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Russia to Give Guests Legal Recourse if Hotel Expectations Are Not Met

Where: Various Locations, Russian Federation
July 31, 2013 at 9:21 AM | by | ()

In a move that would greatly empower the consumer, the Russian Ministry of Culture is attempting to pass legislation that would create a standard of hotel service and give guests a legal path of recourse should the expectations of their stay not be satisfied. It is, without a doubt, one of the most direct and outright attempts at putting the power back in the hands of the paying customer.

According to reports, guests would have options under the new law when they encounter a problem with a hotel's service:

1) Guests can request that their problems be resolved and the property would be allotted one hour to do so.

2) Guests will be able to demand a discount from the hotel to compensate for the poor quality of service, and this discount is to be honored during the stay and not later than 10 days from the date of the request.

3) If the problem has not been resolved, guests have the right to leave the hotel (aka switch properties) and can expect to recover any losses incurred in doing so.

4) If a guest leaves, the hotel will be responsible for any property left behind. Hotels must keep forgotten items for up to six months and notify the guest at its own expense.

5) If all else fails and the problem has not been resolved, guests can file an official complaint to the government and the property would be fined for the low level of service provided.

All we have to say is... Wow! This is without question a slam dunk for customers, but as you might imagine, the hotel owners and business communities aren't as thrilled. Some feel like these across-the-board standards are unnecessary because any reputable/popular property is already placing an importance on customer service and problem solving. A law that dictated problem-solving behavior would be stripping well-run hotels of their competitive advantage over poorly-managed properties, critics say.

Experts also argue that it should be up to the property to decide how they handle situations that come up. The thought is that in the current self-policing industry, those who satisfy their customers are rewarded with more business.

As of now, there hasn't been much discussion about why the government is stepping in or whether the law will be of service to foreign visitors when it passes. Personally, we are extremely interested to see how this all plays out. Could it catch on elsewhere?

The common belief is that there is no way this type of legislation would catch on in Europe or the States -- it's too slippery a slope and the governments just wouldn't go there. But we can't help but wonder what the industry would look like if this was passed in a number of countries. We understand how it would be a problem for the properties, but we're having a hard time coming up with a reason why this wouldn't be beneficial to consumers. You could say goodbye to indifferent problem-solving on the hotel's part, for sure.

Feel free to discuss on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.

Photos: [Hotelmanager.net]

Archived Comments:

Jason via Facebook

Wow that's a bit extreme! I'm all for consumer protection, but this kind of regulation puts hotels at way too much risk for utter failure in what might otherwise be a common issue: noisy neighbors, dripping faucet, etc. What if the problem is called in at 3am??

Kate via Facebook

I have yet to see laws actually being followed in Russia. Good luck with this one!

Better Service is Great for All

Good hotels that provide good service shouldn't be worried about this. Service has been an issue in Russia and specifically hotels for a long time now so I hope this will help.

For example, very few hotels in Moscow and St Petersburg are wheelchair accessible.

One of the few I know is Hotel Vera (<a href="http://hotelvera.ru">http://hotelvera.ru</a>) in St Petersburg.