Going green means nothing if preventive maintenance is not part of your routine. This past Sunday I stayed at a hotel in Portland, Ore., very close to the airport. It was my last night on vacation and I was tired, knowing that I also had to get up at 4 a.m. to get ready for a 6 a.m. flight back to Ohio. After entering my room, I noticed several signs--on the bed and on the towel rack--reminding me that I had the option of not having my towels and linens washed. I am always happy to see these, even though oftentimes, from my experience, housekeepers disregard the practice. I was only staying one night so there would be no need to inform housekeepers about my towel and linen intentions but, as I said, it was good to know the hotel's owner had some interest in saving water and energy.
After spending about 15 minutes in the room, I noticed a nasty odor. I could not quite figure it out. Then I saw it. In the bathroom there was a puddle of water on the floor. I looked up and the the paint on the ceiling above the tub was bubbled and flaking off in a big way. There was also some brownish, gooey droplets of some kind hanging from the ceiling. Lovely. What I had been smelling earlier was mold. Arrgh. It was pretty obvious nobody had been in this room for quite some time, and if they had been, they obviously had not bothered to examine the bathroom. So much for preventive maintenance.
I went down to the front desk to explain the situation and was promptly given another room--not a free night but another room. After packing everything up again I moved to the new room. By this time I was not a very happy camper. After just a few hours of restless sleep--the kind you get when knowing you have to wake up early--I headed for the shower. Another disappointment. This time there was no mold but a very "limp" shower flow. I suspect you can all relate to this but I really had to work to get wet and clean. Again, frustrating. The water pressure was fine but the showerhead was not. It was obvious nobody had bothered to check the showerhead in quite some time.
In one night, in two different guestrooms, I experienced two different maintenance issues. Whether or not the hotel was trying to be "green" meant nothing to me after my bad experience. At checkout I explained my overnight adventure to the gentleman at the front desk. I received no sympathy and no refund whatsoever.
Folks, let's not forget the importance of preventive maintenance. If you do not practice it, your guests will inevitably leave your property as mad as a hornet, never to return again. And your green message, if you have one, will mean absolutely nothing.