Why Am I Expected To Do The Quality Control For My Hotel Room?

by joeheg

When I get to a hotel room, I like to get a lay of the land. Become comfortable with my surroundings. Look to see if I have a nightstand on my side of the bed. Where’s the clock? Does this room have drawers, closets, baskets, or any place else to put my clothes? Or will I be living out of my suitcase while I’m there? The next thing I look for is plugs. USB plugs. Power plug. Anywhere I can plug in a phone, or work on my computer? And where’s a good place for a nightlight for late-night trips to the bathroom?

I’ve taken to holding or keeping a notepad nearby when doing this inspection because inevitably, I’m going to find something I’ll need to tell the front desk about. There are even times I took pictures and while it might take 1000 words to explain my broken shower, this image sums it up quickly.

a shower with a shower head

Previously, I felt that if a hotel fixed the problems I reported to them in a timely manner, that was acceptable. I let them know the problem, and they resolved the said problem.

But why is it MY job to tell them things are broken/old/worn in THEIR hotel??????

I realize that housekeeping needs to turn over rooms as quickly as possible. If a hotel is fully booked, someone’s waiting for that room right after the previous guest left. There’s no time to take a room out of commission to replace a lampshade.

However, it doesn’t take a technician to notice that the light in the shower isn’t turning on. There’s no specialized training required to see that an ironing board cover looks like it was run over by a truck. When the clocks change for Daylight Savings Time, is it too hard to make sure they are set to the CORRECT time? I would also think a bathroom full of water every day would let someone know that the waterproof strip along the shower door is cracked and half missing, allowing water to leak all over the floor, soaking the bath mat and whatever other items (towel, clothes)  that happen to be on the floor.

Finally, I would hope anyone looking at a bathroom would notice that the entire shower head had collapsed.

I don’t want to be someone who looks for compensation for any little thing if the room is not perfect. Light bulbs burn out, and batteries die. I understand.  However, I’m getting tired of needing to be the one to give a laundry list of items that need fixing to the front desk.

Maybe I should print out business cards saying that I’m a quality inspector and hand them to the front desk with my list of problems. I’ll advise them that my consulting fee is a room upgrade, or if none are available, I’ll take the room I was assigned, at half price, once everything is fixed, of course 😉 Think they’ll go for it?

Of course, I’m kidding, but that’s the place I’m at. We’ve only recently stayed in a room where everything worked but that’s the exception, not the rule. Even if one of those USB plugs on a lamp doesn’t work or a desk chair doesn’t go up or down anymore. Do hotels even worry about these things? Do people who work there know whose job it is to report when things are broken or who they should tell? I doubt there’s any system in place to go through rooms and proactively check to make sure everything works. It’s much easier and cheaper to wait to replace something when it breaks, and the guest lets you know.

This reminds me of the urban myth about the light bulbs on Main Street of the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland.

Main Street at night

Illuminated by countless incandescent light bulbs, it seemed as if there was never a burnt-out light. The legend was that the lamps were replaced before they burnt out, on a rotating schedule, and if by chance one did burn out anyway, it was replaced the next day by a team dedicated to keeping every light lit. I don’t know if this is true, but it’s a good story.

Well, if you visit the park today, it won’t take you long to find, not just one burnt-out light, but closer to ten or twenty or even more of them. I’m sure the cost of constant replacement led to cutting the budget, and if “good enough” looks OK, then that’s what we get. I guess the same thing has happened with hotels. It’s much cheaper just to let things break and then fix them instead of trying to keep everything 100% perfect all the time.

One thing I noticed is that I tend to get the room with busted lampshades. Like more often than I should. How do you not fix this when you see it?

.....but apparently this is an aftermarket lampshade.
Damage to lamp shade

Or how do you leave this ironing board in a hotel room where guests will be staying? It looked like something you dug out of the basement.


Or how do you leave a hotel room in active inventory with this busted dresser?

None of these pictures were from inexpensive hotels. They are all properties of major chain hotels in large U.S. cities. Am I the only one who cares about things like this anymore????

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Jennifer K Lovett May 21, 2021 - 11:55 am

I Live near a tourist area, we also have a small business in that area. So we follow a lot of social media . We are seeing so many posts about the shape of the cabins and hotel rooms. Some places DONT have someone everyday to clean. Now since we have been going like gangbusters since covid let up-everything is booked, over booked, so its not like they are not making money. In fact we see posts from folks saying they are paying twice what they paid in 2019 for the same places. Lack of workers may be part of the trouble, but I agree, why do we have to make the check list and tell them>>

txrus June 13, 2021 - 7:13 pm

No, you are not the only one who cares about stuff like this & who can’t understand how/why hotels allow their properties to get into this state & then leave them that way. There was a HGI that I stayed in monthly literally for 3+ years-staff took great care of us & even had rooms earmarked for us when we came (specific rooms/floors/areas, etc). The bathroom in my room had a peeled piece of wallpaper over the toilet that, in the whole time I stayed there, was never fixed. The hotel handyman would make it a point to find us @ breakfast on our first morning w/his notepad in hand for all the things we would find that needed to be fixed (burned out bulbs, remote control not working, slow running drains, etc). Like you said, though, why did it take us coming for this stuff to be taken care of? If the rooms have to be ‘inspected’ by housekeeping prior to check in, how do things like this keep getting missed??

Randy June 14, 2021 - 5:03 pm

Stayed at a Hyatt Place a few weeks ago by ATL. There are two lights over the couch. One of them was controlled by the wall switch, but only one of the two bulbs was working. The other one had to be plugged and unplugged to work, as there was no switch on it. Obviously this is a known issue because the couch was pulled out away from the plug when I got to the room so that you could plug the lamp in when needed.

As I get older, I need more light to read and one of my biggest complaints about hotel rooms nowadays is the lack of bright lighting in the room, if needed.

StAugustine October 9, 2022 - 10:30 am

I don’t check if the clock is reading the right time. I unplug the clock. If I don’t, the alarm invariably goes off at 3:23 AM or some other ungodly hour. I have a clock app on my phone that works well.

MFB123 October 9, 2022 - 1:20 pm

Full service hotels do have Floor Managers who act as QA inspectors. However, the labor shortage is real in many areas and there is definitely a trickle up effect. The other problem (strictly my opinion) is that certain companies have been allowed to absorb their competition and seemingly care less about enforcing reasonable standards amongst the property owners.

UnaDobbs October 8, 2023 - 6:43 am

On the note of USB connectors in the rooms; don’t use those. If they’ve been tampered with, those ports could duplicate or download data from your devices. They’re not powerful enough for charging modern day devices either… it’s a frustrating slow trickle. If you insist on using these, there are adapters you can buy for a few bucks that would prevent data transfers.

I travel through Italy a lot and dealing with broken, janky rooms seems par for the course. Even at some of the higher end Marriott properties. Room inspection is a must. Unpacking everything at 8pm, only to find your toilet barely flushes, is bitter as nobody is coming to fix that before you need to do serious business there. Especially in Italy, where the usual response is a shrug and “its a fix day after tomorrow”.


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