In our most recent blog post, Nicole talks about some of the ways you can keep yourself healthy while travelling over the holiday season. But have you considered the hygiene standards of the place you are planning on staying? Are hygiene standards even a consideration for you when booking a holiday?
In a recent article – published in the European Cleaning Journal – more than 100 tourists, who were staying at a resort in Egypt last summer fell ill with diarrhoea and vomiting. They were diagnosed with Salmonella and E.coli infections and are now threatening legal action, claiming that their symptoms were a result of hygiene lapses at the hotel.
Amongst other things, holidaymakers claimed they saw food left uncovered and raw meat being placed next to cooked meat. There were also claims of faeces in the swimming pool, and some guests reported chefs neglecting to change their gloves or wash their hands after handling raw meat.
The response from the travel group responsible for the group booking was understandably non-committal and went along the lines of assuring customers that accommodation is regularly audited in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.
So what can you do before booking a holiday to ensure that you don’t book somewhere riddled with bed bugs or where the only thing on the menu is E Coli?
Firstly, use the most available resource to hand; the internet. Sites like AirBnB and Trip Advisor allow and encourage guests to rate properties after they have stayed there. If a hotel has a hygiene problem, this is where you’ll find out about it.
We booked a premier suite and the bed sheet was dirty. There are small insects left on the bed and the bed sheet is dirty. When we called all we got was wait. One after another pushing the responsibilities. Never stay in this hotel. Terrible and disappointed
But beware, there are plenty of people out there using these review sites to try and make a quick buck by complaining and then asking for compensation. Here’s a good example of one of these:
Stayed here on 3rd July and bathroom was disgusting. Following a complaint I was contacted by a very rude member of staff who made out I was being unreasonable and he was unwilling to acknowledge any issues. See for yourselves. I will never stay here again especially given the aggressive response and basically being called a liar. This hotel is a health hazard.
On first glance this seems like a genuine complaint, but another good sense check is to always read the hotel or guesthouse response. Firstly, do they even bother to respond at all? And secondly, how do they actually handle the complaint? In this case, reading the hotel’s response cast a completely different light on the complaint.
In our 20 years of being in business, never have we ever had a guest take photographs from behind the toilet, under the sink and of pipework. As I personally investigated your complaint, I replicated all of your photographs with the same angles that were originally sent to us and I literally had to get onto my knees and uncomfortably contort myself.
I will personally be the first to hold my hands up and admit that our bathrooms are not 100% free from dust. The English tourist board (VisitEngland) set an industry target of 65 – 70% for a 3 star rating. We are comfortably above 80% for all of our bathrooms.
We’re an honest business – we find it unfair when guests such as yourself threaten us with “bad” reviews unless we compensate them. We would have granted your complaint as reasonable providing you had told us then and there – as we would have been able to take action to rectify it by dusting it. We feel that sending us demanding emails days later and refusing to watch the video is dishonest.
Word of mouth is also an excellent way to sense check potential holiday destinations. Canvas your friends and family on Facebook and in person to see if any of them have ever stayed at the places you are considering booking. If they have, ask them detailed questions about the facilities, the approach to cleanliness and hygiene and anything else that may have bearing on your stay.
And finally, once you have done all your homework and decided on somewhere for that annual family vacation, make sure that you travel prepared. In her blog, Nicole suggests the basic things you should take in a first aid kit, which I would agree should definitely should form part of your holiday packing. Along with a first aid kit, make sure that your own hygiene standards of regular hand washing etc don’t take a holiday.
And finally, whilst being prepared is important, it doesn’t mean that if you get to your destination and find stained sheets, dirty bathrooms or anything that compromises your hygiene standards, you should have to put up with it. You have every right to contact management immediately and complain. Just remember to do it in a manner that is constructive so that the hotel knows how to rectify the situation as quickly and effectively as possible.
Safe travels, and happy, hygienic holidays from the team at Initial.