From the London Times
Frank - I liked your response. I think you summed it up perfectly.
It's the same poll that's been overdiscussed on this board.
Here's a question they didn't ask...since you don't think Americans are that great guests, does that mean you don't like taking their money?
Americans are used to American style hotels. Big rooms, lots of amenities. Whey they don't get it, they might complain because they didn't know about the difference.
But then, I once led a Swiss group on a "budget" tour of the US and they were surprised to find bathrooms in all of their hotel rooms. They thought it would be down the hall.
Again, I don't care what a hotel manager thinks of Americans. He better be more concerned what I think of his hotel.
There was one comment that I found very interesting and also logical in explaining why Americans would be rated so low by hoteliers: they are the biggest complainers about accommodations. Understandingly so if you are used to modern American hotels with pretty large rooms where a double usually consists of two queen sized beds! If you expect something similar in Europe you'll be disappointed a lot. And maybe complaining a bit more than a European traveler who's used to the usually much smaller type of accommodation.
we posted our replies at the same time ;-)
My personal example: many years ago I stayed in a small hotel in the Quartier Latin in Paris while taking French classes at the Sorbonne. I spent 6 weeks there so my budget was VERY limited. Couldn't find a hostel bed for 6 such a long stay in summer either. It wasn't an issue at all for me that my room had just a sink with cold and warm water and the only toilet of the hotel was on the floor below. I went to the swimming pool of a private school a block away every other day to take a shower for 2 Francs there. Beautiful pool btw. The only time I complained was to ask after 2 weeks to get my bed sheets changed at least once in a while ....
So when I stayed in a Canadian hotel for the first time I had the same reaction as your Swiss tourists ;-)
I think one of the reasons the Japanese got first place is that they are used to living in very small spaces and tend to be neat. However, on other counts
(non-hotel issues), they tend to be disliked by a lot of Europeans (have seen this in action) as well as travelers who get shoved by them when they are trying to photograph something.
Quotes From The Survey & From Expedia: "In contrast to American generosity and willingness to absorb local culture, they are considered to be noisy tourists.... Additionally, Americans are said to complain about accommodations...and are also among the least tidy hotel guests. Lastly, Americans fall to the bottom of the list when it comes to fashion sense, with the ever stylish Italians and French taking top sartorial prize.""For Americans planning to travel abroad this summer, below are a few tips to ensure they don't live up to any messy, noisy or complaining cliches in the eyes of their hotelier:* Clean Up Your Act: Before checking out of your hotel, take a quick pass through the room to pick up any garbage or used linens from the floor.* Turn the Volume Down: Just because you may be accustomed to blasting music at home or laughing like a hyena with your friends doesn't mean fellow hotel guests share that enthusiasm. * Stay Calm: Always remember that quality standards vary from country to country, so don't be shocked if some experiences may be different than you pictured."Quote from a travel expert at Expedia: "We hope the results inspire Americans to keep up their generosity and cultural curiosity and convince them to leave the white tennis shoes and fanny packs at home!"
Come on, everyone. Get serious. Do hoteliers really care what Americans wear? They don’t. Do they care if we attempt to speak the local language? Of course not. They don’t even care if we are not as tidy as the German’s. Only if we are so messy that that they have pay some more money to the pitifully paid staff to clean the room, then they care. It’s all about money. Hotel managers only like us if we spend a lot money. But they can’t say that, so if we don't spend a lot, they slam us for things that don’t really don’t matter.
I’ve looked at the hotels that Expedia pushes – the ones they probably surveyed. Overpriced!!! I wouldn't stay at one on a bet. A lot of them don’t even include breakfast in the cost, so we won’t realize how much we are really being overcharged. So, when Americans balk at the $20-$30 breakfasts, and go down the street to a more reasonably price establishment, the hoteliers get in a big snit, ‘cause we didn’t feed their grimy palms, and slam us in the survey.
Personally, I try to be quiet and polite, and I dress conservatively. In Germany, I tip as I have been instructed by Germans. As for language, I try very hard to speak the local language; it’s a much richer experience when you can communicate with the locals. But, really, in Germany, a hotel can’t have 3 or more stars from the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) unless they have people on the staff that speak English – not just bilingual, but English, so language doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s English.
I’m not saying that Americans are angels, but I wouldn’t give two cents for the opinion of Expedia hoteliers. But the discussion has been amusing.
I regularly hear Americans complain about accomodations because European hotels have completely different standards than US hotels. When I took my mom on a trip - she complained about the size of the bath/shower, the lack of hot water, the impossible gadgets in the shower, the coffee, no ice in her drink, not enough towels and just about everything else.
My wife, who has hiked and camped with me all over the Sierras and Rockies, practically revolted after realizing she had to sit on or stand next to the toilet to shower in our very expensive Florence hotel.
Americans also tend to go through towels and linens like they are going out of style. With the cost of doing laundry in Europe, I could see hoteliers not being happy about that either.
I just do my part to be a good guest and maybe raise the average a little.
Many years ago, I spent one birthday in a medium-sized German city. In the evening, I went down to the hotel bar for a beer. What I got, was a glass full of foam.
I told the bartender in very easy English I didn't want it. He didn't understand English. I switched to German and with the help of a phrase book said I wanted a glass of beer not foam. He didn't understand German since he was an immigrant from another country.
So, I'm wondering, did that hotelier see me as a "problem" American because I didnt' attempt to speak the language of the bartender which wasn't the local language nor did I want to accept a glass full of foam.
I guess we Americans are just too picky and the hoteliers are great and only have the best of staff and give the best of service.
In basic Marketing, statistics show that if you like something you'll tell 4 people. If you don't, you'll tell 10 people. So again, I ask, whose opinion is more important...what the hotelier thinks of me, of what I think of his hotel?
"too much foam" in your beer? That is a typcial complaint of somebody who is trying out German beer in Germany for the first time. There is quite an art to pouring a beer that will have the right amount of foam and a consistency that will last. Takes 5 minutes to pour a beer with a good "Blume" (=flower - that's what the foam is called in Germany). Thus, asking for a beer without foam could be seen as an insult.
Mind you, Bavarian beer is a bit different and when you're pouring a "Mass" (those 1 liter glasses) things don't quite look the same.
Customer service in Europe is not as good as in the US. They don't have such nice return policies like we have here. If you don't like the food, you might not get your money back or get it replace dwith soemthing else.
By the way: "Real" beer has a lot of foam. That's what makes the beer good.
Regarding foam...I started out in the restaurant business and worked as a bartender in college. I understand beer.
The problem was that it was a new keg and you have to let a little of it flow before serving. (Ask any guy who's been in a fraternity and tapped a keg.)
When i say "too much foam," I mean a glass of foam. From top to bottom. When it settled, there was like one ounce of beer.
Sorry, that's not a good beer. And it proves the person serving didn't know what they were doing. A properly poured beer, ale or stout will anywhere from 1-2 inches of foam on top depending on the size and shape of glass.
Frank, although I can't speak for the glass of complete foam you received, Germans generally prefer a thick head of foam on top of their beer. It goes so far that if you order a bottle, after pouring two thirds, they will even roll the last third in the bottle before pouring to give it an extra foamy head.
But back to the point of the post. I couldn't care less what a hotelier thinks of Americans, as long as he takes my money and gives me decent service in return. Except for a room in Antwerpen that smelled like old urine, I have never had a complaint in a European hotel.
I believe it is inherent upon me when traveling in a foreign country to be open to local culture/customs, etc. If I wanted everything to be like I have at home, I would have just stayed home! My goodness, that's part of the fun of travel -- to experience the differences. A little advance research can help you decide if you must take a few things along that you consider "must haves" when traveling.
In reply to the comments made re Europe you are all going to the wrong places . Come to the Algarve and see the sights and meet loads of freindly people who mostly speak English and welcome any one with exception of the Germans who still think they are the master race where ever they go .
Our new poster Alan from the Algarve Chamber of Commerce wishes to remind everyone that stereotypes are a real time saver.
Speaking of which, and as an example, I have visited the Louvre a few times and have witnessed many times people of the same ethnicity jumping over barriers separating sculptures from the viewing public, ignoring the security klaxons in order for a member of their traveling party to take their picture leaning against the sculpture. Their demeanor is not one of someone who is doing something naughty but just doesn't care. It's more of one who is incapable of understanding the concept of such restrictions in the first place. Those who try (futilely) to gently admonish them or point out their error are treated as if they are Cyclopes.
Americans, loud and sloppy dressers and overly friendly, at least have the self-awareness in general to not pull off stunts like this.
As for Expedia? Meh.