“FACT: Every time you make a front desk agent smile 10 angels get new strings for their harps!”
In a hotel everything can go wrong! Accepting that, here are two simple pieces of advice, should something happen, and one tip to keep it from happening:
- ADVICE: Always Remember: It Ain’t Personal!
Seriously. It never is. Imagine a hotel’s endless cycle of guests. Imagine how many people have occupied that room before you (whoops, mistake. Do not imagine how many people have occupied that room before you). And with that kind of guest turnover how could it be personal? But if a bellman mistakenly places your bag in the wrong room, or housekeeping throws away the sandwich you planned to finish, or your keys deactivate in the middle of your stay; it’s important to remember that it was not personal. Those travesties may happen at any time and they can even happen to the same poor guest. And we are sorry, believe me. But if the hotel deities smite you, it is we who must pick up the pieces and solve the problems; give you new keys, order you a comp sandwich, or find your bag before another guest does (because walking into your room and finding another guest’s items isn’t a pleasant feeling either (bedbugs! Just kidding don’t think about that either)). When the world dispenses punishments upon you please remember that the person wearing both a nametag and a look of concern probably had nothing to do with it. They are on your side! It’s not personal!
- ADVICE: Follow up with kindness.
Anyone ever been to a bar and tried a pickle back? It’s where you chase a shot of whiskey with a shot of pickle juice because immediately the burn of the whiskey is gone and… you know what, forget I mentioned it. In a hotel bad things can and will happen. And you’ll have to relate those incidents to someone whose job it is to listen. And you might do so in a way that burns. Because you are upset. And we understand. A guest needing to vent is as normal as a guest needing to answer the door naked (which apparently is considered sort of normal in a hotel.) That’s fine, but I would suggest following it up with a quick shot of kindness. Just a little phrase like this: “Sorry, I know it wasn’t your fault and I apologize for being so upset. Thank you for your help.” That is so soothing. I could kiss people for such kindness. (If kissing guests were also considered normal behavior. Which it isn’t. I’ve tried it.) That little dose of understanding, as well as taking the time to thank the person for being there to help, makes us 10 times more likely to be truly helpful. Sometimes your anger will slip out and that is ok. As long as you offer us a spoonful of humanity to wash it down.
- TIP: Call ahead if you’re going to be late:
Hold on, though. I’m not suggesting you call if you’re arriving at seven p.m. in order to ensure we don’t cancel your reservation. That’s silly! We will hold that res until way after midnight. But if you are arriving, say, after ten p.m. then, most likely, even if you had a room assigned, it’s probably gone by then and the remaining options are going to be severely limited. (Want a smoking room? Didn’t think so. There are even smokers out there who don’t want smoking rooms. How funny is that?) Therefore if you want to avoid getting the hotel’s leftovers, throw the front desk a quick call, mid-day, and ask to be “pre-assigned into a room.” In the early afternoon there is a sweet spot where housekeeping managers are punching in all the completed rooms, flipping them to “clean” in the system, and the pickings are plentiful. Call the desk near mid-afternoon and you’ll have something decent waiting for you. Not the rotten apples left unpicked on the ground at 10 p.m. And if the desk agent is kind enough to do this for you then get their name and write it down. Then find them later and thank them for the help. That’s a nice thing to do! FACT: Every time you make a front desk agent smile 10 angels get new strings for their harps!
NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Jacob Tomsky ” to download his no-holds-barred memoir.
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