Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Late Check-Outs

Anyone sensing a theme with my blog posts lately? I am. I suppose it's because I usually work mornings and therefore don't really deal much with guests when they're having problems with the internet, AC, internet, door locks, internet, number of towels in the room, and internet. Oh, and did I mention the internet?

But, anyway, late check-outs. These have been occurring more and more frequently lately as people try to stay later to spend more time at the pool. My hotel already has a pretty generous check-out time of 12 PM, so this can be somewhat irritating, especially to the housekeeping staff. Especially when several rooms are in the same area. This means the housekeeper doing that section has to wait for all those people to leave.

When people ask for late check-out, I ask them how late they'd like to stay. The response I am not looking for? "Well, what's the latest we can check out?" We can give till 2, but I usually say 1:30. By the time people actually leave, it's 2 anyway.

I encountered a lovely woman a few weeks ago. Just charming, really. She called down to ask for a late check-out, and I asked her what time she wanted until.

"Oh, 2 or 3."
"2's the latest I can do, ma'am."

She heaves a sigh but agrees to 2. At 2:30 I'm checking on those last few check-outs with the head housekeeper, and she tells me the woman is not gone.

"What do you mean she's not gone? She's still in the room?" It's confirmed for me that she is nowhere to be found, but all her stuff is still in there.

At 2:45, the woman comes wandering into the lobby, dressed in a pool cover-up, telling me her keys aren't working. I ask for her name and pull her up on the computer. The keys wouldn't be working either way, since they expire just after check-out time, but she doesn't know that.

"Yes, Ms. ----, let me get you new keys. I see we had you checking out at 2?"
"Well, I'm a (insert level here) rewards member. I get late check-out."
Deep breath. "Yes ma'am, you do get late check-out. Up to what the hotel can accomodate. Housekeeping has to clean the room."
"Well, there are lots of people who still have stuff in their rooms!"

Completely untrue, irrelevant, and also - a bad argument. If she had told me everyone else checked out, so clean their rooms first, that might make more sense. But telling me everyone else is doing it too? First, I've checked everyone else out, so I know that's not true. Second - are we in kindergarten now? Aren't you too old to compare your obnoxious behavior to other people's?

She goes to leave. I still haven't said anything in response to her latest claim, and have no plans to. But she just has to throw out one more remark before she goes.

"And we'll leave when we want to!"

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pre Check-in?

I don't understand why people seem to think the check-in process is so arduous. It's not. Here's how it goes - a person comes in, I greet them, get their name, check their rate and the number of nights they're here, swipe their credit card, get them their keys, and they're on their way. If the person doesn't ask ten thousand questions about the hotel and the surrounding area as they check in, this process can take less than a minute. And yet, people seem to think it's so difficult. They also don't seem to understand what "check-in" means.

I was at the desk last week when someone arrives. At 8 AM. We have nothing available, which I tell him and apologize for. I tell him we'll have something around 12 or 1, if he wants to come back later. He doesn't seem thrilled, but what did he expect? It was 8 in the morning. So he's all set to leave and come back later, but first he has one more question for me. "Can I check in now and get my keys later?"

Sigh. Why do people always ask this? When you check in to a hotel, it's a type of exchange. You give me payment, I give you keys. I also assign you to a room at check-in. If there are no clean rooms, I cannot check you in. Because where am I going to direct the computer to put you? And no, I cannot check you into a dirty room.

I told him no, just as one of the managers was walking by. After he leaves, she tells me I should soften my response and apologize, explain...exactly what I did when he first came in.

There are no check-ins without clean rooms. Why is that so difficult to understand?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Early Check-In

Early check-in is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Don't get me wrong, if I have a room free and you come in early, you can have it. We don't make people wait till 3. But when people make a reservation, my hotel chain gives them to option to check early check-in as a request. This is a request. It's not guaranteed. Additionally, so many people check off this request and then don't come early that it's essentially useless. I usually ignore it unless the person has called in to request early check-in. And then there are the ones who do neither.

I checked in a woman last week. Comes up to the front at 11:30am.
Woman: Checking in.
Me: Your name? (she gives me her name, and I pull up her reservation. The room isn't ready, and since she's part of a wedding group I'm not moving her to a higher floor so the non-wedding guests can be disturbed at 2 in the morning. I look for other rooms on that floor, nothing). I don't have any rooms available just yet. I can check with housekeeping, hopefully I can have something ready in about an hour?
Woman: Well, why isn't the room ready now?
Me: Umm, check-in's at 3. I have housekeeping working on early check-in rooms (which I did, for people who had requested them), but we don't have you here as requesting an early check-in.
Woman: I didn't know I needed to request an early check-in!

Well, then how are we supposed to know you're coming early? I'm sorry, my psychic abilities aren't working today, try again tomorrow. Yesterday a woman (who had actually checked off that early check-in request) came in at 8:30am, and my manager fell all over herself apologizing that we didn't have any rooms available because we had sold out the night before. Don't be sorry, it's 8:30 in the morning! Check-out isn't even till noon!

I love it when people come in so early (before 12, I would say), and I go: Let me see what I have available. They think I'm talking about reservations, and say: No, I have a reservation. Me: Yes, I see that, but check-in's not till 3. Them: But I requested an early check-in.

Early check-in is never, ever, GUARANTEED! Especially if you have a request for connecting or side-by-side rooms. If you call to confirm your connecting request and I say we have one set of rooms in the hotel that can accommodate that, do not traipse in with five suitcases at 11am unless you've called to confirm. Because I can practically promise it won't be ready.

And don't even get me started on the people who won't give me the time they want (probably because it's ridiculously early and they know I won't do it), but instead turn it around on me. I originally wrote the below conversation as Joe Smith, but then changed it because it is invariably a woman who does this.

Jane: Hi, this is Jane Smith. I'm coming in this Friday, and wanted to request an early check-in.
Me: Okay, let me put in that request for you. What time did you want to arrive?
Jane: Well, what's the earliest time I can check-in?

For those who really want to know, I would consider an early check-in 12pm. Not before.