Hotel Laundry: Common Issues and Major Expenses

Hotel Laundry: Common Issues & Major Expenses

Hotel Laundry: Common Issues & Major Expenses

Hotel Laundry: Common Issues & Major Expenses

In my previous newsletter, I discussed the basics of designing a hotel laundry area. Today, I present some important considerations for creating a well-maintained laundry system. I also discuss approximate hotel laundry expenses according to various hotel laundry needs.

 

LAUNDRY ROOM PLACEMENT:

  • High extraction hard mount washers tend to vibrate, so these units should be installed on the ground floor and bolted to a 12-inch concrete slab, if possible.
  • During the initial conceptual space planning, you need to think through laundry travel routes from the guestrooms, meeting areas, and amenity spaces to the laundry room. Avoiding interaction between hotel laundry loads and guests is critical. Therefore, a rear opening elevator with direct laundry room access is an important aspect of your ground floor design considerations.
  • Dryer units should always be installed on an outside wall when possible so that make-up air and venting lengths can be kept to a minimum.

Typical Dryer Exhaust Venting

COMMON ISSUES:

  • Undersized Laundry Rooms – Efficiently running laundry operations require space for housekeeping staff to work and maneuver carts. Developers who are not operating the hotel often mistakenly undersize these spaces to prioritize front-of-house space for guests. Dryers should also have a minimum of 2 feet (3′ preferred) clearance behind equipment to aid in maintenance.
  • Undersized Equipment – Similar to undersized rooms, if developers are not familiar with BOH (back-of-house) laundry operations, they may undersize equipment as part of a value engineering exercise. Having equipment that cannot keep up with laundering demands leads to extended housekeeping hours.
  • Door Access – Restricted door access is a common problem! For example, a typical 75-pound dryer will not fit through a standard 36-inch wide door. A larger 120-pound unit can be more than 46 inches wide. Designers must carefully think through door sizing and access to ensure units can be delivered to the space.
  • Dryer Make-up Air – A typical tumble dryer uses forced air exhaust, which requires make-up air to replace vented air. A standard 75-pound dryer requires nearly 200 in2 of open access to fresh air. High-performance models require 250 in2 or more. These openings should not be located near venting grilles (see below) in order to avoid reintroduction. Owners should be cautious of ground clutter and snow which can obstruct these openings and dramatically reduce the performance of the equipment.
  • Dryer Venting – Units must also be vented. Manufacturers recommend individual venting with one duct per unit to fresh air with a 14-foot maximum run. Although not preferred, manifold venting using a main collector duct may also be used. A laundry vendor should always be consulted for proper sizing.
  • Dryer Enclosures & Noise – Manufacturers recommend enclosing tumble dryers in order to segregate the make-up air supply. This process also reduces the heat emissions in the laundry room by up to 80% and significantly cuts down on noise emissions which can be a common guest complaint for hotel rooms near laundry operations.

Typical Dryer Enclosure

COST BREAKDOWN:

  • Hard Mount Washers – Washers can be the most expensive part of a hotel laundry operation. Typically, these washers range from $10,000 to $13,000 per unit for a 65-pound unit. Larger 85-pound units may exceed $17,000.
  • Dryers – A typical 75-pound fast-dry tumbler typically costs around $5,000 per unit. Larger 120-pound units may cost more than $8,000.
  • Delivery & Installation – Although varying by geographic location, developers typically budget around $2,500 for installation of units.

 

Hotel EMS – Conserve Energy Without Sacrificing Guest Comfort!

Hotel EMS – Conserve Energy Without Sacrificing Guest Comfort!

Hotel EMS – Conserve Energy Without Sacrificing Guest Comfort!

 

In my last newsletter, I discussed Energy Management Systems (EMS) as an option to reduce energy waste in your hotel. One of the most common concerns about an EMS is that they shut off while hotel guests are sleeping due to lack of motion in the guestroom. After all, no hotel owner wants guests’ complaints in the middle of the night about their AC unit not working due to a faulty occupancy sensor reading. While this was a concern with earlier occupancy sensors, sensor technology has become infinitely more accurate in the past few years. A good sensor setup with supplemental sensors can result in a very accurate room reading.

Side By Side Guestroom

Below are the six major in-room components that can make up a typical EMS.

  • Smart Thermostats – These wireless thermostats typically have internal occupancy sensors built-in. Some of them can have PIR (Passive Infrared) ability that detects infrared radiation of the guests and identifies occupied rooms by comparing it to unoccupied ones. Then, it can adjust guestroom temperature and fan settings accordingly. Also, networked thermostats can track HVAC run-times and system usage.
  • Supplemental Occupancy Sensors – These sensors are an effective solution when guestroom geometry does not allow thermostat sensors to cover all areas effectively. These sensors are mounted on the guestroom wall or ceiling. Some of the sensors with PIR feature detect the presence of a sleeping guest. This helps EMS to work the HVAC system properly during the night.
  • Smart Outlets – Smart outlets can monitor power consumption and control any electric device in guestrooms. Outlets can stop or engage the flow of power to one or both outlet plugs. This allows guestroom lighting, appliances, and televisions in vacant rooms to be turned off automatically.
  • Smart Light Switches – Similar to smart outlets, smart switches operate just like a standard light switch, yet have the ability to stop power flow to lights. They are controlled by commands from a smart thermostat, occupancy sensor, or hotel (Property Management Systems) PMS.
  • Smart Door & Window Sensors – Smart sensors serve as supplemental occupancy detectors that wirelessly recognize the opening and closing of entry doors, balcony doors, and windows.  This data is then sent to the thermostat for necessary adjustments (e.g., shutting off the HVAC system when the balcony door opens).
  • Smart TVWith Smart TVs, hotel guests can stream music, watch movies, connect to social media, and even make dinner reservations. When connected to a hotel PMS, front desk staff can display a welcome screen that activates upon guest check-in.

Guestroom Details P2

Guest Profiles
Occupancy detection and scheduling are the key mechanisms for controlling guestroom environment. Please see below for an example of EMS guestroom profile per occupied/unoccupied rooms in both warm and cold climates:

Guestroom Settings Winter

 

In our final newsletter on guestroom EMS, we will explore the typical upfront costs and ROIs generated by these systems. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone.

 

Does My Hotel Need a Generator?

Does My Hotel Need a Generator?

Does My Hotel Need a Generator?

Hospitality leaders must prioritize the safety and comfort of their guests!  One important consideration is your provision of an uninterrupted power supply. Guests expect hotel power will be functioning, regardless of natural disasters or other unforeseen electrical malfunctions. During unanticipated power outages, maintaining a reliable power source is vital to serving your guests. In this newsletter, I focus on the basics of hotel generators.

Does My Hotel Require a Generator?
In most cases, a generator required if a hotel has 5 or more floors above the grade.

What types of generators are used?

Both natural gas and diesel generators are acceptable.  However, for a typical 100-key, limited service hotel, a natural gas generator is used for the following reasons:

  • Natural gas doesn’t require storing large quantities of fuel or signing a fuel delivery contract.
  • Natural gas units are typically smaller and more appropriately sized (100-250 kW) for typical hotel demands.

What does a generator need to power in my hotel? 

According to National Electrical Code (NEC), a generator typically supplies power to three main areas.

1. Emergency Circuits:

  • Egress path lights
  • Exit lights
  • Fire pumps
  • Fire alarms
  • Card readers
  • Magnetic door holds
  • Other critical and life safety circuits

2. Code Required Standby Circuits

  • Elevators
  • Building emergency lighting
  • Data & communication system
  • Ventilation and smoke removal
  • Front desk outlets

Outdoor Generator

3. Optional Standby Circuits:

  • Food storage & processing
  • HVAC units
  • Electric sockets

While not required by code, optional standby circuits allow hoteliers to maintain an expected level of guest experience- especially at the higher chain scales where guest comfort remains a top priority.

Generator manufacturing brand

What should I consider when I place a generator on site?

  • Flooding –  Generators should be elevated, especially in coastal areas.
  • Sound Considerations – Generators are loud, so designing sound barriers is advised.
  • Guest Site Lines – Generators are large, bulky pieces of equipment that require strategic placement to remain out of sight.
  • Access – Technicians must be able to access and service generators, requiring proper clearances around the units.

What is the size of a typical hotel generator?
A typical 150 kW generator is approximately 10’ long by 5’ wide by 6’ tall and weighs 7,000 lbs.  This is a very large piece of equipment that must be accounted for during the early design phase.

Do I have to regularly test my generator?
Yes, according to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), you must regularly test generators.

I’m looking forward receiving further questions from you to discuss the most suitable generator options for your project. Please don’t hesitate to contact me by email or phone.

Hoteliers Now Considering Salt Water Pools

Hoteliers Now Considering Salt Water Pools

Salt Water Pools Header

Hotel Developers Now Considering Salt Water Pools

Love them or loathe them, pools are a brand required amenity for many popular hotel flags. For hotel owner, it’s important to understand your options when it comes to pool technology as it ultimately will affect the overall maintenance, costs, and guest experience at your property. In this newsletter, I’ll discuss a growing trend in pool design of saline (salt water) pool systems.

There are two major misconceptions with salt water pools that are important to address:

 

 

Myth #1:  Salt Water Pools Are Chlorine-Free

This is by far the most common misconception. A salt water pool and a chlorinated pool both use chlorine to kill bacteria. The main difference is simply in the way the sterilizing agent is added to your pool.  With chlorinated pools, chlorine is added directly to the pool water. Salt water pools use a chlorine generator and create the chlorine on site.

Myth #2: Salt water Pools Are Extremely Salty

Despite their misleading name, salt water pools are not like salt water found in the ocean. Salt water pools typically only have 1/10 or less the salinity of sea water.

Hotel Pool Design Rendering03

Hotel Pool Design Rendering02

The Basics:

  1. Salt water pool technology has been around for over 50 years when it was first used in Australia.  (Today over 80% of all pools in Australia are salt water)
  2. Salt water pools work by converting salt to chlorine using a chlorine generator the key component of every salt water pool system.
  3. The bacteria-killing chlorine created through this process is the same one found in a traditionally chlorinated pool.
  4. The generator produces a constant stream of chlorine, which means the chlorine level is typically much lower in a salt water pool than a traditionally chlorinated one.
  5. Some wellness brands, such as Element by Westin (Marriott) and EVEN Hotels (IHG) require-saline based pools systems.

Major Benefits:

  1. Less Maintenance – Chlorinated pools require constant surveillance and testing not required by salt water pools. Since the generator produces chlorine at a steady stream, only chlorine and pH levels must still be monitored with no need to add regular doses to the pool.
  2. Softer Feel – Those that swim in salt water hotel pools describe the water to be ‘silky.’ –  This is similar to the effect of a water softener in your home where the addition of salt makes the water feel ‘softer.’ – Many people prefer this feel over chlorinated water.
  3. Easier on the Clothes, Eyes, and Skin – Because of the way chlorine is generated in a salt water pool, the chlorine levels are generally much lower. The lower chlorine levels mean salt water pools protect eyes, skin, and bathing suit. Hotel guests that experience irritations from chlorine will likely have fewer problems. Saline systems are often recognized to be a “greener” choice for hotel developers looking for the sustainable route.
  4. Safer and Lower Liability – At higher levels, traditional liquid or tablet chlorine can be dangerous. Recently, a hotel in Maryland had to be evacuated when guests were complaining of eye irritation in the pool area.  It was later found that a 5-gallon container of chlorine tablets had gotten wet in the chemical storage area, resulting in spreading odors and negative guest experience. A salt water pool does not require large doses of chlorine, greatly reducing potential environmental, health or legal concerns for owners. Also, this solution fits to hotels with rooftop pools as liquid chlorine need not be delivered through guest occupied areas of a hotel.

Hotel Pool Design Rendering05

Drawbacks

  1. Initial Cost – The biggest drawback for most hotel owners is the initial investment required for salt water pool equipment, which can cost thousands of dollars. It should to be noted that some or all this cost can be recouped due to the savings on maintenance and purchasing/storing of chemicals.  Typically, developers need 3-4 years to get a return on the installation cost.
  2. Complexity –Salt water systems are a bit more complex and likely require professional for assistance when problems arise. it is more likely that you will need to reach out to a professional for assistance.
  3. Corrosivity – Although you are not dealing with concentrated chlorine, salt by itself can be extremely corrosive and damaging. Developers sometimes report damage to ladders, pool decking, fixtures, and more due to the effects of salt water. Usually these problems arise from improper maintenance or outdated equipment, but the risks still exist.

Hoteliers considering a salt water pool need to evaluate the initial upfront investment, maintenance, and ultimate end guest experience they want to give their customers. If you have a salt water pool at your hotel – we’d love to get your feedback on both the benefits and drawbacks you’ve experienced!

 

 

 

How To Keep Your Hotel Guestrooms Quiet!

How To Keep Your Hotel Guestrooms Quiet!

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How to keep your hotel guestrooms quiet! 

Flanking Noise Sources
We discussed two of the most common sources of flanking noise. (Link to Part 5a) This week we focus on two additional sources and how to reduce and eliminate them in your hotel. As a brief reminder, flanking noise is simply noise that transfers from one space to another via an indirect pathway. Below are the most common sources of flanking noise and the related design ideas to reduce such noise in your hotel guestrooms:

 

1. Connecting/Communicating Doors 

These are doors that directly connect guestrooms to one another through the demising wall. In terms of noise pollution, connecting doors are the weakest link.  In fact, many guests specifically request that they not be placed in a room with a connecting door due to the added noise. However, since most hotel franchises require 10% of the rooms have connecting door options, you cannot avoid this source of noise.

Luckily, you can control some of this noise via a communicating door system. A communicating door system involves two independent doors that face each other to create an airlock between them. This system yields much higher performance than a single door.  But be careful! Design considerations make all the difference when using a communicating door system. Here is what you must know:

  • You will need a wide enough demising wall space with room enough to accommodate the protrusion of the door handles on each side, as shown in the graphic below.
  • You must use a heavy solid-core door as their hollow-core interior alternative will not perform nearly as well.  Hollow core wood doors have an STC range of 18-22 whereas most comparable solid-core doors range from 29-32 due to the additional mass.
  • Proper sealing is also very important. As required by many franchises, you should choose specialized acoustic door seals for placement around the entire jamb.
  • You should utilize a sweep or automatic drop down seal at the base of the door. Automatic drop downs are beneficial in areas of transitional height between your door threshold and guestroom flooring (ie.heavy carpet) as shown in the graphic below.

Communicating-Doors

Automatic-Door-Bottom-Graphic-1

2. Ceiling Can Lighting

Similar to outlet boxes, ceiling can lights create holes in your assembly and eliminate the drywall layer. Noise then travels through the metal cans from the rooms above.  Fortunately, proper design limits the effects of this noise, as follows:

  • Eliminate all ceiling can lighting. This is one of the reasons you rarely see ceiling can lights in most hotel guestrooms.
  • Install ceiling cans in a soffit. While not always possible due to ceiling height requirements and RCPs, the soffits provide opportunity for a layer of drywall above the can and maintain an effective sound-barrier.
  • Utilize backer boxes. Although not always economically feasible, backer boxes create a sound-isolated box in which to mount the can and reduce sound transmission. See the below graphics for helpful details.

Ceiling-Can-Lighting-Graphic-2

 

Fáilte Ireland highlights need for more hotel rooms

Fáilte Ireland calls for hotel room investment outside Dublin

 

Image result for failte ireland hotelThe report highlights that the biggest squeeze is in Kilkenny, where 41 new rooms are likely to come on stream by 2022 to add to the current supply

With the number of tourists visiting Irish shores estimated to rise by about a fifth over the next five years, Fáilte Ireland has undertaken a study of hotel room capacity in some of the country’s major cities outside Dublin.

And, the tourism body’s assessment of Cork, Galway, and Kilkenny suggests a significant overall gap between new hotel rooms coming on stream and likely demand for these rooms.

Chief executive of Fáilte Ireland Paul Kelly said the report “takes a look at the pipeline development of hotel rooms over the next five years.

“We’ve done this in Dublin over the last number of years and because of the spread of tourism around the country increasing and great growth coming outside of Dublin, we are now looking at other areas.”

The report highlights that the biggest squeeze is in Kilkenny, where 41 new rooms are likely to come on stream by 2022 to add to the current supply.

 

On the situation in Kilkenny, Mr Kelly said: “Only about a 4% increase is what’s currently in the pipeline, so we believe there is significant opportunity for the private sector to invest and to develop further hotel stock in Kilkenny.

“There is a tremendous tourism offering that’s already there, it’s getting better all the time, we’re investing, the local are investing, and it’s becoming a more and more popular tourism destination.”

The Fáilte Ireland CEO said it is calling on a “combination of all” types of investor to get involved in the hotel sector.

“There are two fundamental ways to increase the number of hotel bedrooms. You can extend existing hotels or you can build new hotels.

“We’re signalling this to all of the existing operators that are in the market, we’re signalling it to landowners who may have suitable sites in the area, we’re signalling it to property developers who can buy those sites – so to the entire market really.”

 

Mr Kelly said there is already significant investment in the pipeline for both Dublin and Cork when it comes to new hotel rooms.

Galway, which is currently at 82% annual occupancy, also has significant room for investment.

With an estimated 17% increase in hotel bed stock over the next five years (500 new hotel rooms), this growth is likely to fall short of expected demand, according to Fáilte Ireland.

For Cork, Mr Kelly says there is “a very healthy pipeline of development.

“Cork is coming from a little bit behind probably where it should be in terms of hotel stock but it’s great to see there’s about a 35% increase due in the pipeline in the next five years and that will be needed.”

This 35% rise equates to over 920 new hotel rooms in Cork by 2022.

On the impact Government plans to crack down on Airbnb lettings might have on hotel room demand, Mr Kelly said: “We’re still working through the exact implications of this for tourism.

“It seems from the information we’ve been able to get so far, the vast majority of the stock that’s available through Airbnb is less than the 90 days and the vast majority is people who are renting out a room in their house.”

He added: “From what we’ve seen so far it doesn’t look like it will have a major effect” on hotel room supply”.

However, he added “one of the big concerns in that area is that we need to make sure that the long-established self-catering sector of the Irish tourism economy in rural Ireland that can support hotels does not get inadvertently hit by these new regulations”.

Meals of the hotel industry: inclusion figure-t-elle au menu?

Image result for hotel meals

The inclusion of people with disabilities in the hotel and catering trades? You do not think about it, way too complicated! So, under the impetus of the employers’ organizations of the professional branch HCR (Hotels, cafes, restaurants), agreements with the Agefiph (Fund for the integration of disabled people in the private sector) were signed to try to mobilize this environment professional still too little inclusive.

A series of actions

The branch is thus piloting a series of support and counseling actions for its members in order to promote the employment of people with disabilities. For example, it produces communication tools and may be required to perform sourcing for recruiting candidates on qualified positions: kitchen, room, accommodation. The creation of joint committees has also been negotiated to promote the recruitment and retention of this public. In addition, the Social Committee examines the requests for one-off assistance relating to health and welfare, defines and proposes the objectives to be achieved and actions intended to help and anticipate the needs of employees, such as helping caregivers or setting up place of a disability pension.

A sector difficult to reach

As Rachel Bouvard, disability mission manager at the Gni (National Group of Independents) explains: ” We often see that there are brakes to be raised on both sides. On the one hand, at the level of our establishments which imagine that a person with a disability will not be able to integrate our trades and, on the other hand, among young people and adults who think that their disability is incompatible with the professions of the profession. restoration “. To break down these barriers, the two unions, Gni and Umih (Union of Trades and Industries of the hotel industry), therefore offer dedicated support, in accordance with the law, as Roland Hehuy, president of Umih, points out: ” We started from the 2005 law that makes it mandatory in our companies with 20 or more employees to have a minimum of 6% of employees with disabilities. We spent time convincing and lifting all the brakes and all the reluctance. Outside of regulation, we must reach out to all businesses to become inclusive. “.

Image result for hotel buffetGolden opportunities

The sector seems to show the desire to open its doors wider. ” The inclusion of people with disabilities in our industry is a great opportunity to be open to diversity, ” says Rachel Bouvard. Staff who have already taken part in the initiative are also enthusiastic. This is the case of Gwendoline Bencherif, human resources assistant at the Peninsula Paris hotel: “I find that the approach is really positive and necessary because we think very quickly that disability is not compatible. These actions help companies get started and, if we can prove that it is possible, others will want to try the experiment .
The initiative was awarded with an Ocirp Handicap Award 2018, in the category “practices and initiatives of the professional branches “.

The PP denounces that Gure Esku Dago asked the hoteliers of Vitoria for money

The PP denounces that Gure Esku Dago asked the hoteliers of Vitoria for money

Image result for gure esuo dago

Vitoria, Jun 13 (EFE) .- The Basque PP today denounced the “mass transfer” by the sovereignist platform Gure Esku Dago to hoteliers in Vitoria of a letter requesting the voluntary contribution to this entity of 10 % of the profits of last Sunday.

The letter was sent on the occasion of the finalization in the Alava capital on Sunday of the human chain that united the three Basque capitals in favor of the right to decide.

In her allusion is made to the intention of generating festive atmosphere in the Casco Viejo of the city and for this Gure Esku Dago offered to decorate the streets and bars, and to organize different activities.

In return, the letter states that “the opportunity” is given to the hoteliers to support the platform dynamics with the contribution to this organization of 10% of the profits of that day.

The spokesman of the PP in the Basque Parliament, Borja Semper, has opined that this letter “evokes the darkest and disgusting years of extortion suffered by hoteliers in the autonomous community” to “not be identified as those who did not collaborate” with the left abertzale.

“This is different, it is obvious, but it evokes and sounds like dirty tactics that we thought were happily overcome in the autonomous community,” he lamented.

In declarations to journalists has assured that he knows that there have been restaurateurs in the city who “have felt extorted and violated” and have agreed to pay that 10% “for fear of being singled out.”

“In this country, with what we have lived and what we have gone through, this type of initiatives to many people scare you,” warned the popular leader, who has demanded a strong “reaction” from the Basque institutions.

In addition, he has considered “extraordinarily serious” the participation in what has been called “cadeneta” by the president of the Basque Parliament, Bakartxo Tejería, and the mayor of Vitoria, Gorka Urtaran.

He has requested the appearance in the Chamber of the Minister of Security, Estefanía Beltrán de Heredia, and has said that the PP will request information at the General Meetings of the three territories on the taxation of the accounts of Gure Esku Dago.

Sources from Gure Esku Dago have explained that no such letter has been sent from the General Secretariat of this entity, although they have acknowledged that the remission of these letters has been able to start from “some group” that makes up the movement.

Image result for gure esuo dago

“Gure Esku Dago has never asked for any kind of financial help from anyone, in fact the human chain has been 100% financed with the inscriptions and the merchandising of it,” the platform said in a statement in which it states that Citizen movement is “independent and self-financed”.

In any case, he assures that in the aforementioned letter it is clearly indicated that the aids “are proposed as voluntary and totally optional” and he asks for “apologies” if any person has been upset because “in no way has this been the intention of the promoters of the initiative “.

Gure Esku Dago concludes that he will take measures so that “these misunderstandings” do not happen again. EFE

 

How to avoid scams in hotels: 10 tips for traveling quiet this summer

How to avoid scams in hotels: 10 tips for traveling quiet this summer

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  • 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.

Image result for hotel scamsHotels 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

Image result for hotel scamsAlthough 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.

The alternative to the hotel (and with free accommodation)

The alternative to the hotel (and with free accommodation)

 

A small list for all those who have not yet decided what to do this summer

The alternative to the hotel (and with free accommodation)

Now you no longer need to look for a hotel or apartment to enjoy a vacation away from home. Currently, there are many alternatives for free or at a modest price, which will make it much more affordable to go on a trip this summer.

A small list for all those who have not yet decided what to do this summer:

CouchSurfing
CouchSurfing is one of the best known channels to travel in an alternative way. It is a social network that connects people who give their couch, bed or floor to a traveler. The operation is very simple: a person who does not know you accepts you as a tenant in your home for nothing. It only seeks to help and share another experience, another way of knowing the world and making new friends. More than getting a free place to sleep, it is a cultural exchange.

The most important thing in this social network is your profile: it is your cover letter. Depending on this, people will leave you or not a space in your house. On the other hand, it is good to look at the references that other users give about the place you want to go or the guest you are going to have in your home. It helps a lot to know what you’re going to find.

Wwoofing
WWOOF is a non-profit association. What it does is put volunteers in contact with farms or rural people who need help. In exchange for going to work there for a few days they will give you food and free accommodation. They also promise to leave you free time so you can get to know the country better.

Generally, four to six hours a day are worked. Like the CouchSurfing, it is a different way of knowing the country, since it allows you to share the stay with native people and volunteers who come from very diverse places. There is never any financial compensation and the relationship that is built must be free and voluntary.

In this association it is important that the farms within the project work mainly with ecological and sustainable methods. That way you can sleep without paying money in exchange for working for a project. Although previously you must pay a small fee to access the list of farms for a period of one year and be able to know the contact information.

Of course, it is important to know the conditions previously. Each farm can put what they think is convenient and before going you should be sure that you agree with them.

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Camping in the Garden
This website is the ideal alternative for people who want to go on vacation with the tent, but without paying the price of a camping. They put in contact people willing to give up a space in their garden for a small fee, between 5 or 7 euros per person per night.

Apart from letting you sleep in your garden, depending on each host will be added other advantages, such as the use of a pool or tennis court. What they usually give access, most people, is to the bathroom so that tenants can clean up.

This project, which started in 2013, already has more than 500 hosts in France and more than 1,200 spaces. Now it is beginning to expand in Europe.

Home exchange
There are different websites that put families in contact to make a home exchange during the holiday period. Most have similar rules. Normally, in order to access the database, a fee of around 100 euros per year is requested. Once paid you can access all the information and you can make as many exchanges as you want during that year.

It is recommended to correctly specify all the requirements and how is your home so that there will be no confusion later. It is also very important to tell what sites you are interested in visiting and at what dates your house is available. The process to reach an agreement is usually extended for a few months, so it is necessary to be proactive to make this type of travel.

Many people are afraid to leave their house to a stranger, but this method is based on mutual trust: you are in the house of those who occupy yours. Therefore, it is believed that people will not do anything they do not want to do in their home. In addition, these portals have different means of verification and security to make the exchanges. You can always choose who you want to do it with. Many times the car is also included in the deal.

Caring for someone’s house
If you do not have a house to exchange, but you are willing to take care of another one and travel for free, this is your alternative. In portals such as Mind My House or House Carers you can find different offers that in exchange for attending someone’s house while the owners are on vacation, they will leave your home for free to stay during that period.

In most of these platforms they ask you to register before paying a fee. From that moment you have access to the database. You can search among all offers and contact the owner that you think is the best option. Between the two you will have to decide what services you have to provide in exchange for the use of the house and sign the corresponding documents.

Sleeping in monasteries
Another option is to go to sleep in monasteries. Not all have the same conditions. There are some that are very luxurious with a high price. But you can also find places that give you food and sleep in exchange for donations or that are free. They usually have only the basics and the food is what the monks or nuns who live there do.