Here’s a fun fact: In addition to my role as journalist/blogger, I’m also a trained mediator who specializes in conflict resolution. And, I’ve found the skill of “kindly complaining” to come quite in handy during my travels, especially when it comes to hotels.

I’ve experienced all sorts of problems in hotels: noisy neighbors, inadequate housekeeping, unmet expectations. But, I’ve learned the key to resolution is kindness.

So, here are some helpful tips for those moments when you need to complain (nicely) about your Hawaii hotel:

  • Do it in person: If it’s late at night or early in the morning, I’ll typically use the phone to lodge my complaint. But, any other time of day, you’ll find me in-person at the front desk. It’s much easier to get someone to listen when you do it face-to-face, and I’ve found that non-verbal communication can tell me a lot about whether the front desk clerk is taking my complaint seriously.
  • the front desk of a hotel

    Photo: Patrick Pelletier

    The front desk is the first place to turn if you encounter a problem at your Hawaii hotel.
  • Complain with a smile: Whenever I complain about something to a hotel clerk, I start by asking how they’re doing and being as nice as I can be. Sure, I may WANT to be curt and impatient, but I find that starting out on a friendly note sets the tone for the whole conversation.
  • Be clear, concise, and polite about your complaint: The front desk agents are often in a hurry, worrying about visitor back-log, so after a polite introduction, get right to the point. If you are complaining about noisy neighbors, be clear about which unit is the problem and let them know specifics. If the complaint is something about which you can document, write everything down or take pictures BEFORE you approach the agent, so he can approach the problem with written evidence.
  • Offer solutions: When you decide the problem is big enough to go to the front desk to lodge a complaint, it’s important to offer your own solution, too. For example, if your room wasn’t cleaned properly, and you just checked-in, offer to be moved to a different room while you wait for a proper cleaning. Or permanently, for that matter. Or, ask for monetary compensation for the inconvenience. If you have to stay in an alternate room because yours wasn’t cleaned, ask for a discount to be applied to your entire stay. By offering a viable solution to the problem, you’re taking the burden off management and giving them options.
  • a hotel room

    Photo: Hawaii Aloha Travel

    If your hotel room isn't cleaned properly, come up with a solution that works for all parties. Perhaps you can use another room while you wait or be compensated for the inconvenience.
  • Do you need a manager?: Speaking of management, when is it time to transfer to a manager? In my opinion, there’s always a moment when you realize the front desk clerk is unable to address your need. That’s the moment when it’s appropriate to ask for a manager. The manager has more freedom to address your problem and find a suitable solution, and they are tasked with making sure the visitor is satisfied with his visit. So that makes him an ally in your quest to solve your problem.

It costs a pretty-penny to stay in a Hawaii hotel, and you shouldn’t have to dodge problems during your stay. But if you encounter an issue, use these tips to get what you need without creating a conflict. Or rely on a travel agency, like Hawaii Aloha Travel, and its list of reputable Hawaii hotels that are sure to meet your standards! Many hotels have been vetted by agents in the company, so you’re sure to receive the very best service if you choose a hotel on our list. Where you stay is too important to leave to chance!

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