When floor numbers don’t tell the whole story

07Apr10

During a recent trip, I stayed on what was supposed to be the 31st floor of a hotel. However, as I quickly found out, floor 31 doesn’t necessarily mean you’re 31 floors off the ground. To be fair, many buildings skip the 13th floor, so it’s no surprise if the actual floor varies a bit from how it’s numbered. But in my case, the 31st floor was actually closer to floor 25, with a seemingly random series of floors skipped along the way.

My hotel experience was great overall, but I do feel a bit sour about the whole floor numbering situation. When you book a room on the 31st floor, you expect it to be about 30 or 31 stories off the ground. Is floor 25 all that different? Probably not. But what if my reservation was for floor 50, and the hotel skipped 20 floors along the way, making the actual height closer to floor 30? That’s certainly a big disconnect, and I think most people would feel cheated in that scenario.

What’s the solution? Provide better disclosure of actual floor locations when a lot of floors are missing from a given building. Whether it’s a hotel, condo, or office space, skipping anything more than one or two floors could cause problems once customers see that the actual location isn’t as advertised.

In these situations, the best approach is to provide some sort of footnote in your advertising, reservation form, etc. to explain which floor numbers have been skipped and where the actual unit is located relative to the ground level. Sure, a few people might get turned off by this knowledge. But those are precisely the people who would be even more angry if they arrived at the property and found that the location and view weren’t quite what they expected.



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