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8 Things Hotel Guests Do That Staff Hate

By Rachel Gresh
Read time: 6 minutes

For most of us, staying in a hotel while on vacation feels like an escape from real life — with hotel staff attending to your every need, it’s easy to feel downright spoiled. Although staffers are there to keep everything in check, many travelers still do their part by following good hotel etiquette: Be polite, put your trash in the bin, turn off the lights, and so forth. Although being courteous and not trashing your room should go unsaid, hotel guests do plenty of other things that annoy staffers, and they might not even realize they’re doing it. Here are some of the most hated habits of hotel guests, according to hospitality workers.

Covert Check-Outs

Traveler sitting on hotel bed holding luggage handle and using phone
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Of course, you have every right to stay in your hotel room until check-out time, but if you decide to check out early, it’s a good idea to let the hotel staff know. This allows housekeepers to enter the room earlier to turn it around for the next guests. The average hotel worker cleans between 12 and 20 rooms per eight-hour shift, resulting in about 20 to 30 minutes of cleaning time per room. If you leave the hotel without checking out, your room can sit vacant, sometimes for hours, which some hotel staff say is a waste of housekeepers’ time. 

Remember, there are faster ways to check out than physically going to the front desk and waiting in line. Instead, check for a key drop-off box in the front lobby or call the front desk to let them know you’re leaving. If you’re staying in a major hotel chain, you can often use the mobile app to check out within seconds.

Damage Disguisers

Traveler entering hotel room
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If something is damaged or not working in your room, inform hotel staff immediately, regardless of whose fault it was. In the experience of some hotel employees, if a guest is upfront and honest about damage, they probably won’t be charged for minor issues, or they might be charged a lower price for significant damages. However, if a guest doesn’t disclose damage during the trip or at check-out, they’ll most certainly be charged the total cost of the damage.

Pet-Friendly Fails

Dog standing on suitcase in airport
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Always inform hotel staff if you have your furry friend in tow. While the hotel you booked might be pet-friendly, every single room probably isn’t. Usually, only particular floors or wings are set aside for pets. If there isn’t an option to select a pet-friendly room during booking, add it to the booking notes section of your reservation or give the hotel a call. 

Also, don’t be surprised if you have to pay an additional pet fee at check-in. Hotel maintenance explains that this fee compensates the hotel for the additional supplies and cleaning required in pet-friendly rooms to remove stains, pet hair, and damaged furniture. Also, remember to always pick up after your pet in your room and on hotel grounds.


Suitcase next to bed in hotel room
Credit: Lu ShaoJi/ Moment via Getty Images 

Some housekeepers have this request: If you move heavy furniture during your stay, move it back to where it was when you checked in. Whether you were baby-proofing a room or just making it more comfortable, make sure to place beds, couches, lamps, and chairs back in their original place. Your housekeeper might be unable to move the furniture as easily as you did, and you’ll save them a lot of effort. The same goes for unplugging lamps and alarms or moving phones or television remotes — rule of thumb: leave everything as you found it.

The Early Check-in Blues

Traveler with suitcase in hotel lobby
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You can always hope for the best, but unless explicitly guaranteed (and in some cases, paid for) ahead of time, most early check-in requests are just that — requests. Some hotel staffers have noticed an uptick in customers being disgruntled that their early check-in requests weren’t accommodated. 

Here is the advice of one employee: If you know you have a dinner, event, or appointment around the same time as check-in, don’t count on your room to be available. Instead, book the hotel for the night before and arrive whenever is most convenient for you. If that isn’t possible, arrive at your hotel ready for the event and ask hotel staff to hold your bags in a secure area until you can check in after the event.

Third-Party Predicaments

Person sitting on couch with coffee scrolling laptop
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Be aware of the risks of third-party travel sites. Online travel agencies like and Expedia are valuable tools for travelers to compare and find the best rates. However, many guests don’t understand that the hotel staff usually cannot move or change your reservation if you booked through a third-party site. Any changes must be made through the third-party’s website or customer service center instead. This creates a headache for front desk workers when disgruntled travelers can’t modify their stay.

Luggage Cart Bandits

Hotel bellhop with luggage cart
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Luggage carts are essential if you’re traveling with many bags, just don’t hold one hostage in your room. According to frustrated bellhops, some guests attempt to keep the cart to themselves for the duration of their stay so they can easily load their bags at the end of their trip. Remember, hotels don’t have a cart for every room — they might only have a dozen for hundreds of rooms — so this isn’t considerate of other hotel guests or the staffers trying to do their jobs.  

Bed-Making Blunders

Unmade bed in hotel room
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Of course, housekeepers greatly appreciate leaving a hotel room clean and tidy, but hotel staffers say remaking a dirty bed is pointless. You’re making more work for yourself and housekeeping. Instead, leave the bed unmade, or better yet, strip the bed to make it easier on staff. If a room has more than one bed, don’t worry about making an unused bed look tidy; it will also be stripped and washed.

Things Hotel Staff Love: Tips and Reviews

Housekeeper with cart in hotel hallway
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Hospitality workers say that tips for housekeepers and positive online reviews for friendly front desk workers often go a long way. A positive online review can earn workers praise from management and drive more business to the hotel. As for tipping, less than one-quarter of American hotel guests tip their housekeepers. According to international etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, a tip of $3 to $5 per day is a great way to show appreciation for housekeepers’ hard work. Remember to break up the tip into daily increments, as housekeepers change shifts frequently.

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