Managers Guide to Hotel Noise Complaints [+ free resources]

Published on:
February 23, 2024
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Let’s paint a picture: it’s late at night, you’re in your hotel room settling in to get some rest before a conference the next morning where you’ll be presenting.

It’s been a long day, but just as you’re about to finally fall asleep, laughter and shouting from the room next door jolts you awake. You wait to see if it will quiet down, but it only gets louder. 

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So you call the front desk to complain. The front desk attendant on the other end says they’ll take care of it, but two hours later, the party next door is still going, and you’re still awake, growing increasingly agitated. You call again to complain, but another hour passes and the guests next to you just won’t quit.

Have you ever been in this position? Unfortunately the scenario is a common one. With travelers seeking accommodations for a variety of reasons and guests with different nightly routines housed in rooms side by side, it can create the perfect storm.

Hotel noise complaints have to be taken seriously to not only maintain guest satisfaction, but to protect your property’s reputation. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of noise complaint management, common causes of noise complaints, and how to create and enforce noise complaint policies. 

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Why noise complaint management is crucial for hoteliers

Unwanted noise doesn’t just inconvenience guests, it can also create serious problems for your hotel. 86% of people are less likely to recommend a hotel if they’ve had a bad experience related to noise. Additionally, 60% of guests are more likely to leave a negative online review rather than complaining to staff. And since 82% of people who see multiple bad reviews for a property are less likely to stay in those hotels, it’s important to get ahead of noise issues before they affect your hotel’s bottom line. 

What are common causes of hotel noise complaints?

There are generally two areas where noise disturbances come from: external and internal noise. External noise comes from roads, railways, air traffic, and general city noise. Internal noise comes from neighboring rooms, corridors, other floors, and hotel facilities—this could be from doors slamming, phone calls being made, loud TVs, music, alarm clocks, or children playing. 

There are lots of things that can cause unwanted noise, but having plans and policies in place to help prevent noise from impacting guests reduces the potential risk. Putting up signs to remind guests to be courteous to one another when it comes to noise is one way to set the right precedent. And providing guests with complimentary earplugs can help. But every property still needs a noise complaint policy to truly reduce negative impact. 

What is a Hotel Noise Complaints Policy?

A hotel noise complaint policy spells out expectations around guest behavior on the property and defines repercussions around failure to comply with these expectations. A noise complaint policy lays out prohibited activities, spaces where congregation is not allowed, quiet hours or curfews, and more. It clearly defines what is allowed on the property and what is not, and it can be a part of the overall rules and regulations your guests agree to when they book a stay. 

Having guests agree to your noise complaint policy ensures that, if noise issues arise as a result of particular guests, you can take appropriate action without additional issue or argument. It aids in risk prevention and helps avoid serious conflict. Plus it keeps your property prepared for potential liability issues that could arise. 

How to Create a hotel noise complaint policy

To create your own hotel noise complaint policy, first determine scope: how detailed or how broad do you want your policy to be? Are there specific noise issues you need to address from previous issues? Think through the potential noise issues specific to your property’s location or past disturbances you’ve encountered to help determine the scope of the policy. 

You might just have a handful of rules you ask your guests to abide by when it comes to noise. For example, your main noise complaint policy may simply be that you don’t allow guests to congregate in the halls, and you ask that guests respect quiet hours between 11 PM and 6 AM.  Or your policy might have more rules and specific details. For example, in addition to rules on congregation and quiet hours, you may also prohibit the use of noise-making children’s toys in public spaces. Or you may ban or restrict the consumption of alcoholic beverages in certain areas to avoid noise that can be caused by overindulgence. 

From there, as you begin to determine the true scope and lay out your noise policies, you’ll need to identify clear consequences that occur if these policies are broken. Consequences should be severe enough that they deter guests from wanting to risk breaking the rules, but not so severe that the response seems unreasonable. In many cases, hotels employ a three-strikes system of sorts. For example, after three consecutive complaints, your policy might state that a guest will then be removed from the property without a refund. That gives guests three warnings before they have to face serious consequences for noise disturbance. 

Once you’ve defined scope and determined appropriate consequences, you can organize everything into a formal physical or digital document that the guest is required to sign upon check in. If your noise policy is a part of your general rules and regulations, you may simply have your guests agree to everything as soon as they book, as part of the booking process. 

How to enforce a hotel noise complaint policy

If your property has known issues with noise disturbances, especially from guests or other internal causes, it might be important to mention specific noise policies when guests check in at the front desk. This creates early awareness for guests so that they can stay conscious of the level of noise they’re making. You can also place signs up reminding guests to respect quiet hours and keep noise down in public or shared areas. 

If a guest violates your noise policy or you receive a noise complaint about a specific guest, first deliver a warning to that guest via phone call. From there, if there’s still an issue, you should issue an in-person warning to convey the severity of the offense. Finally, if the person continues to violate noise policies or cause disturbance, it may be necessary to remove them from the property. Once the issue has been taken care of, it’s important to make amends with the affected guest to control the potential damage caused by the noise disturbance. 

How to handle guests who submit noise complaints

When a guest submits a noise complaint, first and foremost be as empathetic as possible. You never know what kind of day the guest is having or the severity of the inconvenience the noise may be causing, so take it seriously and consider how you might feel under the circumstances. 

It’s important to have patience too—we saw in our example scenario how agitating it can be to have noise disturbances interrupt a guest stay. The guest could present their noise complaint in a very agitated or even angry manner when speaking, and it’s important to have patience because those emotions generally aren’t intentionally directed at your team. 

Finally, make amends: this may mean giving another guest a warning, switching guestrooms, comping aspects of the guest’s stay, or offering coupons or vouchers. The method of reparation really depends on the severity of the situation and the depth of impact it causes on the guest’s stay. But it’s important to determine a comparable way to make up for the inconvenience. 

Use a Digital Management System to track and improve operations

Utilizing a digital system to manage certain hotel operations can simplify risk prevention, policy adherence, and noise complaint reduction while improving team communication and collaboration across your property. Solutions like Xenia not only provide you with a single source of truth for policy and incident documentation, but also puts the power of digital task assignment and tracking in the palm of your hand.

With Xenia you can digitally store and manage incident documentation so that your whole team can access them from their individual mobile devices no matter where they are. Xenia also provides teams with instant messaging features for one-on-one conversations, group chats, and company-wide announcements, so you all stay connected regardless of location or department. To top it all off, you’ll be able to track and complete every task in Xenia for full visibility that creates instant logs of historical data.

Take a look at our website to learn more about Xenia or book a product tour now to see our full suite of tools in action. Our team is ready to help yours streamline your hotel’s workflow! 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question? Find our FAQs here. If your question hasn't been answered here, contact us.

What are the key steps to creating an effective Hotel Noise Complaint Policy?

To create an effective noise complaint policy, start by determining the policy's scope based on your hotel's specific needs and previous noise issues.

Include rules such as quiet hours (e.g., 11 PM to 6 AM), restrictions on congregation in halls, and prohibitions on certain activities or items (like noisy toys in public areas).

Next, define clear consequences for policy violations, such as a three-strike rule leading to removal without a refund.

In addition to that, you also need to formalize these policies in a document for guests to acknowledge during booking or check-in.

How should a hotel effectively enforce its noise complaint policy?

Effective enforcement begins with clear communication at check-in, alerting guests to the noise policies.

Visible signage reinforcing quiet hours and noise etiquette in shared spaces is also helpful.

In case of a violation, initially, give a telephonic warning, followed by an in-person warning if the noise persists.

If the guest continues to violate the policy, you may need to remove them from the property. It’s crucial to handle such situations delicately to maintain a positive atmosphere and guest relations.

What are the best practices for handling guests who submit noise complaints?

When a guest submits a noise complaint, empathy and patience are key.

Understand their perspective and acknowledge the inconvenience caused.

Address the complaint promptly by warning the offending guest or offering solutions like room changes to the complainant. Depending on the severity, consider compensating the affected guest with discounts, vouchers, or complimentary services.

These gestures can significantly mitigate dissatisfaction and protect your hotel’s reputation.