Every now and then, guests will advise us that they wish to travel incognito. This isn’t an odd request, and we have no problem accommodating this. Most of the time we will just leave a note, and amend the booking name to put asterisks in front of it, so it doesn’t come up on a search.
We don’t need a reason to flag a booking as this. And generally, guests won’t provide one.
Not this guest who checked in a few days ago with me. She mentioned that she needed to be marked as a silent guest. Sure, we can do that, no worries!
Then the guest starts to give me her life story about why she is travelling incognito. I don’t remember the exact specifics, but there is a family will dispute going on, and she is fighting with her family, and she is travelling around different hotels for the past two months but they keep finding her and she has to keep moving hotels.
As a side note, I’m pretty sure if they keep finding you at a number of different establishments, you’re not hiding your tracks as well as you think you are.
So I flag her booking, note it down, pass it onto the next shift. No worries, right?
Nope. I come in the next day, and she’s been moved. Initially I think she’s been “found” again, until my manager tells me what’s going on.
She called down in the morning, and told us that she could smell a gas in her room. And it was poisonous.
Okay, that’s a bit bizarre, given that we don’t actually have gas in any of the rooms, but okay – guests have room moved for less than that.
But then she continues. Apparently this “poisonous gas” has been following her from hotel to hotel.
Say what now? Not. Possible.
So we moved her, and there were no further complaints. Yet. Although to be honest, I’m expecting her to complain on departure that the gas has followed her to the new room. Five floors down. On the other side of the building. Down the other end of the hall.
Because, you know, gas stalks people like that.
Quite possibly one of the oddest ‘arguments’ I have had with a guest, to date.
A gentleman came in at about 11am on Saturday morning to check into the hotel. As the room wasn’t ready, he stored luggage, and went off to do his own thing, and said he would come back in later to check in.
Come Sunday morning, and I am clearing up some of the paperwork on the desk, and notice that his welcome letter is still sitting there. Now, this isn’t uncommon – sometimes when guests come back we create their keys but for whatever reason the welcome letter is omitted. Assuming that the gentleman has come back, I throw it out.
And, at about 7.30am, a gentleman comes into reception. He came in a bit earlier, he says, to drop off bags. He is here for the next couple of nights, and is wanting to check in and collect his keys.
Initially we think that he’s another one of our delightful early arrivals but upon inspection of his passport, this is the gentleman that the stray paperwork belonged to.
Not a problem, I print off another copy, create the keys, and confirm with the guest that as per our system, he is departing tomorrow – the 19th.
“No, that’s not right, I’m staying with you for two nights.”
I check the paperwork. Yes, arrival Saturday 17 and departure on Monday 19.
“Yeah, see, two nights I’m staying with you.”
Sir, today is the 18th.
“No, mate, that’s not right, today is the 17th, it’s St Paddy’s Day.”
Sir, that was yesterday. Today is the 18th. It is Sunday.
“No way, it’s Saturday.”
My colleague, who initially dealt with him – on Saturday – steps in to advise him that no, he really did come in almost an entire 24 hours ago, on Saturday, but today is now Sunday.
Guest still appears confused but eventually concedes the point.
Until I go with him to collect the luggage from our store room, where he begins the whole thing again.
“You really scared me, I thought my booking was wrong, I’m staying for two nights aren’t I?”
Yes sir, your booking was for two nights, however one of those nights has passed. It is Sunday.
“No way, it’s St Patrick’s Day, it’s the 17th, what are you talking about?”
Sir. I am 100% positive that Today. Is. Sunday.
“Oh, well, it’s not really Sunday yet is it?”
Sir, it has been Sunday for 8 hours already. It is well and truly Sunday.
“Yeah, but it’s not, it’s all good.”
At this point I give up trying to prove what day it is, and direct the guest to the lifts.
Throughout the whole conversation he appeared to be quite heavily under the influence. I can only guess that he went out to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, and somewhere in the process lost an entire day. I’ve had guests come in confused about the time – thinking it’s 10am when in fact it is 3pm – but never arguing that adamantly that the date is different. Hopefully he got some sleep and wakes up more orientated to the correct date.
Otherwise, it’s going to be a fun conversation on the 19th when we are waiting for him to check out and he tries to argue what date it is again. I believe I may have to employ the use of visual aids, in the form of a newspaper, to make my point.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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 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?