FFE Magazine

5 Rights every hotel guest should know

Once or twice a year you probably use hotel accommodations for holiday or business purposes. Luxury hotel or not, you deserve to have an enjoyable and comfortable experience. Ideally, this would be the perfect scenario but this does not often happen. Some hotel establishments can fall short in their services and facilities, and ultimately disregarding your comfort and well-being. To make matters worse, it may be too late for you to realize this and make changes as you may have already paid your reservation in full.

Photo from Corbis images

As a hotel guest, you can bring it up with the hotel management and demand the services they promised you and which you paid.  Although there is no actual bill of rights for hotel guests, you can use these laws to support and protect yourself when faced with unfair hotel practices and unreasonable hotel management.

  1. Privacy. Right to Privacy is a basic right under the Philippine constitution. When hotels collect and process your personal information, they are immediately obliged to keep all data confidential and secure. They should be able to implement regulations on how to protect your personal information against unlawful or unauthorized access. Hotels should also protect your privacy in hotel rooms by not allowing spy or any recording equipment. However, if you are caught in the course of illegal actions then hotel management has the right to take the necessary disciplinary measures.
  2. False advertising. The consumer act of the Philippines or Republic Act No. 7394 protects your interest as a consumer. It is the law’s objective to protect you against deceptive or unfair sales acts and practices such as false advertising. You have the right to file a complaint if the hotel embellished their advertisements with services and facilities that are actually unavailable.
  3. Concern for your health. In order for hotels to be accredited in the Philippines, they must abide by the rules and regulations related to Republic Act No. 7160 that govern the operations of tourist establishments. This act requires hotels to ensure the safety, comfort and convenience of their guests by providing specific facilities, amenities, and services. One of the specific requirements is for hotels to provide housekeeping of the highest possible standard. They should be able to keep hotel premises clean and tidy, as well as change linens, blankets, towels, and daily. This is to ensure that you are protected against infectious diseases. Another requirement for hotels is to provide medical service by having a medical clinic, or a registered nurse 24/7 and an on-call doctor for emergencies. Even clean and proper food-handling practices are required as a concern for your health. Therefore, the next time you see a cockroach on your plate, you can immediately call the manager for a discussion.
  4. Liability. Articles’ 1998 to 2004 of the Civil Code of the Philippines tackle the hotel’s responsibility to the personal effects of their guests. The provisions state that hotels are responsible for any depositories made by their guests. They are also liable for any animal, vehicle, or material that are lost or damaged in the annexes of hotels. This only applies, however, if the loss or damage was caused by the  hotel personnel or employee. One important information you should know is that “the hotel-keeper cannot free himself from responsibility by posting notices to the effect that he is not liable for the articles brought by the guest…” (art. 2003).
  5. Rights of disabled people. To avoid prejudice and promote equality among all, the Republic Act 9442 focuses on the rights of disabled or handicapped people. Under the law, disabled people are given at least twenty percent (20%) discount from all establishments relative to the utilization of all services in hotels and similar lodging establishments for their exclusive use or enjoyment. The Accessibility law of the Philippines also enhances the mobility of disabled persons by requiring certain establishments to install facilities and other devices such as sidewalks, ramps, railings, and the like.

Now you know which laws you can use as grounds for complaint. Keep in mind, however, that some hotel accommodations may have certain prohibitions or modifications regarding these laws. These may have been stated on the contract or booking form you have signed. As general rule, thoroughly read your contracts before signing them!

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