Brits do a lot of things well. A good cup of tea, a loveable accent and the ability to make a lot of money from an illustrious and bloody history.
Unfortunately, when it comes to service in the travel industry, Britain falls short of the friendly, helpful experience many European neighbours and American cousins deliver.
An analysis of six million reviews on the website Hotel.info found that the UK scored the worst in Europe for customer service in hotels, with only Russia scoring worse.
Out of 10, UK hotels scored 7.92 on average. As a capital, London performed worse than any other, with a score of 7.73.
The highest scoring countries in Europe are Finland with 8.62, followed by Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia.
A few cities in the UK helped to hold up the countries otherwise poor score, with Sheffield scoring 8.62 and Leeds 8.41. Coventry performed even worse than London, with a score of 7.38.
Fiona Duncan, the hotel expert at The Telegraph believes “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.”
The Fawlty Towers Hangover
Could it be that a certain Basil Fawlty set a precedent for how British hotels are run? Set in the 'English Riviera', we witnessed the eccentricities of the hotel owner haplessly entertaining guests and viewers. And whilst entertainment is all well and good, we should be worried about the bigger business implication of bad service.
A Lack of Loyalty
When employees don’t feel committed to their work, they won’t put in the effort and real enthusiasm needed to make customers happy. If employees aren't loyal, then why would guests be?
The lingering impression of lacklustre customer service is one reason many guests have no brand loyalty. Brands that become known for good service - for example John Lewis and higher end fashion labels like Ted Baker - have a point of difference that brings customers back.
If hotels can raise the game, as this study indicates is needed, then hotels have a good chance of retaining more loyal, happier customers.