

Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!

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Eve Mitchell

I am taking my husband on an anniversary getaway in a few months. I love the tip about respecting the staff. I will make sure to follow all of these tips!'
    Taiss Nowrouzi

    Sounds great! Have a wonderful time!

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