August 21, 2019
By John Hunter

Filthy rooms, paint peeling from the walls, inedible food in the dirty restaurant, and an overall lack of accountability from leadership and staff. These are just a few of the wonderful surprises in store for world renowned chef Gordon Ramsay on his hit series, “Hotel Hell.” In it, Chef Ramsay visits a struggling hotel and throughout the episode, attempts to turn it around and fix all of the things that have gone oh-so-wrong. A lot goes wrong, and with rooms in such poor shape, he ends of sleeping in the bath tub on more than a few occasions, cocooned in his own sleeping bag…but, all while delivering the patented Ramsay brow wipe (TM).

This show is very entertaining, usually funny, and often heartwarming. Ramsay seems to really want to help the hotel (and it’s owner(s)) succeed, and approaches them with a much more toned-down version of the “Mad Chef” viewers see on “Hell’s Kitchen.” Fantastic program, but what always hits home the most for me, are two staple scenes that appear in each episode.

In one, unbeknownst to the owner(s), Gordon has gathered the dissatisfied patrons in one of the inn’s guest rooms to provide, real, unfiltered feedback. After the initial shock of seeing these people all gathered in one room, the inn keepers get bludgeoned by honest feedback. It’s a humbling experience and sometimes difficult to watch. And, it’s coming a lot later than it should.

The other scene involves an employee-owner sit-down (around the 21 minute mark in the video below) that begins with honest feedback from staff, and then quickly devolves into shouting matches filled with profanity. When employees are this vocal and upset, you know you’ve waited much too long to hear their concerns.


Great TV to be sure, but how do these hotels get to be, well, hell holes for guests and staff? While the face-to-face interventions are apparently needed in these cases, the caretakers of these hotels would have been much better served by initiating regular feedback collection. The truth is, outside of hit TV shows, your guests and employees likely would not be as brutally forthcoming with their real opinions, gripes and complaints when given the opportunity to deliver that feedback face-to-face. It just doesn’t work that way. No, they usually end up going online, where damage control is nearly impossible.

Anonymous surveys from staff are proven to provide you with honest, insightful data. The same goes from your guests. If you ask them “how was your stay?” at check-out, some will offer you the truth if unhappy, while the majority will not. Then, you’re left reading (and responding to) terrible reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp and a multitude of other online review sites.

Like every industry in this technology-driven age, the happiness of your employees and the preferences of consumers are subject to change without notice, and the only way to keep up is to consistently collect their feedback. If you’re a hotelier, like the ones featured on “Hotel Hell,” you must give your hotel guests a voice, listen to what they are saying, and take action to accommodate them. The same can be said about your staff. Retention of quality employees is critical and challenging in all workplaces across the globe. Regular “pulse checks” of your team will give you invaluable insights, and help you build a roster of happy, productive employees in the process.

In other words, don’t let things go to hell, and learn more about collecting feedback at the Inquisium resource library.

Photo and video courtesy the Fox Network

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