6 Mistakes that Cause Hospitality Businesses to Fail

Good news for all hotel owners: many globetrotters are eager to travel after being housebound. But increased business creates the opportunity for mistakes to be made – some more serious than others.

Seeing things from the customer’s point of view will let you catch most of them. Here are 6 common mistakes that could cause your hospitality business to fail. 

1.Bad Marketing 

Some hotel owners think that their business will market itself. If they provide good service, word of mouth will be enough, correct? Wrong. Hotels must also do some hospitality marketing legwork, including checking that they appear on Google Maps, Facebook, and other websites. 

There are also offline marketing factors. Pay attention to high/low seasons, for example. It also behooves hotel owners to be aware of local events in the area, as they could create extra demand. 

Your hotel can be a diamond in the rough. Make sure people find it! 

2. Not Listening to Feedback 

Every business owner needs to be able to take feedback. But it is also key to know what feedback is worth listening to and what feedback might be one bad person (some people are harder to please than others). 

Good feedback should tell a hotel owner what they are doing right and what could use improvement. If many customers love a hotel’s comfy beds but hate their food, it may merit a change in the kitchen staff. 

3. Poor Customer Service

Bad customer experiences can ruin a business, and hospitality is no exception. Calling someone by the wrong name when confirming their reservation is a big mistake. Staff members should be ready to serve with a smile. 

Hospitality also has its own set of checkpoints when it comes to giving a customer the right degree of attention online: 

  • Website 
  • Text/email/app notifications 
  • Check-in/checkout 
  • Promotions 
  • Email

Even though a hotel’s focus should be on a customer’s stay, it’s important to maintain contact. Their feedback will improve your hotel’s business in the long run, so please remember to ask for it! (And if someone has a bad experience, a smart manager will reach out—potentially with a compensatory offer.)  

4. Poor Treatment of Staff

“The customer is always right” is a common saying in any customer service job. This does not mean your paid staff should be tossed aside.

Training should be mandatory. Keep your workers happy to keep your customers happy. 

5. Inconsistency

Inconsistency is the bane of business. People like knowing, for example, that every Starbucks they come across will have roughly the same food, as well as a bathroom and a place to sit down.

This idea can also help hotels; quality should either stay the same or improve with time. If all beds have the same sheets, people will come back knowing what to expect! 

6. Misgauging Expectations

A large part of customer satisfaction comes from expectations. If someone expects to be treated like royalty at a hotel in a castle, that is a different expectation from a hotel designed to host conferences. Likewise, a hotel designed for business conferences will require more advanced cyber security than a rural bed and breakfast. 

Similarly, avoid false advertising at all costs. Don’t just show your best room on your website; show an average room. Set your guest’s expectations from the moment they walk in the door. 

When keeping customers happy, the motto is “under-commit and over-deliver.” Hotels want their customers to be pleasantly surprised. You don’t want their first time to be their last! 


As a new hotel owner, you may feel overwhelmed by how many things you must keep track of. But flipping things around to see a customer’s perspective will expose many flaws.

Are your staff members polite and punctual? If you stayed there multiple days, would you get the same service? Sometimes, empathy is the best teacher.