So, are hotels scrambling to find solutions to the ambient snoring problem which, unlike other hotel noise issues, requires a more sensitive approach than, say, shutting down a rowdy party or requesting the volume on a television be lowered? J.D. Power thinks not, as noise leaves a smelly room and rude staff in its hotel guest misery dust.
Some hotel chains in the UK have enlisted hallway snore monitors (we’re not making this up), uniformed snoring police who will actually bang on a hotel guest’s door to wake them if their snoring is disturbing others. Snorers get a warning upon the first wake-up drill, and are removed to a room in an isolated part of the hotel if the monitor is called back to the room a second time. Crowne Plaza is one such hotel chain with snore monitors patrolling hallways at some of its British hotels. Management is trying out snore-absorption rooms – rooms fitted with soundproofing material to block the noise between rooms, in properties throughout Europe.
“We receive excessive snoring complaints from guests in adjacent rooms frequently,” says Florence Eavis, a spokeswoman for IHG, which owns the Crowne Plaza brand. Eaves defended the practice of waking snoring guests and removing them if necessary. She says they only take such drastic measures when the snorer just can’t be quieted.
Crowne Plaza began deploying snoring monitors in June, 2011.
No such snoring police exist in any U.S. hotels thus far, and word in the industry is that they won’t be heading here any time soon.
Stuart Greif, J.D. Power’s vice president of global travel, recently told a USA Today reporter that it’s best if guests aren’t disturbed by noise to begin with, but when it can’t be avoided, a speedy and appropriate response by the hotel is critical.
“You’ll not always be able to make everybody happy,” he says. “But making an effort and doing everything you possibly can go a long way.
“Charging guests more and providing less is not a winning combination from a guest satisfaction perspective, much less a winning business strategy,” Grief says. “In short, hoteliers are falling further behind and need to catch up.”
The J.D. Powers annual survey measures overall hotel guest satisfaction in hotels ranging from luxury to budget, with seven key measurement areas – reservations; check-in/check-out; guest room; food and beverage; hotel services; hotel facilities; and costs and fees.
According to the 2012 report, guest satisfaction has declined 7 index points from 2011, down to a 757 on a 1,000-point scale, and down significantly since the 2006 study. Satisfaction with guest rooms has declined within one point of its lowest level in the past seven years.
Not good, hotel industry. Not good.
You would think that tackling the noise issue would be top on most hotel management lists, you know, since it’s the number one complaint among guests and all, but only a handful have installed noise deadening materials and created quiet havens for their guests. Oh, guess which hotels received the highest customer satisfaction ratings?
One option for hotel chains not ready to retrofit every room with noise blocking material may be to begin with a floor of rooms and advertise them as “quiet rooms.” Guests can opt to book one of these quiet rooms, based on availability, the same way guests can reserve non-smoking rooms. To offset the cost of the sound abatement material installation,hotels can charge a slightly higher fee for a quiet room.
Our guess is that there are plenty of hotel regulars who will gladly pay a little extra for a guaranteed night of quiet.
Those hotels who scored highest on the 2012 J.D. Powers survey are repeat winners who have established excellent reputations for providing guests with comfortable, quiet accommodations.
Let’s hear it (soft clapping, please) for the Ritz-Carlton taking the top spot in guest satisfaction among luxury hotels for three years in a row and Drury Hotels taking top honors in the mid-scale, limited services segment for the seventh year in a row.
Other top hotels for customer satisfaction include Omni Hotels & Resorts, the Hilton Garden Inn, SpringHill Suites, Holiday Inn, Jameson Inn and Homewood Suites.
The key is to find a way to respect hotel guests who deserve peace and quiet when they check in to their room for a sound night’s sleep, as well as the unfortunate snorer who isn’t out to disrupt his neighbors. The only solution is an effective noise barrier between the paper-thin walls of hotel rooms.
Sure, most guests may not thank hotel management out loud for the quiet room. But they will come back.