I am often asked by hotels whether they need to disclose renovations and other potentially disappointing news to guests on the Web site or in the pre-stay email. My advice is always the same. Transparency, transparency, transparency. Why? A negative surprise will become the focus of a tweet, a Facebook post, or an on online review and potential bookers may be scared off. But a guest that knows what to expect will often gloss over minor inconveniences or see the positive rather than the negative if he/she goes in with eyes wide open.
Take, for example, my own experience with the W Hotel. This morning I received a pre-stay email from the W Hollywood, where I will be staying on Saturday night. The second paragraph lets me know what to expect during the weekends. It reads, “During weekends, W Hollywood is a high energy, adult environment. If you are looking for a relaxing getaway, are traveling with children, or want a peaceful, quiet environment, we suggest that you should stay at one of our sister properties.” I happen to be going to LA for a birthday celebration and am looking forward to hanging out at the bar, so I’m excited. But, even if I was traveling for business, I would likely have kept my reservation but would’ve reset my expectations and mentally prepared for a crowded lobby.
The idea that this hotel is an adult-oriented hotspot is further reinforced in its management responses. For example, one response to a review on TripAdvisor reads, “The nightlife at W Hollywood is one of the key elements of our property, from Station Hollywood to Drai’s Hollywood on the rooftop. It is a high energy, adult experience that often goes late into the night.”
I’m looking forward to my stay… and will be packing my earplugs, just in case.