… the United Kingdom.
It’s been a long, long time since the second series of Fawlty Towers hit the airwaves (thirty-six years in fact), but British hotel staff seem intent to uphold the traditions of Basil Fawlty et al. In a survey of more than six million hotel reviews placed on Hotel.info it was found that hotels in the UK achieved an average score of 7.92 out of 10 when rated for service, which placed UK hotels lower than any other European country besides Russia.
The accolades for UK’s poor hotel services were city-centred as well. London took the honours for ‘worst performing European capital’ with an average score of 7.73, trailing the category leader – Budapest – which scored 8.58.
Winner of the title for the nation with the most courteous hotel employees was Finland, whose hotel staff scored on average 8.62.
Completing the top five were Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. The top Mediterranean hotspots Italy, Greece, Spain and France filled spots fifteen to eighteen respectively.
Of the rest of the top ten, Poland was sixth, Switzerland seventh, Portugal eighth, Sweden ninth and Croatia tenth.
Some UK cities did manage to score adequately, however. Sheffield won the accolade as the UK city with the friendliest hotel staff, achieving a score of 8.62. Another Yorkshire city, Leeds, finished second with 8.41, followed by Bristol, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Liverpool just missed out on a top five place in sixth, with Glasgow in seventh and Manchester, Leicester and London completing the top ten.
At the bottom of the pile sat Coventry with a score of 7.38.
The report attached to the survey stated: ‘For many years now we have observed a considerable increase in positive evaluations in respect of the quality of service. However if the traveller is expecting the legendary British politeness the actual result is less than satisfactory.’
Travel writer for the Daily Telegraph, Fiona Duncan, said ‘It’s not that British service is bad – it’s just that so much of it is lacklustre and lacking in heart because so many of the two million plus people employed in the hospitality industry consider it unfit as a career.’
‘Walk into a hotel where the majority of staff are long-serving and happy in their work and then walk into one where the majority of staff are merely passing through, some with not much more than a nodding acquaintance with the English language, and the crux of the problem becomes immediately apparent,’ she continued
‘The first hotel will have depth, rhythm and genuineness. The second will, in all probability, fail to engage you. As a generalization, large, busy establishments (with the exception of our luxury hotels, which are in the main beautifully-run) and ones in quiet rural areas where it’s hard to recruit) are most prone to poor service. What do we look for in hotel service? Efficiency and just the right degree of interaction.’
However a spokesman from Berkeley Scott commented ‘I don’t think this survey is reflective of the talented people working in the industry. The people we place offer the highest calibre of service and are passionate about the industry. I think sometimes people assume the UK will offer bad service and look for it. Our experience is that the hotels we supply offer some of the very best customer experience in the world’ They go on to comment that ‘of course that doesn’t mean we should be complacent, but it would be interesting to see the data in full detail and confirm whether they are comparing like for like. We feel that the UK hotel industry has some great examples of best practice’.