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Dirty hotel rooms are causing sleepless nights for guests

New research into hotel guests’ experiences commissioned by P&G Professional (the away-from-home division of Procter & Gamble), shows the importance of cleanliness to improve online ratings and customer loyalty.

A study of 2,000 Brits who regularly stay in hotels has revealed that dirty bedsheets (71%) were the most likely hotel faux pas to make a guest walk out, followed by a disgusting bathroom (69%) or a smelly room (65%). Further findings show a resounding 97% are disturbed by evidence of previous guests in their room, with two thirds stating they feel their skin crawl at the thought of old drool marks on their pillow and 66% can’t handle the sight of a stranger’s hair lingering in the plughole of the hotel shower.

In fact, lack of cleanliness keeps people awake at night, with over three quarters (78%) of Brits saying they sleep better in an impeccably clean room. And savvy travellers won’t make the same mistake twice, with 84% of guests claiming they would not return for a second visit if the accommodation was unclean.

While Brits may be horrified by an unclean room, many admit to less than favourable habits when staying away from home. Over a quarter (26%) admit to dribbling on hotel pillows, 25% leave hair in the shower, and a fifth (21%) drop food on the carpet. Shockingly, 5% admit to boiling food like eggs in the kettle and 4% have let children draw on hotel walls with crayons.

Ensuring issues are rectified is vital to maintaining a spotless reputation when attracting new customers, with one third of those surveyed relying on recommendations from friends or family. Overcoming setbacks related to cleanliness will also be critical to providing a positive experience for guests with three quarters (72%) of Brits surveyed revealing they would leave a bad online review themselves if their hotel stay was unclean. This can be damaging to hospitality businesses, as most (93%) read online reviews before booking.

For potential guests, cleanliness (78%) has been revealed as the most important factor when checking reviews, more than location (64%) or service (56%). Only one in eight would consider staying in an establishment which has received less-than-stellar ratings for its hygiene, so issues like stained bed linen, hair in the sink and unsavoury smells could affect a hotel’s business. In fact, poor cleanliness can damage the bottom line according to the research. These negative experiences can impact hotels with immediate effect as 55% will want to talk to management if they come across a rude member of staff and three quarters (74%) of guests will even ask for a refund or discount because their room was not clean.

Greg Elmore, UK & Ireland Country Sales Manager at P&G Professional, said: “It is clear from this research that for hotels, the key to guest happiness is maintaining a high level of hygiene. An unclean experience can damage a hotel’s reputation, from negative reviews to the risk of losing repeat business. It is critical to ensure cleanliness is the starting point of a great guest experience.”

So, what do guests want to see in order to fall in love with a hotel and return on a regular basis? Cleanliness is of upmost importance with P&G Professional’s research exposing that three in 10 visitors would sacrifice having a nice view from their window for a spotless stay. The following attributes are what UK travellers find most appealing when looking for a hotel room;

  1. A fresh smelling bedroom (67%)
  2. An immaculate bathroom (63%)
  3. Fresh smelling bed linen (61%)
  4. No stray hairs in the bedroom or bathroom (45%)
  5. Bright, white sheets (43%)
  6. No dirty ring around the bathtub (42%)
  7. Comfortable room temperature (39%)
  8. Natural light (37%)
  9. A decent sized of bed (36%)
  10. A lovely view from the window (28%)
  11. A good sized room (27%)
  12. Stylish décor (25%)
  13. Fluffy towels (25%)
  14. A good amount of pillows (24%)
  15. Plug sockets near the bed (24%)
  16. Bright, white bathrobes (21%)
  17. No fingerprints on the mirror or window (21%)
  18. Good bathroom size (20%)
  19. Smart TV with plenty of channels (17%)
  20. Free beauty products in the bathroom (15%)


About Sarah OBeirne

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