By Randee Dawn
A hotel, no matter how nice it may be, is never quite home. But when we’re traveling, we adopt it – briefly – as our home away from home. And that’s part of the marketing: A hotel or motel or B&B wants us to feel like this is a place of comfort, security and hominess.
The problem comes when some of us act like we really live there. In October, Expedia conducted its 2015 Hotel Etiquette Study, which revealed that while we can all find reasons to complain about our hotel stays on some level – the hotels have their own complaints, aimed at us. Among the top-ranked bad behaviors hotel guests were guilty of were “inattentive parents,” “hallway hellraisers” and “poolside partiers.”
So what can you do to be the right sort of hotel guest, while still feeling like you’re getting away from it all in your home away from home?
- Remember you’re not the only person in the hotel.
Yes, you paid – perhaps dearly, perhaps your company is comping you the room – for your small bed-and-desk-and-bath combo, but so did dozens, if not hundreds of others.
Expedia’s poll results indicated that a lot of the complaining came from too much noise: 67 percent of the 1,022 people surveyed were unhappy with parents who didn’t keep an eye on their children; 64 percent were upset by people who made too much noise in the hallway; 52 percent were irked by “in-room revelers”; 21 percent by “the loudly amorous,” aka “indiscreet lovemakers.”
You know who you are. Bring a white noise machine, or keep it down! Some of us are trying to sleep in here.
- You’re in public
You may feel secure in your space, but in a lot of ways staying in a hotel is like being out in public. “Business bar boozers” were a problem for 12 percent of those studied; “bickerers” were problematic for 26 percent. Drinking too much at home is one thing; drinking too much in public can get the police called on you. And if you must argue, refer to No. 1 and keep it at a civil level – or table the discussion until you actually are home. You are being overheard (and these days, possibly recorded)!
- Be kind: tip.
As many as 27 percent of hotel visitors said they do not tip. Admittedly, there are many areas in which tipping could happen it can be confusing – and wallet-draining – to always be handing out cash.
But here’s a simple rule If you need your room cleaned, leave a tip for the day. If you believe you are so tidy your room doesn’t need attention, hang out the “do not disturb” sign and enjoy your tip-free, uncleaned room. Then, when you check out, leave a tip behind.
Everything else can be considered more loosely. Just ask yourself: “Did this person render me a service?” If so, they probably deserve a tip. No coins, please.
- Pick the right hotel for your stay.
Remember the disapproving 67 percent who don’t want to hear Jack and Jill running through the breakfast buffet? There are any number of family-friendly hotels that provide childproofing kits for their rooms, gift bags at check-ins and are generally prepared for your adorable, if hard-to-handle, little ones.
Along those lines, if you have pets or other special requirements, do a little due diligence and pick the right hotel for your special needs – these days, there’s a niche for everyone!
- Take advantage of the freebies – within reason.
Hotel experts say sure, soaps and shampoos and lotions are fine, particularly if you’ve partially used them. But if you start hoarding or trying to take a year’s supply with you, that’s a no-no. As for bigger items like towels, robes and furniture (yes, there are people who try to walk out with TVs), use some common sense. You’re not paying $159 for a free room and a television set. And finally, if it’s got a price tag on it – get ready to pay if you swipe!
“While etiquette violations differ, they tend to come down to the same behavior, whether or not guests respect the strangers in close proximity to them,” vice president and general manager of Expedia.com John Morrey said in a statement. “A modicum of consideration for your fellow travelers can go a very long way,” he said.
Have a nice trip!