I thought that I would start off by going through some of the ways to make your dealings with the front desk easier.
Let me first say that I love my job. Every single minute of it. That doesn’t mean that everything is wonderful. Not every interaction is positive and you can’t please everyone all the time. I am not always cheery (although, I try) and I can’t always get you what you need (although, I try most of the time).
Disclaimer… I am not the voice of all front desk clerks, nor do I want to be. I am just speaking from my experience and from talking to others. Our job is to make your life easier. You can help us, help you.
- To check you into a room, we need to know who you are and how you intend to pay for the hotel. Please have your identification and credit card ready when you get to the front desk. An ID with an address is best. Nothing upsets a long line of people and frustrates the desk clerk than not even being able to start the check in process.
- I am sorry that your plane was late, your car rental line was long, the taxi long hauled you to the hotel and that you forgot to pack your lucky socks… but that isn’t my fault. I will do my best to empathize with you but being angry at me doesn’t do either of us any good.
- I know you hate resort and parking fees. Do you know who else hates them? I do. These extra fees are charged by the hotel not the clerk. Anything that could be “hidden” could be reason for someone to be upset and we don’t want that.
- Speaking of charges. The security deposit. Do I think you are going to wreck the room? Honestly, I don’t know but I hope your don’t but because of that doubt, we need a deposit. Does it have to be on a card and not cash? Probably. Why? What happens if the damage is more $50 cash? We need to find a way to get that money back. This may sound preachy but if you don’t have a couple hundred dollars available on your credit card, you probably shouldn’t be on vacation.
- The hotel upgrade. Some of you have heard about the $20 trick. You slip a $20 to the clerk and ask if there are any complimentary upgrades. I personally hate this. Now, I don’t hate money but this seems like more of a bribe. Ask for something specific and if I can give it to you, then you can tip me, if you desire. Make your requests reasonable. Want a high floor or a strip view, that is usually a piece of cake most nights. Want a suite for 5 nights, probably not going to happen. A suite for one night is maybe a $40 upgrade, depending on the property. I can probably get away with that. A suite for 5 nights? Management is going to notice that and $20 is not worth that lecture from my boss.
- Buying wholesale vs. direct. Using Expedia, Hotels.com or other sites can save you some money but we do treat them differently. We make more money from our own bookings and we will make sure you get the rooms you want. It is also easier dealing directly with the hotel for any changes. There is also something called Run of the House when dealing with some of the wholesalers. That means we pick the room for you. Do you need 2 queen beds on a top floor, then book directly with the hotel because you may end up sleeping in the same bed as your brother with a view of the garbage bins.
- Gratuities… I am a front desk clerk. I don’t expect tips. I do accept tips. What I do really appreciate is a please and thank you. A smile goes a long way with me and if you like my service please fill out the comment card. I would like to get regular raises and being able to show my boss a bunch of positive comments.
- Finally, if someone else made the reservation, please make sure your name is on the reservation. I can’t check in John Smith if the name on the reservation is Suzie Jones. I also can’t check John Smith in with Suzie Jones’ credit card if Suzie is not at the front desk, as well. It may sound like common sense but I deal with it several times a week.
I plan to do something similar to this for fellow front desk clerks soon. If you have a pet peeve or issue with dealing with the front desk, leave a comment and I will make sure it gets addressed in that blog.