10. Don’t cheat.
I could use stronger language as in, don’t be an @$$. One of the ways people try to get more for their money is by going through the third party companies (Hotels.com, Expedia, etc) and reserving a room with two beds for two people. Then they show up with four adults and two children and want an extra roll-away bed. The motel loses money on that deal and so does the third party reservation company. Mostly the motel does because it has to deal with the extra people. Don’t be surprised if you’re charged a fee for the roll-away and have to pay for it separately.
11. Take care of everything at check-in.
I know, you’re tired after a long trip and you just want to sleep. I know, you’re so anxious to get on with your exciting day at the Sponge Museum you forget to get all the information or stuff you need. But this goes back to Number 3. I’ll wait while you review that point. Back already? Okay. Try to take care of everything when you check in. Nothing frustrates a desk clerk more than handing over your room key and wishing you a great stay then answering the phone five minutes later because you want an extra pillow. Then an extra towel. Then two more shampoo bottles. Then inquiring about the location of the ice machine. Then wanting a wake-up call for 7:10 and forty-two seconds the next morning. (Gawd people, be reasonable with your wake up calls, will you? For heaven’s sake, there is an alarm clock in most rooms and most everybody has a cell phone…with an alarm function.)
Anyway, we’re happy to accommodate, but you can bet we’re a little frustrated with requests throughout the evening/night.
12. Be reasonable.
This is where the all important virtue of patience plays a huge role. I know, I know, stuff happens. Reservations get lost or canceled, sometimes by the clerks, sometimes by the system, sometimes because of a government conspiracy. Sometimes, there is a foul up and you walk into a dirty room or a room already occupied. Sometimes, the reservation was changed because of circumstances too numerous to mention. Maybe you don’t get your smoking room or you may have to change rooms the next day to be able to stay that extra night. It happens and believe me, when I apologize and say I understand how you’re feeling, I’m not throwing out sappy platitudes because I’m required to. I DO understand because these things have happened to me. (Okay, I haven’t wanted a smoking room but I’ve slept in one because of a mistake.) Yes, you’re frustrated. Yes, you may be mad. Yes, you’ve traveled thirteen hours to find your room was given to someone else. I truly empathize. However, any clerk worth his or her salt will do his or her damn-dest (is that the right spelling?) to make things right. If that means sending you down the street to another hotel and paying for it, then so be it. If that means a discounted rate, or even a free night’s stay, then we’ll do it for you.
However, be reasonable. If you find a bit of trash under your bed because of a delinquent housekeeper, don’t go ballistic and demand a free room. Each problem has its own level of importance and appropriate response. As I say in my self defense seminars, if somebody is mouthing off and pushes you, and the situation isn’t going any further, then you don’t have the right to take the guy down and break his arm. If he pulls a weapon, then the options and responses change.
Be reasonable if you check in late and expect a discount. Most of the time the desk clerk will work for you if possible. If there is one room left and the clerk knows it will sell to someone, you probably won’t get much if any discount. If he is trying to just fill a room, sure. But remember where you are staying. The higher end chains like Mariott and Hilton won’t give you a fifty dollar room like Motel 6. Remember, too, just because you checked in after midnight and are leaving five hours later, doesn’t mean you don’t use the room any less than if you stayed the entire day unless you plan on standing in the middle of the room the entire time without doing anything. Housekeeping still has to clean the room the same way. The beds still get changed and the bathroom gets cleaned and the floor gets vacuumed. (As an analogy, you aren’t going to expect a discount at a restaurant if you eat only half your steak.)
13. Phony calls.
They’re silly, childish, and aren’t funny. If they turn serious (i.e. threatening a desk clerk), expect a visit from the police. At one property for which I worked, we installed caller identification. Some properties have ways to track calls, some don’t. Don’t take a chance. Find something better to do with your time than bother me at midnight with your fake reservations.
I hope these last four weeks of helpful hospitality hints help. As a desk clerk, most of the time the general public is super-cool. However, there are times when I’m flustered, frustrated, exasperated, and irritated by the general public. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have tried to learn, so when I’m part of the of the general public, I can make it easier for others to help me.
Here’s your homework and comment fodder. Where else can you apply these points of advice?