Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chapter 2 - Man Your Stations!

For most people, staying at a hotel is a symbol of the "better things in life", especially when you're on vacation. Knowing that you have somewhere to rest your head when the sun goes down is something that many people take for granted. (pause) Wait, what? Being able to partake of the wonderousness (is that a word?) of spending the night in a nice, upscale hotel or motel is one of those things that people don't get to do very often but do it as often as they can. At times, unfortunately, things can happen during your stay and things can outright go completely wrong. Here are a few words of advice if something should, (knock on wood), go wrong.

Be calm. Things happen. Even the most perfect of planned getaways get snagged with a few problems here and there and the key is to keep your cool and know how to handle the situation. And I'm referring to after you have checked in. A) Know that the personnel down at the front desk are trained to do their jobs (and do them well, I pray) and can handle any situation that may occur during your stay. There are things that can go awry, from the air conditioning or plumbing, to the television and pay-per-view (if the hotel you are staying provides it). The Key to leaving the hotel content even when something goes wrong is to let someone know right away! The hotel desk clerks, and management, and engineering, and housekeeping are all there to make your stay more comfortable. They are there to help, but we won't know if something is wrong unless you tell us. A/C not working? Call the desk at the first sign of problem so it can be handled right away. Your TV missing channels or not operating properly? Let someone know so the television can be looked at. If all else fails, the desk may offer to move you to another room. The mission is for you to get the most out of your stay.

People in the next room making way too much noise on a Saturday night at 2 AM? The desk won't know unless you let them know. And we can't take care of the problem unless we know what's going on. Remember, we're at the desk and aren't always one hundred percent aware of what may be going on within the property. Many people that I've spoken to over the years who have had complaints such as this always say the same thing, "I didn't want to bother anyone." Yet, you're telling me that someone was bothering you all night? The desk is there to help you in any way they can. Believe me, being a night auditor for so long, I jump at the chance to knock on someone's door and tell them to drink a nice hot cup of shut the hell up - especially late at night. Yes, they are paying for a room, as well. But one thing people seem to overlook: People come to a hotel to sleep. Well, that's the number two reason. But seriously, if people within the hotel near you are not letting you sleep, have someone come and shut them up for you. Usually, [noise violators] are given two warnings and then escorted off the property if they continue. If they must be escorted out by police, then it will be done. My rule of thumb as a red-boned auditor is that everyone who pays for a room can do what they want behind the privacy of their closed front door. But once those people start bothering my other guests, then I must take issue. And know that most auditors would share that opinion with me.

One thing that I do advise, and I'll say it over and over again: If you're experiencing a problem your best bet is to let the desk know right away so something can be done about it. I spoke to an older couple the other morning as I checked them out and when I asked how everything was in their room, they immediately began to make a list of all the problem that were abound in the hotel. I stood there and listened to them talking about the air conditioning not working properly, that the shower head had unsatisfactory water pressure and that there were only two towels in their room for the entire length of their stay. While I do sympathize with what they went through - and after apologizing for it - I did pose this question to them: Why didn't you let us know right away? We could have sent someone to check on the A/C, fix the shower head, and happily sent up more towels for you. The stood there aghast as they couldn't think of any reason why they hadn't. Looking at it from a realistic point of view, could I really do anything for them at this point? What's the use of letting me know now that you are checking out? Especially during the day when you not only have desk clerks on duty, but you have management, engineering and housekeeping that all could have helped out to make your stay a better one.

And if there was a problem with your room, please don't call several days later after you have checked out to inform a supervisor that your stay was unsatisfactory. Especially when the problem(s) could have been fixed when you were our guest. There is not much the hotel can do for you (if anything at all) once you've checked out - especially days after having done so. And if you are one of those types of people that "hate to be a bother", let me remind of you of two things: 1) You are probably paying good money to stay where you are staying. and 2) That's why the staff is there. If you don't take advantage of a helpful crew who is willing to go to lengths to make your stay comfortable, then you're pretty much on your own.

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