In an online survey of 1,219 adults commissioned by hotel communications software producer ALICE, 62 percent of respondents complained that unfriendly staff are the most frustrating part of their hotel stay.

MOST HOTELS TELL their staff to be friendly with guests, but a new survey commissioned by hotel communications software producer ALICE found that unfriendly employees really are a big problem for travelers. Other concerns uncovered by the survey include out-of-date technology in rooms and service delays.

ALICE’s “Hotels at Face Value” report is based on an online survey of 1,219 adults conducted by research firm YouGov. The survey found that 62 percent of respondents complained that unfriendly staff are the most frustrating part of their hotel stay. It also found that 59 percent of guests who make amenities a priority are most concerned with a hotel’s ratings and reviews. Friendly hotel staff is a priority for 49 percent of those travelers, meaning staff response can be a driver for good, or bad, reviews.

“Knowing that a majority of guests pay the most attention to staff friendliness and attentiveness, hoteliers cannot afford to forget the art of hospitality,” said ALICE President and Co-Founder Alex Shashou. “Hospitality is a feeling guests get, and personalization is how it is delivered. If hotels don’t want to be viewed as a commodity, then they need to stop treating their guests like one.”

In other findings, 38 percent of respondents said they were frustrated by the front desk taking too long to complete requests; 34 percent cited outdated technology in rooms; and 31 percent complained about delays in service from hotel staff.

The survey stressed a need for different forms of communications between guests and hotels. While 32 percent of respondents said they prefer to communicate with hotel staff directly and in person at the front desk, the results varied with age. For example, 15 percent of millennials surveyed preferred text messages, 17 percent of 35-54-year-olds want an email survey from the hotel before they arrive, and 66 percent of those 55 and older prefer to call hotels directly.

Most hotels seem to understand the importance of guest satisfaction. In July, the J.D. Power 2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index found guests’ overall satisfaction rose 8 points on the 1,000-point index to 825.