21 May 2012

Cate's Ten Commandments of Hotel Stays

Vacation season is upon us. And by "upon us," I mean, "MY HOTEL IS FULL OF PEOPLE OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG SAVE ME."

And while this is a great thing for the hotel (and my paycheck, sort of), it's not always a great thing for the staff, because most people don't actually know how to travel effectively. So in lieu of an actual writing-related post, I thought I'd make a list of things I wish people knew about hotels/travel/and whatever else I think of. It's a public service. You'll thank me later.

Cate's Ten Commandments of Hotel Stays

  1. It is our job to be nice to you. This is the one most people (and by people, I mean men) don't seem to grasp. My being nice to you does not mean I'm flirting. It does not mean I want to come up to your room later (fireable offense, just so you know). It also does not mean you can treat me like the pile of flaming dog crap your neighbors' kids left on your porch. I am not your verbal punching bag or your sounding board. Just because I can't talk back to you doesn't mean I won't be stewing about it for the rest of the night (or maybe even the rest of the week). My paycheck is enough of an insult. Be respectful.
  2. We're people too. Regarding the above, we understand bad days. We have them ourselves, and sometimes we screw up. This may mean we've checked you into a not-yet-clean room. It may mean one of the housekeepers forgot to put bags in your trash can. At my property, we strive for perfection, but we don't always get there. Flaming dog crap happens.
  3. We'll try to rectify the situation if you tell us there's a problem. We can't fix what we don't know about. Loud kids on or above your floor? Toilet broken? Air conditioning not working? Let us know so we can do something about it.
  4. Your reservation guarantees a room, not a room type. This is a touchy one, and not a policy I'm a huge fan of. However, flaming dog crap happens, especially during the upcoming busy season. Especially on sell-out nights (Murphy's law, every time). Unfortunately, we can't--yet--control what other people do (surely there's an app for that), so they might completely ruin a room. Or they may decide to stay over a night or two, thus throwing our room inventory out of whack. We get oversold on room types a lot, and we try so very very very hard to accommodate, but it doesn't always work in our favor.
  5. A little courtesy goes a long way. My favorite guests are the ones who interact with me. Tell me a story or have a conversation; don't just stare down your nose or act completely disinterested. The fun guests are the guests whose names I remember (every damn time they're here), and the ones I'll bend over backward to make happy (not literally, I am not that flexible). Be nice to me, I'll move the stars for you.
  6. We hear about what we've screwed up a lot more often than what we've done right. You have no idea how much it brightens our days to hear what we've done right. If you've had a great stay, if the staff has gone above and beyond your expectations, please shout it from the rooftops, or tell the General Manager. Or at the very very least, fill out a comment card. We love letting the corporate offices know we're not a bunch of screw-ups.
  7. It's not always fun and games. I know most of the time, the people in hotels (front desk staff especially) are depicted doing absolutely nothing. I mean, I'm blogging right now, so we do have a significant amount of downtime. Most days. However, those Murphy's Law days get us like you wouldn't believe. I have left my job in tears before. I have sworn never to come back. I have dealt with attempted suicides, diabetic seizures, angry spouses, angry guests, people who are out to make sure I have a bad day. I have cried with families. I've worried about families with kids at Children's Hospital. Some days, I've been therapist. We wear many hats.
  8. An easy stay for you means a ton of work for us. I liken hotel staff to theater staff. It takes a ton of work to make sure everything runs smoothly for a guest. We like to be appreciated. A kind word or gesture might make the difference between someone quitting and someone staying on.
  9. Clean up after thyself/thy children. At my hotel, we have a section set up for hot beverages--coffee, tea, hot chocolate. Most of the time, there's minimal mess, which is a nice thing. However, there are days when the entire damn thing looks like it's exploded. There's hot chocolate mix everywhere, cream and sugar are creating sticky globular messes on the counter. And I look at it with a mix of white hot hatred and overwhelming sadness because the adults messed my counter up. Don't get me started on the kids.

  10. I am not a babysitter. Parents, if you decide to chaperon a trip, for the love of God, CHAPERON THE TRIP. It makes things a lot more difficult for desk staff and other guests if we have to corral your children because you're downstairs drinking, especially when I have 200 other people to be taking care of. 
Please keep these things in mind while you're traveling this summer. I'm half-tempted to print this out and post it... Hmm....

Happy travels <3


Morrigan Aoife said...


I really enjoyed reading your post 10 Commandments of Hotel Stays. I've never worked in a hotel but I have been a guest from time to time. I have to tell you that more often than not I've wanted to shake someone into submission during my stay. I have witnessed the rude at the front desk, the perv in the bar, and the drunk parent stumbling down the hall and even the absent parent's candy laden kids screaming through the lobby headed to the pool with zero supervision. I don't know how you keep your job, i'd be itching to tell someone off.

M.J. Fifield said...

I have worked the front desk at a few hotels and now work in retail. I couldn't have written this post any better myself.

Savannah Chase said...

It would be a perfect hotel stay..Some hotels just don't care. Or they seem to act like that.

Janis said...

I love this post!

I worked in a five star hotel in Colorado for a year. It was a lot of fun but a lot of hard work.

The things the guests got up to...