How to avoid scams in hotels: 10 tips for traveling quiet this summer
- The user has the right to demand a change of room due to discomfort caused by the company, such as unpleasant noises or smells.
- When a valuable object disappears in the room, it is very difficult to prove the loss and demand responsibility.
- If you have paid for a service that is not offered then, the establishment must compensate the customer.
- Betting on the client is the recommendation of the expert Maricruz Cádiz Gómez, technical director of the Institute for Tourism Quality.
Faced with a scattered and not very detailed regulation, the consumer has to pay close attention to the contract when booking a hotel room. The 15,739 hotel establishments that exist in Spain, according to data from May of this year collected in the National Institute of Statistics (INE), follow a regulation that varies according to the autonomous community.
Despite the differences, Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007 sets a common guideline that protects the consumer. The hotels must always inform of all the services that will then be charged and all the conditions must be detailed. Thus, the hotelier must communicate if the wifi is paid , if access to certain areas such as the spa is restricted or if the cancellation of the reservation involves losing the payment made.
Hotels should always inform of all the services that will be charged
” Hotels are like small cities where many regulations are involved”, exemplifies Maricruz Cádiz, technical director of the Institute for Tourism Quality (ICTE).
The expert insists that, independently of complying with the reference legislation, it is vital to comply with the client’s expectations. “The quality is very related to the expectations that are created in the client, we must inform him adequately”.
When this does not occur, misleading advertising is created. If the client perceives that his / her rights are being violated, the first thing to do is ask for the claim form and complete it . In the event that the establishment refuses, the user can call the Police, as explained by Miguel Ángel Serrano of the Facua legal department, consumer association.
These are the rules that you must know to avoid scams and deceptions this summer.
1. ¿Overbooking of rooms? Sometimes, hotels accept more bookings and exceed the number of rooms available to ensure that none remains empty. Sometimes it happens that the tourist is unpleasantly surprised that the room he booked weeks ago is already occupied.
Faced with this situation, the hotelier is obliged to find another accommodation of the same or better conditions for the same day and all the following contracted. In addition, from Facua recommended to demand some kind of compensation for the inconvenience caused.
2. Noises, smells, flaws … can you change rooms? “For reasons attributable to the hotel, the company must offer a solution, everything that may cause inconvenience should be remedied by the company,” explains Miguel Angel Serrano.
Even so, he adds that we must analyze the concrete case to see the origin of the problem. For example, if the noise is external due to an event such as parties in a locality, the establishment is not responsible.
3. What if an object of value disappears in the room? Although the hotel must guarantee the security of its facilities, in practice it is very difficult to prove the loss of money or expensive objects.
” This is a controversial issue, the user has to prove that he had it,” says Serrano. If you carry objects of high value, it is best to ask at the reception for security services, such as the use of the safe. If this service fails, the hotel would then have responsibility.
4. Is there no food left at breakfast? Unless otherwise stated in the contract and clearly communicated to the client, the user who arrives five minutes before the closing time of the buffet has the right to consume his breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The company is obliged to serve the food when the customer arrives within the designated hours. “Otherwise, we must return the corresponding proportional part,” warns Serrano.
5. Is it legal to charge for extra supplements? Pillows, toothbrushes, shampoo, soaps … Everything that is included in the invoice must appear in the contract and last minute supplements can not be added.
“What is not contemplated in the contract is not required by the company, if a room is contracted, you can not demand extra pillows or sheets, all charges must be communicated to the client,” says the Facua representative .
6. Pay for the reservation? Each establishment can set its own booking conditions as long as the contract is not abusive. Some ask for an advance payment every night, others just a sign or some even a totally free reservation.
That is why it is very important that the consumer read the contract very well . “The reservation conditions have had to be duly communicated to the client, always according to the community’s legislation,” explains Maricruz Cádiz of ICTE.
The contract must specify the cancellation cost
The cancellation cost must also be specified in the contract, which will depend on the region and the hotel’s own regulations.
7. What if the pool is under construction? When a service paid later is not offered, the client has the right to complain to the hotel when the circumstances are not external.
If travelers find the pool under construction, they may demand that they return some of the money . “When a client reserves an accommodation, he does it thinking about all the services he offers, if this service has been essential to pay for the room, as it can be a pool in summer, that proportional part must be reintegrated,” explains Serrano.
In addition, if the breach has been very serious, the client can request “the resolution of the entire contract”.
8. Do all hotels have to be accessible for people with disabilities? The Accessibility Law must always be complied with, but according to Maricruz Cádiz, “thinking about a 100% adaptation for all cases is very complicated”.
The problems are very varied: visual, auditory, mobility … From the Institute for Tourism Quality, insist that it is essential that customers are adequately informed of all access and conditions of accommodation.
“We have detected that there are users who ask and do not know how to give information, the staff should know if there is a step or if a ramp is 20 or 45 degrees, because it is not the same for people who have to travel in It is also necessary to inform if the parking area is too far from the building, if there is adapted furniture … The most important thing is to inform the client when he / she asks for it “, says Cádiz.
9. Is the price linked to quality? Although it is an important factor, prices are free and, in the case of the hotel market, the law of supply and demand is a key factor. Depending on the season, you can triple or quadruple the price of the same room.
Not always the most expensive accommodations will be the best
Although the luxury factor determines to some extent the price, it is not the most important. Hotels with more stars do not have to cost more and, sometimes, a hostel can be worth the same as a luxury establishment, depending on factors such as demand and destination. Not always the most expensive accommodations will be the best, nor the other way around.
10. What time is the ‘check-in’ and the ‘check-out’? When you arrive at the hotel for the first time, the user must perform some registration procedures and the company can establish a schedule for it, as well as the last day. Although each community regulates this issue, in principle the establishment is free to mark a maximum time.
“You have to inform about the departure and entry times of the booking conditions, usually at 12.00, although sometimes this time is earlier than 10.00”, explains the expert.
There are establishments that offer a ‘late check out’, but paying an additional fee.
Rating hotels by points and stars
In Spain there are 17 different hotel classification regulations. While some still have the traditional system that grants more or less stars according to the square meters and the inclusion of accessories such as telephone, safe or air conditioning; There are already many that are adapting to the European qualification system, which instead of giving so much importance to the space, is awarded to the quality in the service.
Two points for offering Wifi, iron or a mirror
The Hotelstars model works with a very detailed scoring system, in which some requirements are obligatory and others optional. The regulations in the Balearic Islands are very similar to this regulation. In it, a 1 star hotel must reach 120 points and one of five stars 700 points. The note is based on very varied elements: from two points for offering Wifi, iron or a mirror, to 6 points for having natural plants.
“In Spain [with the old model] we reach limits of requirements that reach up to the step widths or the distance between walls and handrails”, explains Esther Montalvá Medina, expert in Tourist Law at Legal Travel. “Hoteliers suffer the thousands and millions of euros they have invested every time the regulations change and they have to adapt their facilities.”
Up to 300,000 hotels in 15 countries in Europe follow the model Hotelstars Union. In Spain, among the communities that have more or less equalized their regulation to the European system, in addition to the Baleras Islands, include Castilla y León, Madrid, La Rioja and Galicia. Other communities such as the Basque Country are working along these lines.
With so much variation of norm, not only in Spain, also abroad, it is difficult to trust the number of stars to choose the home of the holidays. Finally, we must remember that the 6 or 7 stars do not exist in Spain and that it is only a marketing facade.
The opinion of the expert
‘Betting on the client’, by Maricruz Cádiz Gómez. Technical director of the Institute for Tourism Quality
Undoubtedly, the Spanish tourism industry has a broad regulatory framework; However, the high level of competition and the increasingly informed and experienced tourists demand ‘something more’ . And this something more happens without doubt to improve the visitor experience through a customer-oriented service, a staff that knows how to anticipate the demands of this, a well-managed facilities and services appropriate to the expectations of those who hire them.
Tourism quality is undoubtedly the cornerstone of this equation: it improves the competitiveness of Spanish tourism companies, favors customer loyalty and benefits the destination.