6. Don’t give your life story.
The desk clerks are professional and happy and want to be friends. They may even initiate short conversations to help you feel good about your stay, to be personable. When I notice or discover something interesting about a guest, I’ll bring it up. Recently a guest checked in who hailed from my birthplace. Another hailed from Illinois City, Illinois, where my family staked a claim decades ago. Another was a writer and you know he sparked my interest.
However, when calling or even when checking in, refrain from providing irrelevant information. I don’t care about the route you’re taking (unless you’re asking for directions), or the list of activities you plan on doing when you get here…unless it’s relevant to helping your stay be a better experience. I’m talking about when making the actual reservation. Stick to the important points. This holds true when asking basic questions over the phone. You’re only prolonging the process with:
“Hi, my name is John Smith and me, my wife and four kids are coming down to your motel next week. We’re from Chicago and going to be arriving pretty late. We’re there to attend the Bubble Gum festival and we’re all excited because we’ve never been there and are wanting to have a lot of fun. Then we’ll be taking a boat ride into Alligator Swamp. Well, what I wanted to know is, my youngest is only four days old and we’re bringing bottles of formula, and I just wanted to know if the room has a fridge.”
See, the basic question-does the room have a fridge-came at the end of a lot of useless information. The poor clerk has to listen to all of this to give a one word answer.
7. Understand that the credit card will guarantee late arrival but if you are a no-show, you might get charged.
This is true of a lot of places. Don’t try calling later after you’ve discovered your account has been charged and claiming you canceled. If you did cancel, have THAT confirmation number handy. Also be aware of the cancellation policies of the establishment. Most require you to cancel by 4 or 6 pm of the day of the reservation. Some may even have a 24 hour notification. Determing factors for this may include the time of year and any local events. Don’t think you can wait until midnight to cancel. You may get charged, especially if the motel/hotel is full or near full.
8. Be aware what the system does with your credit/debit card.
Some people aren’t aware that when you check in and the clerk swipes your card, they are not-necessarily-charging your card at that moment. What the system does is send electronic elves sprinting to your bank to seek out your account. Then they remove enough money to cover your stay and put it in a separate holding cell where they guard it. When you check out, they will release that money to pay for the room. If you originally reserved the room for four nights but stay only two, the elves have removed four nights’ worth of money. They will return the other two nights, but whereas they were hyped up on energy drinks when removing the money, they’re pretty sluggish about returning anything. You may have to wait a few days to see the funds credited back to your account. Be aware, too, that your card may not be charged until you actually check out or possibly not until the night after you check out during the audit process.
The elves-holding-your-money process operates for both debit and credit. Don’t be like the guy who checked in for seven days and used his debit card. He came back the next day madder than a mother grizzly whose cubs are in danger because his wife tried to use her debit card and found no money in the account. More specifically, he was mad at ME. I heard later that he had told his friends how he planned to cause bodily injury if he met me again.
Stay an extra week for Part 3.