The Adrian Loveridge Column – Hotels Must Meet a Minimum Standard

Adrian Loveridge

Franchising has been a long used largely successful tool to grow brand awareness while helping to create a much larger business than perhaps achievable through more conventional means. It’s a great concept but can be-set with all sorts of problems, if not properly managed and controlled.

I recently booked a big name budget brand hotel and frankly despite 50 years staying in a whole range of properties ranging from luxury lodgings including Raffles, Inter Continental, Omni, Fairmont and many independently managed offerings, right down to the Motel 6 type alternatives, this was my worst accommodation stay ever.

I had wanted to book a geographically centrally located lower end price conscious hotel, where I could easily travel to various places of interest in the southern US state of Georgia.

First, I do not want to place any blame of choice on the state itself, other than to wonder why with all the resources available to it supplied by the US$5 per night room levy it places on all hotel accommodation, in addition to all the other taxes collected. This massive generator of revenue would certainly allow regular inspection to ensure a minimum standard is achieved before granting an operating licence.

Also beyond comprehension is that the brand holders or franchise appointees do not appear to have their own quality and safety inspection assurance department. Or if they have, it clearly has not functioned effectively in this particular case

While not wanting to graphically list every (17 points in all) unacceptable elements of dissatisfaction during my stay, they mostly related to cleanliness and to put that in perspective, it translated that after having a shower or bath, walking the short 10 or so feet from bathroom to bed left the bottoms of your feet disgustingly filthy.

Of course after check-in, I went to the reception three separate times but each occasion no personnel were on duty as far as the eye could see.

Having pre-paid the 7 night’s accommodation in full with a stated company policy of absolutely no refunds, it appeared there were few other options. There were also serious safety issues including a loose and rusty grab rail and the lack of an anti-slip mat, which clearly was an essential with the shiny surface of the bath/shower.

Since returning, I have written to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of both the brand, Wyndham, which are scheduled to open a hotel on Barbados and the Executive Chairman of Priceline, the company with whom I made the booking. Of course I will report back if either gentleman or their representatives respond.

After operating a hotel for nearly thirty years, personally we have found that most guests are astonishingly understanding or forgiving, for the occasional peeling paint and temporary denial of a service.

But cleanliness, or the lack of, is a completely different story and not only reflects badly on the individual property but the reputation of the destination itself. This latest experience, absolutely in my eyes reinforces that all accommodation offerings, irrespective of their price range and facilities must be regulated, inspected and meet minimum criteria to be licensed.

10 comments

  • Hopefully, the Georgians at least had a sewage system that worked.

    From today’s (Monday Oct 16) Nation News:

    There will be ramifications for businesses and homeowners who continue to dump grease and oils into the South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant.

    The dumping of fats, oils and grease into the system was so bad, said the Barbados Water Authority’s (BWA) manager of its Waste Water Recovery Programme, Patricia Inniss, that the authority would be sending letters to offending persons.

    She was speaking to the DAILY NATION in the wake of issues which resurfaced after Saturday’s heavy rainfall. There were reports of sewage seeping from under manhole covers on Hastings Main Road and Worthing, Christ Church, as well.

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/101350/sewage-warning

    I assume these will be strongly worded letters, such as:

    Dear Restaurant owner/manager

    Please, please immediately desist from putting your RH waste grease and oil in the sewage system. It is causing the place to smell stink, stink after a heavy rain.

    If you ignore this message be assured we will not let this matter drop. We will follow up with an even more strongly worded letter in which we will actually spell out for you in full the term RH, and be assured it will be used to describe more than just your offending oil and grease.

    Sincerely,
    BWA Manager

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  • I agree with Greenmonkey above. Your experience with dirty floors and lose railings in Georgia doesn’t begin to compare with the visitor experience on the South Coast here in Barbados. Can you imagine what kinds of articles they write about Barbados when they return home after experiencing their wonderful South Coast holiday immersed in sewage?

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  • You comment would have weight if Adrian was not equally critical of situation in the domestic market.

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington.

    @ Adrian

    I am not surprised at the level of service that you have received at your recent accommodation abroad. Within the last 5 years the quality of service has declined on both sides of the Atlantic. I think it has to do with water conservation,franchising of brand names and foreign ancillary staff.

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  • @Bernard

    Isn’t it all about safeguarding profit margins?

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  • Bernard Codrington.

    @ David at 11:43 AM

    It safeguards profit in the short run. In the Internet Age and with Trip Advisor, within a month prospective guests cancel bookings based on the opinions of previous guests.

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  • @Bernard

    True but the root issue is the decline of standards industry wide with the rush to maintain profits in a competitive space read AirBnB.

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  • Bernard Codrington.

    @ David at 12:25 PM

    AirBnB has its own market niche. The traditional traveler, especially one with family, prefer brand name hotel chains that have a reputation to maintain. The level and varieties of service are generally higher and known from experience.
    The more relevant criterion is” value for money”: not merely “cheaper than”.

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  • ”…absolutely in my eyes reinforces that all accommodation offerings, irrespective of their price range and facilities must be regulated, inspected and meet minimum criteria to be licensed…”

    ahhh.. so are you referring to AirBnB?

    Interesting, did you also write this viewpoint when there was no AirBnb, only small hoteliers and apartment hotels competing with the large hotels?

    No doubt AirBnb is competition for small apartment hotels.

    That question aside, people really want to get Government involved in licensing etc??

    Lol. Have to be kidding, more red tape, when less is needed.

    Well, well……

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  • Adrian: I agree there are some terrible motels, especially at the budget end of the spectrum.It would appear that some franchisers are more interested in franchise fees than in maintaining a standard. I will assume you did due diligence prior to committing for a week on a non refundable basis. I am not certain whether the state of Georgia has mandatory health inspections of properties or if they do , how well they are enforced.
    I have stayed at different levels of hotel /motels in my travels , not as extensively as your self but have found by reading reviews from as many sources as possible I have yet to be disappointed. I am looking forward to reading the response that you may receive.

    Like

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