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) "Okay...so 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.