Sometimes, housekeeping gets it all wrong.

Like most hotels around, when guests request things such as extra beds in the room, beds to be split, we place a note in an electronic diary.  Housekeeping gets a copy of this report, and their staff do the tasks.

In theory.

We had four guys stay with us recently, in two rooms. The rooms they’d booked only had one queen size bed, the guys were not that friendly with each other, so had arranged for an extra bed to be placed in each room.

Somewhere along the lines, apparently housekeeping got a bit confused.

Guest 1 comes down to reception. He informs me that there is a cot in the room. He does not require a cot, and doesn’t believe that he will have a comfortable sleep in the room. Fair enough sir, we’ll get that removed.

No, I’m not entirely sure why a cot got placed in the room. You’re sure you don’t want that? Positive? No worries, we’ll get that out.

His friend with the other room comes down. Guest 2 starts talking to Guest 1 about the cot. Oh, Guest 2 has a cot in the room too? … Wait, what?

Guest 1 and Guest 2 discuss this at length. The front desk staff are rather amused at this point.

…Right, apparently Guest 1 has a queen bed (yes), an extra bed (yes), AND a cot. Confusion ensues.

Guest 2 is now confused about what Guest 1 means by a cot. “Does your cot look like a play pen with walls?” “No. Oh! I don’t have a cot. I have a bed.”

Okay, we have established that there is only one mystery cot. Guest 1 is fine, and we remove it.

We still don’t know how the cot ended up in the room in the first place. It’s not on any reports. At all.

Maybe we have a ghost child?

Apparently I have to prove how sincere my apology is.

I’m not entirely sure why, but my company does not provide shower caps in the rooms. Because they are so expensive, I don’t know. Every now and then this results in guests calling down and asking for one to be brought up.

Most people tend to be okay about this when we advise them that they’re not provided. Occasionally people have a bit of a sulk, but ultimately this doesn’t really change the fact that we don’t provide them.

Not this lady, however. She calls down and asks for one. I apologise and tell her that we do not provide them, however should she desperately require one there is a pharmacy located two stores away where she can purchase one.

This is not suitable for this lady. Apparently she has just had her hair done. And it cost $70. (For a blow wave? Girl, you got ripped off.) How dare we suggest that she has a shower without a shower cap?

Oh, I don’t know, because while mildly irritating, it is still possible and quite easily achievable?

The lady then decides that she is going to just have a shower, and wash it out, and what a waste of money this was. There is muttering of being reimbursed for the cost of the hair style, however I do not even touch this comment, because really?

Rant continues. I again apologise and tell her that I will pass on her feedback to management. And then she comes up with this gem:

“You’re not sorry. If you were sorry, you would go out and buy me a shower cap.”

“…I’m sorry that you feel that way, however I am not going to do that.”

And then the lady continues her rant and hangs up. The fate of the hair style is undetermined.

Shower caps – apparently, serious business.

Check in time is guaranteed at 2pm. No really, 2pm.

Like pretty much every hotel you will find, we have a standard check in time (2pm) and check out time (10am). This is so we don’t send the whole day calling up people asking when they’re getting out of the room, but mostly so that housekeeping actually gets a chance to clean the rooms. Housekeepers clean pretty quickly, but there is only so many rooms they can do at once.

So please, for the love of god, stop trying to do the following:

  • Arriving at 6am and throwing a tantrum that your room is not ready.
  • Further to this, please do not camp out in reception and ask us every 15 minutes whether your room is ready.
  • Call us repeatedly before your arrival, trying to get us to promise that your room will be ready at early o’clock.
  • Give me a sob story about how you’ve been travelling for hours. I understand you’ve flown from the other side of the world, however this does not change the fact that someone is still asleep in the room!
  • Ask me every time someone checks out if you can have their room.
  • Try and convince me that I can check you into a dirty room, you can sleep, and we can clean it later. Ew.

These things happen far more often than you would think. This is remarkably common from guests who are flying in from the other side of the country – the cheap flights either mean a 6:30am or 11pm arrival. Far more people take the 6:30am flight, and then we get the above scenarios.

Look, we are not cruel people. We will hold your luggage. If you’re nice, we will put this through, where possible, to housekeeping as a priority room and we will try and get it ready a few hours earlier.

If you are a pain in the ass, abusive, because you failed to think this through, we will make you wait almost until check in time.

To the lovely group of Government officials from overseas we had come in last week, who carried on and made a huge scene about how you were originally coming in at lunch time, but rearranged flights so you could come in earlier and do more work, and how dare we not have rooms available? For starters, this is not my problem – you did not check with the hotel, we did not promise you anything, go away – we did check you in 3 hours earlier so don’t you DARE complain about how I didn’t help you. Secondly, nobody forced you to take an earlier flight. Chill the hell out.

And to you, sir, who tried to check in at 7:15am, got told we were fully booked last night and you’d have to wait, then pitched an absolute fit at reception when we checked a guest in at 7:30am? That gentleman booked from last night. His room was guaranteed from 2pm yesterday. He did the smart thing and paid for an extra night, because he knew he’d be travelling for 28 hours.

Continue to make a scene, and I will turn around to you and say something along the lines of “Sir, our guests are still asleep and do not have to depart until 10am. I am not going to call guests up and make them leave early just so you can check in.”

Oddly, I managed to get away with that one without a customer complaint. Maybe he finally realised what a jerk he was being.

The case of the missing speed hump.

We come across some pretty weird things at work. Generally this means that we aren’t phased by things that others would consider out of the ordinary.

Last weekend, however, I came into work and drove into the carpark. About a year ago, the facilities manager arranged for a speed hump to be installed about halfway down the ramp. I’m still not 100% sure why as I wasn’t aware of any speed issues, but whatever.

I distinctly remember the speed hump being there when I left the property at 11:30pm on Saturday night. Yet when I came in at 1:30pm on Sunday, it wasn’t there. Huh??

One of my colleagues, also a duty manager who drives in, was working in the morning. I text him. “So, the speed hump is missing in the carpark. What the hell?”

A few minutes later I run into him in the building, as I haven’t started yet.

“Did you get my text?”
“Yeah, what?”
“Where’d the speed hump go?”
“…oh wait, you weren’t joking?”

No, I was not joking.

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Because seriously, who steals a speed hump?

Eventually we worked out that the maintenance manager had arranged for it to be removed (and I’m still unclear on why). Communication within my company is sketchy at times.

Whether sanctioned or not, a carpark fixture is one of the odder things to go missing around here.

The snark is even better when it’s management approved.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. My bad. I have been amassing stories – we have had some real winners the last couple of weeks, so expect to see those posts in the next few days.

In the mean time, I have been continuing my love-hate relationship with our reservations department. I’ll be honest, it’s mostly hate, with a side of love for one or two of the staff members.

See, our reservations department used to be in the same state. And I worked in the reservations department. We were awesome at our job and kept hitting targets – until they decided to relocate the central reservations to another state and expand the department. Our positions were effectively made redundant (although they “offered” us the chance to move there if we wanted to continue in the department – ha!), and we got moved from our cushy Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm jobs back to shift work, crazy hours, and weekends. Not long after I got back to the front desk I was promoted to my current position.

But, having worked in reservations, and knowing exactly what needs to be done and how to do it correctly, I take it more personally than most when the reservations department mess up. And boy, do they mess up. At times, they’ve pulled entire bedding configurations out of thin air, and promised things that don’t exist to our guests – and guess who gets to clean it up? They are safely tucked away in another state and don’t have the guests in their face, annoyed that their booking was messed up.

The last couple of days I have been having delightfully snarky emails back and forth with the department. All of these are sanctioned – and in some cases, encouraged – by my hotel manager, who I think finds it quite amusing how personally offended I get when they mess up.

One of the email trails from today:

Reservations: *Forwarded email with a basic enquiry* Please help with this enquiry, thanks.
Me: Sure, what do you need help with? 🙂
Reservations: With the parking enquiry.
Me: Sorry – I’m a bit confused – I thought you guys responded to enquiries?
Reservations: Yes, but I’m in a different state so I’m not great with directions.

Oh, come on people! The car park is right next door to the hotel – it is not rocket science. Plus, they all have templates (as do the front desk) where we can copy and past the information right into the email, because seriously, we get hundreds of emails a day and nobody wants to type out a response every time.

I played nice and responded to the enquiry for reservations (plus, the agent is someone I get along with alright – we just get annoyed doing their job), but I did get some amusement of relaying the conversation back and forth to my hotel manager.

And so help me, if I get in trouble for my snarky emails, I’m taking him down with me.

Even hotels get telemarketers

You know how everyone gets cold calls from telemarketers? Yep, hotels get them too. Most common tend to be about our phones, but I’ve also taken calls for people trying to provide service for printers, gym equipment, computers, and one person who was under the impression that we didn’t actually have a website but they’d be happy to design one for us, for a fee of course.

Now, if these cold callers had done their research, they would realise that a) they are calling a hotel, and b) that we are one of a number of hotels, and that our head office is located in another state – even if we were interested, they’d have to talk to head office anyway.

I took a call last night, right as my hotel manager – also known as Bossman – walked down to the desk to leave for the day. He only managed to hear my side of the conversation.

“Welcome to Hotel Anonymous, how can I help you?”

‘Good evening. I’m currently calling from [garbled company name] regarding your phone service. Are you the owner?’

“Sorry, we’re not interested. Goodbye.” And with that, I hung the phone up.

The look on Bossman’s face when he thought I’d rudely hung up on a guest was priceless. Total shock. Once I told him what it was, he didn’t care.

To the telemarketers – please do your research more thoroughly. The owner of a multi-hotel chain would not be answering phones at the front desk of the hotel in another state. And on the minuscule chance he was, he wouldn’t tell you that!

Pretty much anyone *except* the hotel screwed up your MD’s booking. Sorry.

I received a call a few days ago, from a lady demanding to speak to a manager regarding a “screw up” for her company’s booking.

Sure, yep, that’d be me, what exactly is the problem?

Now, we have two primary types of rooms – a Standard Room and a Premier Room. There isn’t much difference between the two, except for the outlook, and the Premier room is slightly more expensive. Otherwise, they have exactly the same type of facilities.

This lady – and I am still yet to work out exactly who she is – starts going on about how they have paid $239 for their MD to stay in a room, and he got a Standard Room. Why did he get a Standard Room? Who screwed up the booking? Whose fault was this?

And on it went for a couple of minutes before I could get a word in and find out who the damn guest was.

I pull up the booking. “Yes, I can see that Mr Smith stayed with us for one night, in a Standard Room.”

“Why? Why was he given this room? Were all the guests that travelled with him in this room type?”

“He was given this room because that’s what was booked for him. If you could let me know who else stayed I’ll be happy to look further at this.”

The lady provides me with a couple of other names, still ranting on about how this was “completely unacceptable” and she “wanted answers”.

Finally, after pulling up the other two bookings, I advise her that yes, the two other rooms booked under Mr Smith were Standard Rooms. Because they were booked into damn Standard Rooms, lady.

“But I can see that Mr Jones stayed as well. Mr Jones got a Premier Room. How the hell did Mr Jones get a Premier Room, and Mr Smith got a Standard Room? Mr Smith is the MD of the company! Mr Jones is about four levels below him. Who the hell allowed this to happen?”

I pull up the booking for Mr Jones. Ah yes, this is why Mr Jones got a Premier Room. Because the company, or the travel agent, or whoever, booked him into a Premier Room.

The lady continues to rant at me about how Mr Smith has stayed with us every time he is in Melbourne, and shouldn’t we see this, and why didn’t we give him a Premier Room, and how could we give someone a better room than the company MD?

Eventually I have to cut her off, because this is approaching five minutes, and the hotel didn’t even mess anything up. “I’m sorry, but did Mr Smith advise us at any point that he felt he had been given the wrong room?”

“No, he shouldn’t have have to! You screwed up!”

“Again, I’m sorry, but with all due respect – the hotel did not mess up a booking. Mr Smith booked a Standard Room. That room was allocated to him. Mr Jones booked a Premier Room. Again, this is what was allocated to him. There were no indicative notes on the booking, neither of the guests advised anything upon arrival, and we don’t exactly ask guests upon arrival of their hierarchy in their company.”

“So, we paid the same amount for the rooms?”

“Actually, I can see that the Premier Room was $239 whilst the Standard room was $199. I imagine tax invoices were provided upon check out, however should you require these I am happy to forward them along.”

“Yes, send them to iscrewedupmybossesbooking@company.com, please. So, you’re telling me that someone booked the MD of the company into your basic room?”

“Yes, I’m not sure whether the details were incorrectly advised to the travel agent or whether the travel agent booked the best available room, but please understand that we allocate room types based on what has been booked.”

Lady finally hangs up and goes away. To this date I am still unsure whether she was from the travel agent, worked in the travel division of the company, or she worked for Mr Smith, but sadly she was unable to pin the blame on the hotel for the “screw up”.

And, for the record, on arrival we do not tend to ask guests their position at the company, nor whether we should be giving the ‘better’ job to them or their travelling partner. Contrary to popular belief we are also not mind readers.

Company politics for the company I do not work for? I do not participate in them.

Please, stop disputing your hotel charges.

Look, I don’t know if there’s been a particularly stupid crop of people around lately, but this has happened twice in the last month.

A guest stays with us at the hotel. Signs the registration card. We take a photocopy of the photo ID.

During their week-long stay, they dine in at the restaurant a few times. Sign those room charge vouchers, with their name, room number, and signature.

Come check out time, they come to the desk, are presented with the bill, sign the merchant copy of their slip, and go on their merry way.

So why, for crying out loud, do we then receive a merchant dispute from their bank, claiming that it was either a “fraudulent transaction” or that the cardholder never stayed?

And to whichever bank sided with the cardholder and let them win the dispute, despite bucketloads of proof that they did stay and it was their signature – a hearty fuck you, for giving them their money back, resulting in us losing ours.

Luckily that was the exception to the rule, and most of the time once the bank has this proof, they go back to the cardholder all “LOL nice try, go away”.

And then we blacklist the guest for trying to rip us off.

At least the variety in complaints keeps it interesting

Sometimes it takes incredible restraint for me to stop myself from turning around and asking guests if they’re messing with me. The things that people come up with, it’s amazing.

To date, one of the best “complaints” I’ve had is from a guest who actually stunned both myself and one of my colleagues into silence.

Guest checks into the room. Comes back down a couple of minutes later, throwing the keys onto the desk and demanding a manager to complain about her room.

I step in and ask what’s wrong.

“There’s no bathroom. I want a refund.”

“…I’m sorry?”

“I just got checked into 306. There’s no bathroom. What kind of hotel is this?”

“Ma’am, there is most certainly a bathroom in your hotel room. It’s on the left hand side of the room, right next to the bed.”

The guest grabbed her keys back and stalked off, but not before she’d made me promise that I would refund her if there was in fact no bathroom in her room.

Oddly enough, she didn’t complain further. Guess she found the bathroom?