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.