8 Worst Things Hotel Guests Do That Drive the Staff Crazy

These Are the Worst Things Hotel Guests Do That Drive the Staff Crazy

Consider this your primer on hotel etiquette.

We all love a good hotel stay, don’t we? Unfortunately, not all of us are good hotel guests. It’s okay to enjoy your hard-earned vacation — whether it’s a nearby staycation, an out-of-town holiday, a business trip, or a mix of these. But sometimes, people can take the fun a few steps too far and veer into rude, disrespectful, and annoying territory.  

Hotel staff encounter a steady stream of travellers daily — some of them great, while others are a little (or a lot) harder to deal with. Which one do you think are you? We were curious, too! And so, we spoke to a couple of hospitality industry employees about the things hotel guests do that can make the staff want to pull out their hair.

* Some names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Things you should avoid doing, according to real-life hotel staff

1. Treating hotel staff as your personal help

bad hotel guests habits

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It’s true that hotel employees often go out of their way to make your vacation fun and stress-free. But that still doesn’t mean they’re required to wait on you hand and foot. Remember that you’re only one guest among many and that personal favours are not part of the room you’re paying for.

Asha* recalled a guest staying at one of their dormitory rooms who had a wet pair of shoes he wanted to dry quickly. “He asked if we had a blow dryer,” said Asha. “Then, he proceeded to ask one of our staff to blow dry his wet shoes for him!”

Remember: There’s a limit to the perks that hotel guests are entitled to. If you need something — such as babysitting or laundry facilities — ask the front desk whether they provide these services instead of grabbing a hotel employee you see and making them do extra work. Even if they agree, that doesn’t mean it’s okay.

2. Having unreasonable expectations and demands

housekeeper hotel

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Making staff do personal work is one example of a hotel guest’s unreasonable demands, but it’s far from the only one. The list of unreasonable guest requests is endless, but common ones include free meals and drinks, upgrades, and super-early check-ins. Sometimes, guests will show up as early as the middle of the night and ask for their room without wanting to pay for an extra night. 

It can also involve constant complaining — or worse, getting angry — about things beyond the staff’s control, such as outdoor noise, size of the rooms, parking, and hotel prices. At times, it’s understandable for guests to get a little disgruntled. That said, some things are simply beyond the hotel’s scope, too. At the end of the day, don’t let it ruin your vacation.

3.  Failing to read the terms and conditions

hotel staff

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We know, we know. Who has the time to read the fine print, right? But it basically boils down to knowing exactly what you’re signing up for — even if you don’t read the document line by line. 

Geo Yatco, who worked as a reservations sales agent at New World Makati Hotel, shared that this often presents a problem when clients book their rooms through a third-party website. While these online portals usually offer lower rates, they also have their own set of terms and conditions different from the hotel. 

“You should know that if you book through an online travel agency, you cannot make any changes to your booking except through that online travel agency first,” said Geo. “These changes include cancelling of the booking, rescheduling the booking, adjusting the number of guests, extending or cutting short a stay, adding or removing the breakfast inclusion, upgrading or downgrading the room type — the list goes on.”

Guests will often call the hotel directly, asking for changes to their reservations. But Geo explained that bookings made on third-party websites have already been paid through that website. “Therefore, the refund, adjusting of room stay price, and other changes can only be done by that same online travel agency.”

Also read: 15 Picturesque Airbnb Homes & Vacation Rentals Along the Amalfi Coast of Italy

4. Leaving the toilet dirty and unflushed

toilet cleaning

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On the list of the most annoying things hotel guests do, this one ranks pretty high. And it’s also shockingly common. We’re saying it now: Always flush the toilet after using it, please. If you’re staying in a hostel with a shared bathroom, leaving the toilet dirty isn’t just disrespectful to the staff but to fellow guests, too. Flush not working? Call the front desk for assistance instead of leaving it unflushed. 

And speaking about guest behaviour that should be common sense…

5. Leaving trash scattered all over the room

hotel guests hotel staff cleaning

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If you really want to make the housekeeper’s job a lot easier, throw your trash in the bin. It seems like this one is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many hotel guests don’t bother throwing their garbage properly. Hint: The trash bin is there for a reason. Ultimately, hotel etiquette is all about being mindful and respecting the space you’re occupying.

6. Checking out without paying

beach view

Image credit: Johannes W

It sounds absurd, but in Geo and his colleagues’ experience, it happens often enough to be a problem. Sometimes, corporate guests with sponsored stays or discounted rates will simply leave without settling the bill — whether by intent or genuine ignorance, the staff can’t really be certain.

Guests booking through third-party websites can also be guilty of sneaking out without paying, particularly if they opt to pay upon checking out — an option that isn’t typically offered outside online booking agencies. If this happens, make sure you settle your bill before whisking away to your next destination.

“If a guest doesn’t settle their account, one of two things can happen,” said Geo. “One, the front office can allocate from their budget to cover the stay costs. Two, and this is the worst of the two, a front office staff member must pay for the guest’s room costs from their own salary.”

As Geo pointed out, some guests stay in a hotel for weeks before leaving without settling their costs. Imagine the total costs an innocent hotel employee has to pay for something they didn’t even enjoy. We didn’t know it even needed stating, but this goes for any product or service: Pay your bills.

7. Being aggressive

hotel staff front office hotel guests

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Even in infuriating situations, it’s important to maintain a cool head and refrain from shouting at employees. “Most of us are just trying to do our jobs,” said Jimmy*. Getting angry and yelling won’t usually make things go your way any faster — actually, a solution might even take longer as the staff wait for your temper to cool down. 

Remember to always give everyone the level of respect you expect to get in return. Beyond hotel etiquette, this is just good manners. Trust us, when you’re screaming bloody murder, the only one who’s coming across as a tool is you.

And while we’re at it, refrain from talking down to the hotel workers. These are the people behind your dream vacation, after all. The least you can do is treat them with basic decency. A smile and “thank you” goes a long way.  

8. Constantly changing their minds about what they want


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We get it. It’s your big day, whether it’s a wedding, an anniversary, or a career shindig. But there’s nothing that grinds the gears of hotel event staff more than the ever-changing minds of guests — especially when they’re being not-so-nice about it.

“Clients for events can be very indecisive and unclear about the event packages and changes they want to make,” said Geo, who works with people from the events department. “Throughout the months before the event, some clients will keep changing details without keeping track of those requests. Even worse, they’ll change them back and forth for unknown reasons.”

Sometimes, they’ll even get angry at the employees for following the instructions that they requested. Make it make sense, right?

To avoid being confused and overwhelmed by the details, we recommend discussing details and changes through email. That way, you’ll be able to backtrack and avoid making conflicting directions.

Also read: Real-Life Flight Attendants Share Their Top Pet Peeves About Fliers

So, what’s the verdict? Even the worldliest of travellers may have been guilty of at least one of these super-annoying things hotel guests do that drive the staff crazy. Looking back, I’ve definitely shown up early to a hotel in hopes of getting checked in before my actual schedule. Don’t worry; there’s always room for improvement when it comes to hotel etiquette.

 Featured image credit: Nik Lanus | Unsplash

About Author

Celia Grace Nachura
Celia Grace Nachura

There are very few things Celia won’t do for a good story, but her favourite ones always involve the beach, animals, or any type of outdoor activity. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, and can usually be found typing away at home with her cute dogs at her feet. Away from work, she spends most of her time trying out every hobby she can get her hands on, from running to crocheting to baking (she’s pretty okay at most things that don't involve cooking).


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