Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hotels and Credit Cards

I have missed my little blog. Haven't been working that much lately, so no new stories, but I always have tons of stuff saved up that I never post. This one is about hotels and credit/debit cards.

So, let me tell you all how it works. You check into the hotel. I swipe your credit card. And no, I can't use the one on file, because we need to swipe a credit card to show you were actually here in case the charges are disputed. So, anyway, I swipe the CC and a hold is placed on it. The hold will be for the full amount of your stay, plus extra for incidentals (you break something, you buy from the hotel store, you eat in the hotel restaurant). If someone's rate is $150, the hold will probably be a little over $200. This is the way it is. If you don't like it, don't stay in hotels.

This is just a hold. The actual amount will not be charged to your account until you check out. This is why you can change credit cards before you leave. Upon check out, the amount will be charged to your credit card and the remainder of the hold released, in three to five business days. Debit cards can take longer.

Unfortunately, because people have no money, they often want us to change this. And we can. It's just a pain in the ass. We need a bank fax number to send a letter authorizing the release of the hold. And some banks won't take that, so then we have to call and listen to elevator music for a half hour to get your hold released. It's not a fun process.

I once had this woman come to check in. A Hispanic woman. She did speak English, though with a thick accent. I asked for a credit card and she told me her mother, who would be arriving in about an hour, would be paying for her room. Well, that's great, but I need a credit card to check you in. She hands over her credit card, and I TELL HER A HOLD WILL BE PLACED ON IT. She says that's fine.

An hour later, I'm taking my break, and my supervisor, who's covering the desk, comes and asks me about this woman. I go back out, and the woman is now there with her husband.

"That's her!" she points at me accusingly.

It turns out the credit card hold means the woman now has no money to spend on this weekend. I say to her that I did tell her a hold would be placed.

"I didn't realize it would be on my credit card!" Her husband chimes in further to back her up, she didn't understand, blah blah blah. "And now what are we supposed to do? We're going to have to go home! We have no money to spend this weekend!"

Where else did she think the hold would be? I mean, I'm sorry if she didn't understand me, but I told her something and she said it was fine. When a customer says that yes, it's fine to place a hold, I take it to mean that it actually is fine. And if you don't understand what I'm saying, ASK. I'm not a fucking mind reader.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Today at work, we had several groups holding meetings. The largest meeting was run by a pain-in-the-ass, high-maintenance, man. Holy crap, was he annoying.

I met him for the first time on Monday, when he wanted to start setting up his stuff in the meeting room immediately after the group that day departed. I said, sure, no problem, that I would call with an estimated time of when banquets would finish cleaning the room, and asked for a phone number. He tried giving me his foreign cell phone to call. Hell no.

Then today, he comes down and asks for copies to be made of several sheets of paper. Just one copy, he said. My co-worker goes to the back to make the copies, and comes back with his one. But now he's changed his mind. He needs more than one. Okay, fine. She notices that there are a few back pages, and asks if he wants those copied as well. Yes, he does. Except we don't have a two-sided copier, so it's going to take a little while.

She goes into the back to make his copies, and he stands there waiting. After a few minutes he's starting to get antsy, and asks me to go into the back to check on his copies. I go into the back and check, and my co-worker is standing at a desk, putting his papers in order for him. I come out and tell him "it'll be just a few more minutes". So we're standing, waiting, and this guy must be off his meds or something, because he's getting seriously agitated. He says to me, and I quote, "I'm getting really stressed about this. Can I go and check on her myself?"

"," I say quickly. I give him a brief, fake smile. "We can't let you go in the back office." So we're standing, waiting, and I'm trying to hold back my laughter, and sort of succeeding. The huge smile on my face the entire time he was standing there might have given me away.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some Things Make Me Very Happy

I came home today and my mother asked how work was. My response? "I'm so glad this isn't my career for life."

Ultimately, I don't think I'm subservient enough to work in the hospitality industry, at least not in a position where I have to deal directly with customers. When I first started at the hotel, I told them I wanted to eventually work in corporate. Which is true. What I didn't say is that I want to be part of the corporate in-house legal department. Which requires another three years of schooling, which I'm starting in 9 months. They don't need to know that.

But anyway, back to today. There was a request in one of the reservations, a woman staying for 9 days, to be on the first floor near the outdoor pool. So I rearrange the room blocking to give her the one room I have there. And then my supervisor writes all over the reservation to tell the guest that no smoking is allowed by the pool courtyard. She's stayed before.

So the guest calls later that day, to make sure her request was noted, and she tells me she wants a room with a balcony. Now I'm confused. The hotel doesn't have balconies. I tell her this, and she tells me we do. I go ask the AGM, and it turns out the rooms around the courtyard on the first floor have little patios. Which maybe I would know if I was ever, I don't know, given a tour? So I return to the guest on the phone and tell her that her request was noted and we'll try to give her that room, but it's not guaranteed. Which is what we're supposed to do. I'm never supposed to guarantee a specific room. And here we go.

"I want to talk to a manager! I'm spending the better part of 3 weeks (since when does 9 days equal 3 weeks?) there and spending upwards of $3000 (wtf? our hotel is not $300 a night) there and I want that room! Blah blah blah."

Fine, I transfer her to the AGM, who then comes out and asks me what I said to her. The other front desk person was there the entire time I was on the phone, and she agreed that I was perfectly polite and didn't say anything out of order. I tell the AGM that I thought we're not supposed to guarantee room types. This is what she's told me in the past. I had early check-ins today and very few rooms ready, and if I had to give that room away, at least the woman wasn't told she was definitely getting that room. Her response: If we had blocked a room for a handicapped person and that was the only room we had when someone came to check-in early, would you give it away?

Wow, that is a terrible analogy. A handicapped person is not at all equivalent to someone who wants to break the rules and smoke in the hotel. I am completely disgusted with this woman - she feels the need to complain to my manager and possibly threaten my job because she's addicted to nicotine? All I have to say is, she better not ask me for anything while she's here. I'm not helping her with shit.

And that is why I'm glad this isn't my chosen career path.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stop Calling Here!!!

For some reason, whenever I have someone from a certain area of the world stay (think Middle East/India area), they receive lots of phone calls. I don't know if it's because they don't know how to use email or if it's because the person isn't trusted to handle company business without lots of instruction, but whatever it is, it's annoying as hell. All calls to the hotel go through me. We don't have something where it gives you the option to put in an extension first. Everything goes through me.

And for those of you who are thinking, well, that's your job, get over it, I might agree - except when people get five phone calls in an hour. Honestly - it's irritating. At a certain point, I pick up the phone and I already know who's on the other end.

One person, when calling for this guy (who may or may not have been Indian) asked me when he was checking out. I told him Friday. I probably wasn't supposed to do that. Then he asked what room he's in. "We don't give that information out." Then (this may be one of the best questions I've received since I started working in hotels, and that's saying something) he asked where he was going when he left. Umm, are you kidding? What a stupid question. Do I look like his travel agent? Cue a flat "I don't know" on my end.

I was so glad when that guy left. Seriously, stop calling here!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Immediate Assistance

Continuing with my telephone theme...

The other day I had a woman call the hotel. I can't remember what she wanted - either she was having an event or she wanted a block of rooms for a wedding. Either way, that goes to our sales manager. I put her through and hung up.

Twenty seconds later, the phone rings, the screen showing that the call has been bounced back to me. I pick up the phone and give my greeting again - which takes a really long time, by the way. I'm losing my voice from this job. The woman tells me she didn't pick up. Yes, I can tell.

"Okay, then you can leave her a message on her voice mail. Did it not give you the option to do that?" I know that this manager's voice mail fills up quickly.
"No, it did. But then it said press zero for immediate assistance."
Okaay. "Yes, ma'am. It connected you back to me. But she's the only one who can assist you with that. Would you like me to connect you to her voice mail so you can leave a message?"
"No." And she hangs up.

People are spoiled. Instant gratification - not available here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Telephone Pet Peeve

There is something people do that I absolutely hate. Seriously, it drives me freakin' insane. Let me tell you about it.

A guest in the hotel calls someone outside the hotel, using the hotel phone (which is a complete rip-off, by the way). That person misses the call. They see the missed call on their phone, and for whatever reason, decide to just randomly call back that number and see if it's someone they know. I do not understand this tendency. Especially since I am the one that has to field all these phone calls. For people that do this, let's go over how ridiculous this sounds.

"Good morning, thank you for calling -----. This is ---- speaking, how may I help you?"
"Yeah, someone just called me from this number."
"This is a hotel, ma'am."
"A hotel. The ----. We have over 150 rooms here."
"Well, someone just called me from this number."
"I don't know who that was, ma'am. We have over 150 rooms here."

And so on.

When I miss phone calls, I do not call back numbers I don't know. I figure if it was that important, they would leave a message. If I'm job-hunting and think I may have missed a call from a potential employer, I google the number. If it was that employer, I call them. Why do people feel the need to call back every number that calls their phone? It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Job Description

I've seen this before, floating around the internet. We also have a copy on the bulletin board at work. It's really the perfect description of what I do.

"I am a Front Desk Agent"

I have advanced degrees in Accounting, Public Relations, Marketing, Business, Computer Science, Civil Engineering, and Swahili. I can also read minds.

Of course I have the reservation that you booked six years ago even though you don't have the confirmation number and you think it was made under a name that starts with "S".

It is completely my fault that the blizzard shut down the airport and you have to sleep in a warm king-size bed while 5000 of your co-travelers are sleeping in benches at the airport. I am sorry.

It is not a problem for me to give you seven connecting, non-smoking, poolside suites with two king beds in each, four rollaways, 3 cribs, and yes, I can install a wet bar. I know it is my fault that we do not have a helicopter landing pad.

I am a Front Desk Agent. I am expected to speak all languages fluently. It is obvious to me that when you booked your reservation for Friday on the weekend we're sold out that you really meant Saturday. My company has entrusted me with all financial information and decisions, and yes, I am lying to you when I say we have no more rooms available. It is not a problem for me to quickly construct several more guest rooms. THIS time I will not forget the helicopter landing pad. And it is my fault that everyone wanted to stay here. I should have known you were coming in, even though you had no reservation. After all, you stay at our brand of hotel all the time, 300 nights a year, and this is only the first time you've ever been to our city.

I am a front desk agent. I am quite capable of checking three people in, two people out, taking five reservations, answering fifteen incoming calls, delivering six bath towels to room 625, plunging the toilet in room 101, and restocking the supply of pool towels, all at the same time. Yes, I will be glad to call the van driver and tell him to drive over all the cars stuck in traffic because you've been waiting at the airport for 15 minutes and you've got jet lag.

I am a front desk agent, an operator, a bellhop, houseman, guest service representative, housekeeper, sales coordinator, information specialist, entertainment critic, restauranteur, stock broker, referee, janitor, computer technician, plumber, ice-breaker, postman, babysitter, dispatcher, laundry cleaner, lifeguard, electrician, ambassador, personal fitness trainer, fax expert, human jukebox, domestic abuse counselor, and verbal punching bag. Yes, I know room 112 is not answering their phone. And of course I have their travel itinerary so I know exactly where they went when they left here 9 hours ago, and what their cell phone number is.

I always know where to find the best vegetarian-kosher-Mongolian-barbecue restaurants. I know exactly what to see and do in this city in fifteen minutes without spending any money and without getting caught in traffic. I take personal blame for airline food, traffic jams, rental car flat tires, and the nation's economy.

I realize that you meant to book your reservation here. People often confuse us with the Galaxy Delight Motel, Antarctica. Of course I can "fit you in" and yes, you may have the special $1 rate because you are affiliated with the Hoboken Accounting and Bagel Club.

I am expected to smile, empathize, sympathize, console, condole, upsell, downsell (and know when to do which), perform, sing, dance, fix the printer, and tell your friends that you're here. And I know exactly where 613 Possum Trot Lane is in the Way Out There subdivision that they just built last week.

After all, I AM a Front Desk Agent!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You're Not That Special

At my new job, I only work the morning shift. So I don't do many check-ins. Which kind of makes me sad, because I like checking guests in. Except when they're like the woman from this afternoon.

She came in and was a rewards member, the second highest level. Or third, depending on how you look at it - the highest level also has a special, more elite level. So she's the second or third highest level, which really isn't all that special. We're a business hotel - we have dozens of people who check in every day who are the highest level.

But I'm checking her in and she asks to be upgraded. I say no. At this hotel, they really don't upgrade people that often. Or when they do, they're company VIPs rather than rewards members. We had a member of the highest, most elite level request an upgrade today and they wouldn't give it to him. So she's certainly not getting one.

She complains that at other hotels she always gets upgraded, and she never does here. I tell her I'm sorry, and that even higher members don't usually get upgraded. She complains some more, sorry, sorry, and she goes off to her room.

She calls down a few minutes later. Upon check-in, I gave her the member's package, which is keys and a keyholder thanking you for being a member, and a coupon for breakfast. She says she noticed that I gave her a package for members, and wants to know if there's a package specifically for her level. WTF? I tell her no.

"Oh, really? That's silly."

She calls back a few minutes later, wanting to speak to the sales manager. Presumably about the upgrade she didn't get. I connect her to the sales manager, who isn't there. So she calls back again, wanting to speak to the guest services manager. I tell her to leave a message on my supervisor's voicemail. This woman is a pain in the ass.

So I go back and tell the assistant GM about her. I don't even say her name, and she knows who I'm talking about. She's stayed 8 times previously and been upgraded twice. During one of her previous stays, she heard a man who had fallen out of bed yelling for help and alerted hotel personnel - and then ASKED TO BE COMPENSATED FOR HER GOOD DEED.

Thank god she doesn't stay that often.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My New Job

So, in the 2 1/2 weeks since my last post, I have started my new job. All in all, I'd say it's going okay so far...not great, but okay.

I started on a Sunday (10/10/10 and 5 weddings staying - can people please choose a more original date to get married?!?!), which was an idiotic move on the hotel's part, since there was of course no manager there to train me. Although perhaps this was not a mistake on the their part, as I thought, because in the two weeks I've been there I've received little to no training. I went into a few rooms on my own - that was my tour of the rooms - and wandered around the hotel's lowest level - that was how I found the fitness center. Apparently this is not unusual - they don't seem to believe in training at my new job. I've been asked things - where the fitness center is, do we have irons in the rooms, how many people do the suites accommodate - and been unable to answer them. Sigh.

Additionally, there are supposed to always be two people at the front desk. Riiiight. Sometimes what happens is there are two people on paper, but the front desk supervisor is the second person and she stays in the back all day. Otherwise, I'm always with the same guy, who is nice but takes frequent breaks to make phone calls or go bullshit in the back office.

Oh well. At least I'm making more that I did before, I have a set schedule, and I get (some) tips from driving the hotel shuttle. I'm only going to be there for 11 months anyway.

My first story from this place soon to come. This guy was genuinely delusional. If it wasn't so pathetic, it would be funny. Oh was.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Better View

Even though I have completed my last shift at my previous hotel, I still have stories to tell. Like this past Sunday. That was my first ever Sunday afternoon shift, which is supposed to be a pretty quiet 8 hours. And it was. Except for this one couple.

A fairly young couple, they come in right around check-in time with their baby. I put them on the second floor, front-facing. Now, at the hotel, neither side is really all that great - the front faces a major highway, the back faces railroad tracks. The back is supposedly quieter. But as Expedia travelers, these people get the front.

After about 10 minutes, the husband comes down to get some things from the car. As he walks back in, he stops at the front desk. Here we go...

I give him a fake smile and ask, "Is there something I can help you with?"

He shifts back and forth. "Umm, could we move to a higher floor?"

Great. I give him another fake smile. "Let me check if anything's available." Meaning, is there anything front facing on the fourth floor that hasn't already been blocked. Because I'm not breaking any blocks for this guy and I'm not putting him in the back. You'll see why in a minute.

I find a room on the fourth floor and go to his reservation to transfer him. As I click away on the keyboard, I ask him, "Is there a problem with the room?"

"Umm, no, we just want to be on a higher floor, better view and all that..." He gives a nervous laugh as I look at him incredulously. A better view of what? The highway and all the shopping centers in the next town over? Because that's the view. We're off a highway, which lets off onto a route with tons of shopping centers. There is no view.

I ask him if the room's been used and he says no, so I give him the new keys and tell him to bring back the old ones. Fifteen minutes later, he brings back the old keys and I ask how the new room is.

He gives another nervous laugh. Maybe he can tell I'm judging him. "It's good. It feels nicer, you know, just being on a higher floor..." Another nervous laugh. My eyebrows go up as I give him another look. He feels more important being on the top floor? Or maybe he just feels taller - he's a small man. I take the keys and tell him to have a good night - meaning go away and don't bother me again.

I repeat this when they ask for a crib two hours later.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm Leaving!

So, I have some exciting news to share with you, readers. I'm leaving! Leaving! Leaving! Now, I shouldn't be too excited about leaving my little 104-room hotel, because I'm just moving to another one, but I am. Ah, the anticipation.

The new one is bigger, supposedly more organized, newer, and more expensive. I say supposedly more organized, but after thinking about it, I realize that any other hotel will be organized that the last one. Plus I'm getting paid more, there will be two people at the front, and I'll get tips from driving the shuttle in the morning.

The only downside is that I will pretty much only be working the morning shifts, and I am so not a morning person. But I will probably have some more stories for you all, since I won't be doing any complaining about guests to my fellow hotel staff. For the first few months, anyway.

I start next week.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gritting My Teeth...

This is un-fucking believable. People are disgusting pigs, assholes, insert your choice word here. Unreal.

My hotel is located fairly close to West Point Military Academy, and this weekend is homecoming weekend. Upon their return from the game, several families asked me if they could hang out in the breakfast room. Figuring that they just wanted to eat dinner and hang out for a bit, I said yes and warned them to keep the noise down. You see, these families checked in last night at around 10 PM and promptly stared screaming, yelling, and drinking beers. I got phone calls from nearby rooms asking me to shut them up! So I tell them to keep the noise down and they say it would be worse if they go up and hang out in one of the rooms. Fine, whatever.

Well, little did I know that they planned to use the breakfast room as if it was a kitchen in one of their homes! Out come the coolers, the beers, and the drink shakers. And the noise. I'm standing here, gritting my teeth, having told them repeatedly to keep it down and wondering about my options for kicking them back to their rooms.

These people are fucking ridiculous. One of the men came to the front, with his beer, to ask about the channels for the TV in that room. Since they're not the same as they are in the rooms, I don't know what they are. I tell him this.

"Oh. So you don't know if there are any of the regular channels on it. Because we're trying to watch and we're really not getting what we want."

Well, that makes two of us then. I wanted a nice quiet Saturday night, but it seems I'm not going to get one. I am so tempted to say this to him, but manage to restrain myself and simply shake my head no.

"So who handles the channels then?" Umm, Comcast or whoever our cable provider is? I have no idea. "There's no maintenance man to handle this?" Again, no. "Then who helps you?" NO ONE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!!! Otherwise, I'd have kicked them out by now, because there'd be someone to help me with this group of drunk idiots and the mess they're going to leave.

Then, the cherry on top of a truly fantastic few hours. One of the drink morons knocks over a huge cooler, which was once filled with ice but is now mostly water. I stare at the mess, my face white and pinched. These people are getting on my last fucking nerve. One of the women volunteers to clean it up, and we go get a mop and bucket. I go back to the desk, and the woman starts cleaning up. And then the TV asshole from before comes back.

"Why are you doing that? Why isn't there someone from the hotel to do that?" Umm, seriously? I stare at him and try not to burst into hysterical laughter. He wants me to clean up the mess these drunk idiots made? He continues, "I'm serious! Let me get a video of this. I'm going to put it on YouTube and send it to your CEO!"

The woman cleaning up tells him she volunteered, and he continues to make asinine comments while she cleans. He pulls out his phone and after the woman finishes and I put the bucket away (and tell her, again, to keep the noise down) I come back to more idiotic comments.

"Is it on YouTube? Yeah, it's up! You're on YouTube! You're on YouTube!"

And they're still here. Time is just dragging by. I would looove to kick them out, but I don't want to deal with the scene they're guaranteeeeed to make. Fucking assholes! If you don't know how to behave in public, stay home!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Very Old Post

I've been meaning to post these stories for the last three weeks, but just never seem to have the time. However, now that I'm at work with nothing to do...

This was a particularly noteworthy Saturday night. Two customers booked the wrong room type, and a third booked a room with Expedia/, who never sent the reservation to our system. Lovely.

Story #1 - the first guy pulls in driving a fairly large moving van. I'm checking him in, and see the note in the reservation that says "2 beds". However, what he's booked (and paid for) is a room with one bed. He asks about this as I'm checking him in, and I tell him it's one bed. Cue the fireworks.

"What?!? What do you mean it's one bed? Expedia told me it was two! I need a second bed!" etc, etc, etc.

It was actually sort of entertaining - my father's a yeller, so it doesn't really bother me when people raise their voices, but two older guests in the lobby became very concerned. They hung out for a while, peeking outside while the man yelled on his cell phone, and when I said that I was fine and they could go upstairs, told me to call them if I needed any help.

The guy came back in, a little calmer, and said Expedia had told him it was two beds, and he needed another bed for his father, who was in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank. They were traveling down the coast and were stopping for the night. I felt bad for him, but I didn't have two beds. So I got him a rollaway for his room and offered to help him book a reservation for the next night in Virginia, to make sure he got his two beds. More on that later. He thanked me and said he was going to sue Expedia.

Story #2 - this guy was an asshole. He came in and checked into his room with one king bed. During check-in, he asked me if it was a room with two beds. I say no, that it's a king, that's what he booked. He says his secretary booked that for him and he needs two beds. Which we don't have.

He tells me that maybe he'll just go to the rival hotel chain down the street. I say that he can do that, absolutely, but at this point it's too late to cancel his reservation (Expedia's policy, not ours). We can make exceptions to our cancellation policy in certain circumstances - they do not. He leaves, without resolving his problem.

Only to call down from the room later that night, asking if we have any rollaway beds. I'd gotten several from the fourth floor closet that night, and knew that the ones remaining weren't ready. So I tell him no, we don't have any rollaway beds.

"You don't have any rollaway beds?!?"
And here was my fatal mistake, readers. "We have them sir, but we don't have any that are ready right now. They're dirty."
"Well, can't you bring some sheets up? We'll make the bed."

Now the problem with my hotel is that we don't have extras of anything. No blankets, no pillows. We do have sheets, but I have no idea what size they are, flat vs. fitted, whatever. So I tell him I'll go check. At this point, I probably have a bit of an edge to my voice, because he's being an asshole and I'm tired.

Evidently this pisses him, and he starts telling me how I might have had a long day, but he has too, and he needs a rollaway, blah blah blah. I don't say anything in response to this, because there's really no point in engaging with this man. Then he asks to speak to my manager.

Well...screw you, asshole, because it's a Saturday night and my manager's not here! I'm running this goddamn hotel all by myself, so excuse me if I'm not being as cheery and pleasant as you would like. It's been a long night running around getting things for guests and answering the phone every two seconds, as well as dealing with assholes like yourself. So I tell him my manager's not here, to which he reacts with complete disbelief. Like I'm lying. I tell him I'll check on those sheets and hang up.

I go into the back, get the keys to the housekeeping closet...and guests come in. So I'm checking them in and the phone rings. It's the asshole, wanting to know if I've found those sheets. Seeing as it's been two minutes (seriously, literally two minutes), the linen closet is on the third floor, and I lack the ability to fly, I tell him, no, I haven't. He starts bitching again and I say that I'm checking people in and I'll go check afterward.

So I send these people up to their room, pick up the keys to go check the closet, and who appears at the front desk? The asshole! I dangle the keys from my fingers and tell him I'm going to check right now. He asks if I want help and I snap out a curt "No".

Luckily, I am able to find one rollaway bed already made in the third floor closet, behind two housekeeping carts. Now, these things are heavy, and hard to move. I spend ten minutes maneuvering them aroung the third floor hallway so I can get the rollaway out. I take the rollaway to his room, and the guy he's sharing the room with opens the door. He takes the rollaway and I go back downstairs and tell asshole the rollaway's in his room.

"Really? That was fast!" His mood seems to be much enhanced, thanks to a woman sitting on the couch in the lobby. I smile grimly at him as he goes back upstairs.

The next day, I tell my manager the story and he says that guy came down and complained about me. WHAT. AN. ASSHOLE.

That guy's gotten me too worked up to tell the third. That memorable event to come later.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Teenagers are an amusing breed. We don't have many staying at my hotel, because we have a strict 21 and over policy, but they do come along occasionally. Usually with their parents. Or is this case, as part of a school volleyball/lacrosse/field hockey team (it was a team, okay? I didn't care enough to ask what they played).

Fifteen minutes after checking them into their four rooms, I get a call from 317.

"Guest Services."
"Do you guys have, umm, MTV here?"

I immediately look for my channel guide. After various inquiries from guests, and numerous complaints from me, my manager finally gave me a channel guide that I taped to the front desk. Because, believe it or not, I don't spend every hour of my day watching TV in the rooms and therefore am not that familiar with them. Though from the questions I get, guests seem to believe I do. My guide is not there. I found out later than one of the night guys gave it to a guest. Apparently, he didn't feel like replacing it.

In the absence of my channel guide, I tell the guest that there's a channel guide in the hotel's information binder, and "if we have MTV, it will be listed there."
"I already checked the guide. It didn't have it. And then I looked through all the channels and didn't see it."
My natural response to this idiocy is to say "then we don't have it". If you've checked both the guide and the TV, and you can't find a channel, the odds are pretty good that IT'S NOT THERE. But recognizing that this would not be the most customer-friendly response, I am silent while I grapple for a good response. Finally, I say, "then it's not available."
"Oh. Okay." She hangs up.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Greedy Missionaries

Perhaps you think this post's title is an oxymoron, no? No, dear readers, it is not. Tonight, I checked in three rooms of missionaries. First off, I should make clear that I have no problem with organized religion, as long as people keep it to themselves and don't try to convert or preach to me (or anyone else who's not interested, for that matter). The first was pretty much fine, aside from a brief incident with his huge RV taking up eight parking spots and him not wanting to move it.

The other two rooms were for another guy, his wife, and their five children. I put the two rooms next to each other. They check in, and the children are fine, quiet, the wife is polite, and the guy is kind of a jerk. The wife tells him they need to go buy toothpaste. He tells her, no, they have here, and then tells me "we need two tubes of toothpaste." No please, just an order, and my instant dislike of this guy is formed. Which is only amplified when he calls down five minutes later.

It seems their tub is dirty and he can't take a "nice long soak" the way he wanted to. First of all, ew. No matter how nice the hotel, I would never, ever take a bath in a place where thousands of other people have bathed. (Though I am a bit of a germophobe) I offer to move them. He asks if the new room is near his children. It's down the hall. In that case, no, he doesn't want to move. I offer to move the kids too - no. What he wants is for me to make a note for the morning person so he can get some money off his bill.

Now, he is already getting a discount, because rates for kings were raised tonight. But I knew he'd make a big fuss about paying more for his king than his kids' double room, so I kept them the same rate. Now he wants MORE off? I don't think so! So I made a note for the morning person (which is me, btw - HA) - 327 complained of dirty tub 5 min after C/I but didn't want to move. He is NOT getting money taken off.

My manager (who lives in the hotel) wanders by after I check this guy in, and I tell him the story. He tells me the first guy seemed like a douche - when he went out (in street clothes) to tell him he couldn't take up eight spots, he got a very snotty "Do you work here?" Yes, douche, he does. The douche then asked me if my manager works here. Yes, he does.

We discuss for a minute how un-missionary-like these people seem. Then, a thought hits me. I say to my manager, "Hey maybe they're like pastors for those big churches that steal from people. You know what I mean?"

He frowns for a minute, then his eyes light up with recognition. "Yes! Like con artists! They totally are."

They totally are. The second family's last name is "Loving".

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In For a Penny...

...Out of a marriage, apparently.

I received an entertaining phone call yesterday while at work, from a frequent guest of the hotel. He stays fairly often, usually coming in very VERY early. He once came in at 8 in the morning, when check-in's at 3. He then called hourly to ask if a room was ready. His reason for coming so often? To cheat on his wife.

As you would imagine, he does not want any record of this on his credit card. So he always pays cash. Unfortunately for him, upon his latest stay the guy who checked him in didn't round correctly, and one cent was charged to his credit card.

Now, I should mention that this was an error on the hotel's part. If there is a balance for one cent when checking someone out, the clerk is supposed to make a cash adjustment. Why? Because that penny will not cover the cost of the transaction fee from Visa/Mastercard/Amex/Discover, so it's best to just not do it. Unfortunately for the cheater, the girl who checked him out is a lazy idiot, who has since been fired. Not that that really helps him now.

So now there is a charge for one cent on this guy's credit card, and he wants it removed. I've seen my manager make refunds after a guest has checked out, but I can't remember how to do it, so I tell him that I'll have my manager do it when he's there. He says okay, as long as it's removed, and wants me to call him back to tell him it's been removed.

I wonder if this guy knows how credit cards work. It can't be removed, it can just be credited back. The transactions will still be there. So he'll just have to hide the statements from his wife this month. Or better yet, just not cheat in the first place. It's called divorce.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Making a Mountain of a Molehill

I came into work this past Friday and promptly read the weekly GSS. Usually I love the GSS. Because I never have complaints, or the ones I do have are so ridiculous we just shrug and dismiss them. And it's always funny to hear people complain over nothing. OR (and these do exist) to have some nice feedback and say the stay was wonderful.

But anyway, in this week's GSS there was a complaint. It wasn't specifically about me, it was about the room and my response to it. I remember this guy - he and his girlfriend checked in, all was pleasant, sent them up to one of our best rooms (back facing, higher floor). They came down dressed for dinner, and are breezing past the front desk when I stop them to ask how the room is. The guy tells me some of the TV channels are out and the hairdryer isn't working.

This particular day, we had been getting a lot of complaints about TV channels not working. I didn't know the reason for it, but it was a weekend and my manager wasn't there. So I smile, tell him channels are out in a lot of rooms, and apologize - for both the TV and the hairdryer, since those are attached to the wall and we don't have extras. He didn't ask to switch rooms and I didn't offer - I don't remember why. Either we were full that weekend (which is very possible) or I just thought those two things were so minor that they didn't necessitate a move to another room.

Well, in the GSS, he wrote about how they complained to the lady at the front desk, who "chuckled and said channels were out in a lot of rooms". He then goes on to say how he expected to be offered another room, when a guest complains something should be done, etc. DID HE NOT HEAR ME WHEN I SAID CHANNELS WERE OUT IN MANY ROOMS? Any room I moved him to would have likely have had the same problem. And if we were full, they had already used the room, and I couldn't reuse it for someone else, which would have made us overbooked. As a friendly fellow blogger once said, housekeepers are not always working!

Now I am annoyed. People!

**An update - I checked back on this guy's reservation and we were full that weekend. Labor Day. So I couldn't have moved them even if he had asked. Which he didn't.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Broadview, I Hate You

I've been meaning to write about my Saturday from two weeks ago for a while, but this one has to go up first. Last night just took the cake for the worst shift I've ever had, bar none. And it was all thanks to our internet service provider. The world really would implode without internet.

I came in for my shift, and the internet was down. It had only been down for about an hour, it was fairly early in the afternoon, no one was there, fine. It was really just a minor inconvenience that we couldn't take new credit cards and we couldn't make reservations. We were hoping it wouldn't be down for too long.

Well, guess what? It was down for SEVEN HOURS, six of which were during my shift. During that time, there was no wireless or wired internet. So our system couldn't connect to the the main system, which meant we weren't receiving reservations or cancellations, we couldn't make reservations, we couldn't edit reservations, we couldn't take new credit cards (change from the one guests used to hold the room), we couldn't look up rewards information...anything that the central reservations has anything to do with, we couldn't do. It sucked.

And even once the internet came back, the wireless was still intermittent. So guests were complaining...I would say around ten complaints. Resetting the router did nothing. I had off today, but I'm sure many discounts were given this morning.

That is the world without internet.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Um Eww

This weekend I worked the Saturday afternoon/evening shift. Fairly good shift, actually. This woman checked in and was placed on the fourth floor, since she came in too early for her request to be honored. And I was asked if I ever stop smiling, which I consider a pretty big compliment. Too bad my manager wasn't there - on the weekly schedule, there's always a note below that says "Smiles On!" Hee hee.

The eww thing happened as my shift was ending. The night guy is usually late, so I was hanging out waiting for him, five minutes past the time my shift was supposed to have ended. A woman calls the front desk.

"Guest Services."
"Hi. Is it too late for room service?"
"We don't have room service here, ma'am."
"Oh." Long pause. I'm expecting here to ask me about some delivery options, or restaurants that are still open, but instead... "How would I go about getting another cover?"
"You need another blanket?"
"Yes...and sheets too. My son threw up in the bed."

Um, eww. Thankfully, the night guy came in just then and I passed her off to him. This is why I don't like children.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Love Being Right

And...I was right. Worked Saturday afternoon/evening shift, and there were two guests who booked the wrong room type. One was briefly pissy about it but then recovered and was fine, and the other was one of the biggest assholes I have met in my short hospitality career. Then there was the reservation Expedia lost...while we were completely booked...which makes me think I will never book with Expedia...EVER!!!!

Those stories to come when I have time to write a real post.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

For anyone who's forgotten, this weekend is Labor Day weekend. I'm not anticipating a good few days. First, we're sold out tonight and tomorrow, and second, pretty much every reservation this weekend is Expedia.

For those of you just joining me, you may not be aware of my feelings regarding Expedia reservations. I don't like them. I wrote about this previously. These guests pay an extremely low rate, yet are the biggest pain in the ass of anyone in the hotel. Extra towels, extra blankets, extra pillows, milk (to be brought up to their room), booking the wrong room type and expecting us to fix it, asking for free upgrades, etc. And if anyone reading this books through Expedia...well, just know that hotel clerks don't think very highly of you. And most hotels will happily match an discounted online rate. But I digress...

So this weekend, pretty much everyone staying has booked through Expedia. I'm not sure why. What I am sure of is that these guests are going to be problematic. It's already started.

One guy came in. He booked a room with one double bed, and requested a king. I go to check him in and he says to me, "That's a king bed, right?"
"No, sir, it's a double bed."
He stares blankly at me, and I tell him, "You booked a double bed, sir."
"But I requested a king."
"All requests are subject to availability, and there are no kings available."

Now, I can see this guy had three reservations that he cancelled with Expedia. One was for a king bed, but I guess he decided it was too much money and he'd rather harass the people at the hotel into giving him one. Unfortunately for him, there are none to give.

He tells his wife we have no kings, and she jumps in. "Then where am I supposed to sleep?"

Come on people. Americans haven't gotten so fat that you can't share a double bed for three nights. If you wanted a king, you should have booked a king. Eventually, my manager tells him he can move to a king Sunday, when we have some available. He settles for that and tells us if anyone cancels for tomorrow, he wants to move then. Get in line, buddy - we have a regular guest who wants to extend his stay to Sunday. He'll be first if any kings open up - after all, he tips me $5 every time he's here.

At the same time this guest was checking in, so was a friend of his - another Mensa member. He has three people, but only booked a room with one double bed. He pulls up the email on his phone to show me - "see, I booked a double!". That's right, you did - a room with ONE double bed. I don't know why this is so confusing. Or why Expedia guests are the only ones that do this. I think they just see the lowest rate and jump at it without reading the bed description RIGHT BELOW. My manager thinks they do it deliberately to make us fix it and keep the same price. But PLENTY of people manage to book the correct room type - so why can't these people do the same?

This guy goes online and sees he booked one double bed. My manager, to get rid of him, gives him a room with two beds for two nights. For the third night, we're sold out, and he tells him we'll place a rollaway in their new room. He doesn't understand why we can't keep him in the same room and bump someone else for the third night. My manager tells him we won't do that.

So that's two people who've booked incorrectly so far, in this lovely Expedia weekend. Between today and tomorrow, I'm sure there will be at least 3 more. I guess we'll see...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Post-Midnight Arrivals

I'm not really a fan of working weekends. Not for the reason you would think, but because the weekend guests are always more work. Plus - children. At least I usually get a few stories out of it.

So, this Saturday, I get a call from this woman asking about our availability. She's stayed a few times before. I tell her we have rooms available, and go to set up the reservation for her. But she has some questions first.

"So, we're going to be arriving like 1 in the morning."
"That's no problem, we'll hold the room for you."
"But if I arrive at 1 in the morning, what time do we have to check out?"
Wonderful. I already know where this is going.
"12:00, ma'am."
"You mean we have to leave at 12 even if we get there at 1 in the morning?!"
"Yes ma'am."
Long pause. "Well, I don't know. That wasn't the time I was thinking we'd check out."
"What time would you like to check out, ma'am?" I'm figuring she'll tell me like 1 or 2, which is fine. Housekeeping's still working then.
"I was thinking 4 or 5 in the morning on Monday."
Now it's my turn to pause. "So you'll be staying for two nights then."
"No we won't! It's just one."
Sigh. People are so stupid.
"Ma'am, even if you arrive after midnight tonight, we still have to hold the room for you. We can't sell it to anyone else. So it's still a night's stay, even if you arrive after midnight."
"I don't know. Let me think about it."

She eventually called back, made sure I could give her a room on the first floor (so she could give herself lung cancer more easily) and came to stay - for TWO nights.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The New Guy, Part 2

Aaaand he quit (without doing the night audit during his shift last night). Wow. That was faster than I expected.

The New Guy

We have a new front desk associate. Well, I guess new isn't really the right word anymore. He's been here for over a month. But you wouldn't know it from the things he does. In the time he's been here, he's:

Chewed on the ends of all the pens at the desk.

Somehow changed all the vacant dirty rooms to vacant ready - twice. We have no idea how he did this, but my manager really enjoyed frantically checking every room to find clean ones for check-ins.

Turned on all the movies even though he was told we keep them off unless a guest requests it. I then received a bunch of panicked calls the next day - "I didn't mean to buy a movie! Can you take it off my bill?" "Oh, don't worry sir, the movies are all off unless you request otherwise." I then see that every room has their movies turned ON. It was a real WTF moment.

Lost a guest's tax-exempt form, and made me get a new one from her - I actually found it later that day in the night audit. It doesn't belong there.

Told a guest that we gave her room away when we didn't. I come in at 7, and this guest, who was supposed to check in the night before (but had a room guaranteed with a credit card) is standing at the desk while NG runs around frantically checking vacant rooms for a clean one and telling me that no rooms are clean in the system. Meanwhile, I pull up the room status report and two kings are listed as vacant ready. "What's wrong with 303? Or 227?" "What? Oh...nothing, I don't think."

Oh boy. I did some training with him myself, so he's been taught how things work here, and it's not brain surgery. The GM says as long as he tries, that's all you can ask for. Oh? So, if a housekeeper couldn't do her job but tried hard, and we got complaints about every room she did, that would be fine? The problem here is really just simple immaturity (he's just out of high school), combined with a perpetual head in the clouds. But it's hard to find people to work nights, so I guess he's staying. If he doesn't quit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WIthin Reason

I'm aware I do a lot of complaining on this blog. My readers (if I have any) may think I hate all the guests, management, my coworkers, and people in general. This is not true.

I like many of our guests. Most people stay without any problems, are pleasant to deal with, and easy to resolve problems for. If people have a reasonable complaint, I have no problem fixing it for them. Like the ant guy - I can understand being upset by that. Not having a newspaper at your door? Not a reason to get upset.

If people have a reasonable complaint, I will offer a solution as to how I can fix that for them. If they don't like my solution, they should feel free to offer a suggestion of their own. Again, one within reason. You are not getting your stay comped because the clock in your room was not working. Nor should you come and complain about the room upon check-out. "I didn't want to be on the first floor!" Well, then you should have come and told me that after I checked you in. I once checked in a woman several hours ahead of the check-in time, and all that was available was a first-floor room. I asked her if that was alright, and she hemmed and hawwed then said fine. I told her if she didn't like the room, to come back and I would move her. Well, she never came back - but she did complain in that week's GSS.

One of my favorite guests is a woman who stays with us every week. She is very particular. Very particular. So why is she a favorite? Because she tells me what she wants and isn't ridiculous about it. Once, we couldn't put her in her regular room. She was in a room nearby. The next morning, she comes and complains that the room is dirty. I apologize. Her response?

"Don't be sorry, it's not your fault." No, it's not, but most guests don't care whose fault it is. At least someone recognizes that I'm not responsible for everything in the hotel.

She asks if she can move back to her regular room. It's now vacant, and I tell her yes, housekeeping will move her things for her. She leaves happy.

See how easy things are when you're polite and reasonable?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our Goal Is...What, Exactly?

A guest came down this morning and asked me if I was the manager. I told him I wasn't, that the manager wasn't in yet, and asked if there was something I could help him with. Often, guests think they need to speak to the manager, but their problem is something that can easily be fixed by ME.

So he starts telling me how much he loves my hotel brand, how he always stays at our brand, how he's the highest level rewards member, etc, etc. Right off the bat, I know he's going to be a problem. You know how I know this? Because people who aren't assholes don't throw around their membership level in hopes of getting better results. I can look up your reservation and see that membership level, at which point I will do my absolute best to help you. Why? Because satisfying these level guests is a priority. I know this - there's no need to so loquacious.

Anyway, he tells me how his business associate, who is traveling with him, found ants in his room last night. I'm already aware of this - the evening guy left a note - and I can see he was moved immediately, 5 minutes after checking in. But for this guy, that's not good enough. He says this guy always stays at a rival brand, but he told him that traveling with him, he just had to stay at our brand. He's so embarrassed, he's going to be hearing about this for the rest of the trip, and so on.

Now, I would be happy to refund part of the bill for him. The problem is, I've never been told by my management that I can do that. So I tell him management will be in at 9, and ask if he'll still be here.

"No, we're leaving at 8."

Okay. So I tell him I'll relay the problem to management and they'll take care of it when they come in.

"That's really not the answer I was looking for."

I tell him I'm sorry, but I can't make refunds, and tell him again I'll let them know.

"That's not good enough." And he leaves.

He came to the desk slightly after 7. Management wasn't in yet. But one of them lives at the hotel, and he usually comes out for breakfast a little before 8. So I wait, and call him at 7:45, hoping he'll tell me I can just refund part of this guy's stay and I can let them know before they leave. I give him the whole story, tell him this guy's a high level rewards guest, and that they're leaving at 8. Sounding irritated, he tells me to tell him management will take care of it. I say that I told him that, and he wasn't happy. Whatever, he doesn't care, he tells me they'll deal with it later.

So a half hour later, he comes in, dressed, and starts talking about his stomachache the night before. One, I'm irritated with him for not helping me before, and two, I don't really care. This guy's kind of a narcissist, and I get the impression he doesn't enjoy the job and would rather be back at his old one. After 25 minutes, he asks me about the guy who complained earlier.

"Is he still here?"

I stare at him. Didn't he listen to what I said when I called?

"No. They left at 8."

In the end, the operations manager had me lower the guy's rate to $99, and I called and left a message letting him know. And I now have permission to give money back, as long as I don't go below $99. But the thing is, our GSS (guest satisfaction surveys) have been dropping a lot lately. No one's complaining about the staff specifically, but we've been told those need to go back up. This was an important guest who I was trying to keep happy, and I was ignored by my manager and therefore couldn't resolve the guest's problem. He left dissatisfied. So if our goal isn't customer satisfaction - what is it, exactly?

Customer Service

I find customer service to be an odd industry. It rewards people for being whiny brats.

Yesterday, I had a guest come down to pay cash. But first, he asks me about newspapers. I point to the table where we keep them. and he asks why it wasn't at his door this morning. I am momentarily stymied, but tell him we don't do that and again point to the table, where over a dozen newspapers are neatly stacked.

"You did it the last time I was here!"

Well, we don't do it anymore, so go grab one and stop bothering me. He thens complains about his TV not working the night before, for which I apologize. He pays cash and I check him out.

He then went to go get breakfast, and comes back, waving one of the small milk containers in my face (unopened). "These are expired! You have expired milk!" I can't see the expiration date with him waving the container around, so I reach for the container. He won't give it to me, and I tell him I'll get him a fresh one. I come out from behind the desk, and he leaves. He then goes back upstairs to his room. That he checked out of.

Housekeeping, thinking he's left, went into the room to clean it and he gets very upset, calling the front desk and asking for our complaint number. At this point I transfer him to my manager. $9/hour is not enough to deal with this bullshit.

He wanted his money back, but my manager said that wasn't going to happen. Instead, he got some free rewards points. And, may I add here, he used a coupon to get an extremely low rate - then complained about everything. People...

And by the way, my manager checked every single container of milk we had in the kitchen, AND went into the garbage to look for expired containers. Does it surprise anyone to learn that he didn't find even one?

Friday, August 20, 2010

If You're Not Staying Here...

So, I just had a couple walk in. Kind of trashy looking, but I put on a smile and asked them if they were checking in. They say no, and the guy asks me how much for a suite. I tell him, "We don't have suites here, sir" as his girlfriend starts digging through the candy bowl.

"Oh...okay. Let's go." He turns to leave, but his girlfriend is still digging through the candy bowl.
"You want a Jolly Rancher? What flavor do you want?"
I watch as she takes all the Jolly Ranchers from the bowl, along with some other candies.

I think they probably came in just to get candy. But if you're not staying here - you can't use the computer, you can't use the pool, and you shouldn't be taking the candy. Those are for paying guests. I'm more than happy to give some random person directions, or let them use the bathroom, but leave guest pleasantries for the guests. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why I Need to Find a New Job

So, when I started this blog I never intended to write any posts on the management at my hotel. I like my immediate boss, the operations supervisor. I like the GM, I like my co-workers (except when they're 15 minutes late to take over my shift), I like everyone. I'm that kind of person.

So today, I got a phone call asking to speak to my boss. The person on the phone asked for him by name, but their phone reception was terrible and I could barely hear them. And, as you would imagine, we get a lot of solicitors calling our hotel. So I asked them their name. Very politely. "Who's calling, please?" And then again. "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?" And I still can't hear them. So I ask again.

He snaps. "I already told you 3 times!" I tell him, "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't hear you." "Just connect me! Does it matter who's calling?!?" I tell him, yes, it matters - I need to know who it is so I don't pass on a junk call (though I left that last part out). He refuses to tell me who he is so I just pass him along to my manager, figuring he can deal with this rude asshole (a bit redundant, but appropriate in this case).

So I connect him, and he's promptly disconnected - perhaps because he's in an area with very poor reception? I go into the back to find out who the jerk was - maybe it was one of the people from our franchise management company. There's one guy who calls every day, multiple times, and I just recognize his voice and connect him to the back. But I'm thinking no, because the person was so rude and he's always been polite on the phone.

So the guy calls back on my manager's cell and surprise - it was the guy from our management company. He's yelling into the phone about how rude I was and my manager goes outside to take the call.

Now, I was not rude. I would admit it if I was, but in this case I was not. It's not my fault he didn't have any goddamn cell reception. He tells my manager that I can't tell people that I need to know who they are before I connect them. (???)

Maybe I'm being oversensitive. I worked the 3pm-11pm shift last night (because I'm nice and agreed to switch when asked) and now I'm working the 7am-3pm today. But honestly, when management treats employees like they're idiots and screams at them, that's a morale deflater. I am SO angry right now - I take all kinds of abuse from the guests, and I don't need it from management. And I was in a pretty good mood when I came in - despite 4 hours of sleep last night. I need to find a new job.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Anticipation Alone...

Tonight was a quiet evening at the hotel. No problems, everything went pretty smoothly, didn't have to get any rollaways. All in all, a good night. Except for the phone call.

Ah, the phone call. A woman called to check that we got the requests for her reservation. A room on the first floor, near the front desk. I pull up her reservation (expedia, of course), and see that she's coming in a month.

"Yes, ma'am, there's a request for the first floor on there."
"But is it near the front desk? I want it near the front desk."
"Of course, let me put in that request for you."
"You have 24-hour front desk service, right?"
"Yes ma'am."

Oh boy. She's not even here yet and I already know she's going to be a pain in the ass.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And On the Opposite Side of the Spectrum...

In another story from the weekend - had a guy check in with two reservations. I ask him if he'd like to check in for both, and he says no, the other people will check in later. After I give him his keys, he ask where the second room will be located, and I tell him I've put it next to the first one.

Guest: "Oh. Could you put it somewhere else?"
Me: "Umm, sure. Do you want it on another floor?"
Guest: "Yeah...or the same floor's fine. Just not near mine."

Not Close Enough

So, I checked in some guests over the weekend. Two sets of...friends? Maybe cousins. Whatever, I don't know and I don't care. The two reservations were under the same name, so when I blocked the rooms I put them close together. They come and their rooms aren't ready yet, so I check the computer and find 2 rooms that are - 216 and 219. I check them in, they leave the desk.

A few minutes later, one of the women from the party comes back to the desk. I didn't see anyone else with her, so I thought they went up, but who knows. She says to me "Are these rooms next to each other?" I tell her, "No ma'am, but they're very close together."


I tell her that we don't have adjoining rooms. Honestly, I am puzzled by this woman. Our rooms are set up in sets of 2, so 216 and 219 aren't right across from each other - that's 215 and 217, and 218 and 220, respectively, but they're still close. I ask her if she went upstairs to see the rooms yet. She tells me no.

Seriously, why would you come and complain before you've even seen how far apart they are? I tell her to go upstairs and take a look and see if the distance is acceptable. She didn't come back after that.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm Not A Mind Reader

So today I had this woman leave the hotel, at about 5. She was supposed to stay over another night, but decided she was unhappy and had to leave. It actually all worked out, because we were overbooked due to these awful people who were sent over from another hotel who refused to check out. That's a whole different story for another time. But this woman called the front desk to tell me she had to leave, that she just "couldn't stay in this room any longer".

I asked her if the problem was something we could fix. "No, no," she told me, "I want to leave". Okay, fine. She comes down to the desk and complains some more, about how she's going home now, how she wants to stay but can't stay in that room, etc, etc. Then she starts going on about how she's a frequent customer of my hotel chain and how "someone's going to hear about this". Okkaay...a frequent customer without a rewards card. Don't meet many of those.

Then she left. I still don't know what the problem was with her room.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thanks For Staying, Don't Come Back

Yesterday I encountered what was by far the most obnoxious guest I have ever met. My first interaction with her was when she called the front desk at about 8 in the morning, saying her TV had just gone out. Having little knowledge of the inner workings of televisions myself, I told her that maintenance would be in in a few hours and I would send him up. Not the best solution, I admit, but there was nothing else I could do. I certainly wasn't transferring her so she could mess up another room and check out an hour later.

After hearing this, the woman heaves a giant sigh. "That's all you can do? I'm coming down there." Fine, whatever. I look up her reservation before she comes down - the day previous, my manager had written that she complained about finding one bug in her room, the refrigerator not working, and various other problems. He had then comped her room for one night of her two-night stay. Oh great, this was going to be fun.

Right after she called the front desk, our houseman, J, arrived. Hearing about the TV problem in her room, he offers to go up right away and check on it. A few minutes later he comes back down. Now the televisions in the room are satellite, and we had a huge but brief storm coming down outside. J tells me it's the weather, and he can't fix it. Then the woman comes down.

I tell her the problem is the weather. She retorts that people come to hotels to get away from problems like this, and she would accept the TV not working at home, but not here. Jeez, lady, hotels aren't infallible. I say to her, very politely and with an apologetic smile, "I'm sorry, ma'am, but we can't control the weather." In retrospect, perhaps not the wisest thing to say, but seriously, what did she want me to do? I can't make the rain stop.

She asks if we're comping anyone else for this MAJOR inconvenience (probably wanting to make sure no one's getting more comps than she is) and I tell her no one else has complained. Which is completely true. She stares at me in disbelief, then says she wants to speak to the manager. I tell her that he's not in yet and she flounces off to get breakfast.

She comes back from breakfast with various items on her plate, and complains that there was no selection and there's nothing left to eat. I ask her if she's spoken to the breakfast attendant, who can probably assist her, and she says she did and there's nothing she can do. Now, if this woman wasn't being such a pain in the ass, and if she wasn't so clearly LOOKING for reasons to complain and get another night comped, I probably would have gone into the kitchen to get her something. But she is, so I didn't. Instead I smile and again offer my apologies. That's not good enough for the woman. "Where am I supposed to get my protein for?!?" she demands. "There's nothing left!" Really? She had plenty of food on her plate, and honestly, this woman could stand to eat a little less at breakfast. She went upstairs, and - miracle of miracles - the TV was back on.

She complained later to my manager that I was rude to her. Now the GM was standing there during part of our conversation. He decided not to tell her he was the GM, since he didn't want to deal with her, but he told my manager I was NOT rude to her. Honestly, my manager was a little rude to her - he told me he doesn't care if she comes back, since "we don't need people like that staying here". Ha, love it.

She then told us she needed a late check-out. Check-out is at noon, we can give people til one-thirty if they ask. She tells my manager "I don't know what time I'm leaving" but definitely not before one-thirty. She then checks out at 11:57 AM. Good riddance, don't come back.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Expedia Strikes Again

So, yesterday was my fifth day and now I have the weekend off!!! Yay!!! But Friday was a bitch. Seriously, I have to stop offering to do things for people and just let them deal with their screw-ups on their own.

Case in point:
Yet another Expedia reservation. And yes, I will admit that it's confusing to see that a room type called DOUBLE has one double bed, and DOUBLEDOUBLE has two double beds, but really, people, it's not that difficult. Read the description below the room type, number of beds is first thing mentioned. So this guy comes in with his wife and their two kids, I check them in, then say to him "You know that this room only has one bed, right?"

"No, no, it has two. I even spoke to Expedia and they told me it definitely has two." Another case of Expedia lying, no surprise there. But he did book a room with only one bed. I offer to put them in a room with two beds for an extra $15, he turns me down, says they'll be okay. But for some reason, I feel bad for them, so I offer to get them a cot. They say yes, and I run upstairs with them to get a cot. I have no idea where those are, only that they're stored in closets on the upper floors, since normally, they're requested IN ADVANCE. As they should be. Because the poor front desk clerk who is the only person working that night should not be the one to deal with this shit.

After trying every key for a closet on the third floor, I finally give up and go to the fourth floor, where trying every key finally yields results. I bring the cot to their room, which is pretty much the smallest double we have. Meaning the cot has nowhere to go. I wheel it in and the father is missing. So the mother just stands there, watching me struggle with this huge cot as I try to figure out where it should go. Seriously, this is the point where you're supposed to take the cot from me and let me go back downstairs, seeing as how I'm the only one working right now. Finally, I tell her, "I'll let you figure it out" and head out.

One my way out, the father comes back in, and thanks me exuberantly for bringing the cot. You're welcome. And if you ever come back to this hotel, I won't be offering again. Seriously people, spend the extra $20 and get the room you actually NEED.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Mysterious Location of the Wireless Network

So, I had a guest call the front desk today. He had just checked in. First, he asked me about the television - where was his remote? I told him there's a remote in every room. Then, we move on to questions about the wireless network.

Guest: "So, the wireless network..."
Me: "Yes?"
Guest: "How does that work?"
Me: "You just open up the wireless networks on your computer and connect to it, there's no password or anything."
Guest: "Okay. So where is that located?"
Me: "Where is what located?"
Guest: "The wireless network. Like near the desk?"
Me: "Umm, it's on your computer."
Guest: "Right, but where it is located? By the desk, right?"
Me: "Ummm..."

Is this some kind of joke, or is this guy just a moron? Naturally, there is no hookup for the WIRELESS network. After a short silence on my end, I guess he realized what he was asking. He thanked me and ended the phone call, and I laughed for the next 10 minutes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fuck You, Expedia

I HATE Expedia reservations. I mean, I really hate them. With a passion. I will expand on this in future postings, but the bottom line is that these people have the lowest rate in the entire hotel, yet inevitably are the most work. Plus, Expedia will do anything to sell a room. They once told a guest that we had spa tubs in all the rooms, so I guess he and his girlfriend were really anticipating that during their romantic weekend away. I check them in, everything's fine.

10 minutes later, guest comes down.
Me: "Is everything alright with your room sir?"
Guest: "Yeah, except, where's the spa tub? Don't you have Jacuzzis here?"
Me: "Umm, no sir."
Guest: "But it says on your website that you have Jacuzzis here!"
But that time, my manager comes out from the back, wondering what the problem is.
Manager: "It says on OUR website that we have Jacuzzis? No, it doesn't say that."
The guy insists that it does, so we tell him, okay, go use the lobby computer and show us. The guy goes over, is on the computer for 15 minutes, then leaves.
Manager: "I guess he couldn't find it."

Then, I get the call from Expedia. The guest has called and complained. I tell the Expedia guy, no we don't have spa tubs, and we never have. He says okay and hangs up. Later, the guest comes back down and complains about how Expedia will say anything to sell a room. I agree with him, telling him that they're awful and he should make all future reservations with us. Haha. I HATE Expedia.

I'm Lost

So my hotel is located behind a shopping center. It's pretty convenient, actually, for people who forget items at home. Who is it not convenient for? The front desk clerk, who fields all the phone calls from lost guests. I give guests exact directions, and they'll still drive by the shopping center three times before they get it.

Guest: "I'm in the parking lot at Lowe's. How do I get to where you are?"
Me: "You went too far. You're going to need to turn around." (guest turns around and is driving) " you see the shopping center on your left, where the Subway is? You need to go into that shopping center and go all the way back."
Guest: "OH, so it really is in the shopping center?"
Me: "Yes sir."
Guest: "Mapquest was telling me that, but it didn't make any sense to me so I didn't make that turn."
Me: "Oh, don't worry sir, it happens all the time."

At least people are usually near when they get lost, and I know the area. I once had people call me from I-95, asking for help. The problem is, my hotel isn't off of I-95, and I suck at directions. Or as my father puts it "the blind leading the blind". But I did get them to the hotel. Eventually. Thanks, Google Maps.

Welcome to Life At The Front Desk

I began working at a hotel as their front desk clerk about 2 months ago (odd, it seems a lot longer). In those months, I have met many nice people. I have also met many insane, demanding, picky people. And in looking for a blog to commiserate with my fellow front deskers, I couldn't find any. So I have decided to make one myself. Enjoy.