WSVHCD?

Did you miss me?

Sometimes you hit a perfect storm of events.

  1. Personal life gets in the way.
  2. there was actually a 10 day span of work where nothing weird happened at all.

 

The 2nd point got me thinking. Is there going to be a time when all the stories will just start repeating themselves? How many people will be unique enough in their drunkeness, complaining, self absorbed ways to keep this going in the long term with 1-2 posts per week?

Originally, I didn’t even think a blog was possible because I didn’t even think I could come up with more than 10-12 stories and then things started to steamroll. It was like I hit the jackpot on weird guests. Now, I am in a drought. I have a few stories that we will get to later this week but I want to know from you, the readership, is there anything else you want here?

We have done some Top 5’s and some reviews. Tackled some questions, which I will continue to do. I have talked more than enough on the $20 trick and resort fee headaches. So what should Vegas Hotel Confidential do (WSVCHD)?

I’m open to suggestion

  • news and opinion pieces
  • more top 5’s
  • more reviews
  • happy just waiting for the next story
  • anything else?

 

 

Q & A Time

Thanks for all the questions. I hope that I haven’t missed any of the questions. Hopefully we can do this every so often.

 

How often do bed bugs happen? Would they have to close down the hotel?

I did not see the video that you mentioned but yes, bed bugs do happen. They have been around for centuries. There has been a resurgence over the last half century probably due to developing a resistance to pesticides and more international travel. I would say that in my experience we see them maybe once every two to three months. We do not close down the hotel. That would be a financial disaster and really not needed. We close off the room and if the rooms around are not rented we will put them out of order. If they are rented we wait until they are vacated. Most times we haven’t had them spread to the next room but to be safe the exterminator will spray all surrounding rooms just in case.

Have you ever snuck up and took a nap in a room?

No and it really never crossed my mind. However, I have known of an employee that did and they were fired. If you ever think you aren’t being watched in a Las Vegas resort, you are. I had security follow me into an employee only area because I wasn’t wearing my ID and the new surveillance guy didn’t recognize me.

Have you ever hooked up with a customer?

No, I am married and committed to her solely. Have I witnessed it? Yes. Have I been approached? Yes. Is it a bad decision? Yes. We have some guidelines and written and unwritten rules depending on the hotel. It can just get real messy. Something that should be avoided.

Have I took home baby shampoo?

I am going to assume that means, have I taken home hotel property?  I have occasionally used hand moisturizer and sometimes a pen or pad make it into my pocket but stealing is against the law and I am not going to risk my job over some trinkets. If you get a bad name in the hotel/casino business it is hard to get another job.

Do I get free rooms?

Depending on the hotel, you may not even be able to stay in the hotel you work in. I have never been able to get free rooms. Best I can usually get is casino rate. Personally, I like where I live. I don’t see the need to stay in a hotel in Las Vegas. I spend the night on the town and make sure I am sober enough to drive home or have a designated driver.

How does the $20 trick really work and is it as successful as it was before?

I have discussed this before and it is really my least favorite question. Please read my blog, “Dealing with the Front Desk”.  In summary, know what you are asking for as an upgrade, tip for service not for expectation, have realistic expectations and if you want something specific just book it.

Am I less likely to be offered upgrade options if I’m staying for a longer period versus a shorter stay?

Depends on the upgrade and what kind of player you are. Strip view, corner room, near elevator, away from the elevator are easy ones and can be accommodated on longer stays. Want a presidential suite for a week… probably not unless you are a diamond player or we are really slow for the week. Easiest way to get an upgrade, book on a busy time for a cheap room for a few days. Hope that room type is overbooked, we have to put you somewhere and usually it will be an upgrade.

Do celebrities really use fake names when they check in or are they using VIP check in to avoid people?

I have checked in celebrities or famous people and they have used their real names but they are NRG (non registered guest), we don’t tell anyone they are there. Most of the time, their manager and our manager or VIP host have an agreement and they pick up the keys from the office and go to the room. I can’t say that I have checked in any A listers but I have interacted with various forms of famous people and haven’t encountered too many that are pains.

Has your property ever oversold like United, if so what happens?

Yes, we oversell as much as we can within reason and depending on what is going on in town. Very rarely will everyone actually show up. Plans change, deposits get declined, a lot of times, comp rooms no show. On the rare occasion that we oversell and everyone shows up, the left over guest will get “walked”. That means we find alternate arrangements with a sister hotel or another hotel of similar or better rating. We do our best not to move a guest to a lower property. We cover their bill and usually give them some sort of bonus like a food comp or some free play. This happens more in other cities because we do our best to control that situation.

Are courteous  guests likely to get upgrades/comps when available or is it only people who spend tons of cash?

If you are dealing with me and want a comp or upgrade you better be courteous and nice or “you ain’t getting shit!” I will put up with stuck up and entitled guests but you aren’t getting the upgrade or anything from me unless management is telling me to do it. Being nice and interacting with me is a great way to get something if I can do something.

Any really big room bills you have seen from the mini bar or room service?

The people that abuse things like that are usually the guests that are getting comped, in my experience. Then again, I haven’t worked at a 5 star place in Las Vegas either. I did see a couple come in for 2 nights and get $400 in food comps and go over by $200 before they even checked out.

How much harder has it gotten to be you since the advent of the “Third-Party” reservation system? I hate all of them and don’t understand why they are even allowed at some of the better hotels.

Ok, the wholesalers… as an assistance to the hotel, itself is a good thing. To the hotel clerk, it is a bit of a pain.

Most hotels use the wholesalers so that they can save money on paying employees to take reservations and it is easier advertising and comparison shopping with other hotels. So it has value. The hotel saves money and the guest saves money. Btw, the dozens of different sites are primarily owned by the same few companies. Go to hotels.com or expedia.com and you are paying the same company.

Where is goes wrong for us and makes things difficult. A lot of times the wholesaler doesn’t openly display the resort fee, security deposit or other extras as well as they should. They just want the money and don’t care about the check in (my opinion). They also don’t always send us the right information which causes delays at check in. Finally, book through a wholesaler and we can’t change that reservation at all. You have a change, call the wholesaler and then they will contact us to change the reservation.

Ever shown up at a hotel andt hey didn’t have your reservation? I bet you booked with a wholesaler. You see, they have to upload it into our system or send some sort of communication to us for our reservation department to add it (depends on the hotel setup).


I enjoyed getting these questions and answering them. I hope I didn’t miss any.

Thanks again for reading. Your support means a lot.

 

 

3…2…1… Rant!

Ok, I know you come here for some sarcasm, some funny stuff and a review or two but sometimes you are going to get a rant. It is just my personality. I get pissed by things just like anyone else and if I don’t spew it out I will probably end up with a permanent tick 🙂 So today you get to read a couple rants.

Credit vs. Debit… there is a difference

Most hotels require a security deposit on either a debit card or a credit card. Sometimes, there is a difference in the amount based on the card and length of stay. The reason for this is that access to funds in case of damage is different based on the card. The debit card is usually charged more because there is more restricted access to funds.

I get this situation a lot. A guest presents a debit card and there isn’t enough money on the card for the deposit. They tell me to run it as a credit card because the card is both a credit and debit card.

No it isn’t.

If your card says debit on it, then it is a debit card. You can only access what is in your account. A credit card has access to a credit line. Please don’t tell me that it will work if I run it as credit. It would only work because the credit hold is lower than the debit deposit.

Now I am going to get real simple here, in case of confusion.

You check into a hotel for 3 nights. Their policy is $100 credit hold or $100 per day deposit on a debit card. You have $200 on your debit card. You don’t have the debit deposit… you do have enough for a credit hold but we can’t run it as a credit because it isn’t a credit card. Yes, if we ran the $100 it would approve but that is because of the $100 amount not that it is also a credit card. A debit card is a debit card, not both.

A little side note. If you book with a wholesaler you have not paid the security deposit or the resort fee. Please don’t argue with me about how you have paid for everything already. They can’t charge you for either because they are only charged if you actually stay at the hotel so that is why you pay at the hotel.

Another side note, when we say it takes 3-10 days for the deposit to go back on your card, we are not holding your money. We release the deposit the day you check out. It goes back to the bank or credit company at that point and they have to release it back to you. That is the delay.


 

I know there is a big divide in whether you should bring kids to Las Vegas.  I see both sides of the argument. Please don’t tell me that kids don’t belong in Las Vegas, there are plenty of things to do with kids. There are also a lot of activities to not do with kids.

I get really bothered by kids being dragged around at 1am when they are tired and cranky. Kids need sleep, let them get some. Also, Fremont at night with g-string/pastie wearing street performers is not a place for a 7 year old.  Now, I love seeing kids look at the lights of the strip and seeing them on top of the Eiffel Tower. That is cool stuff. There is however one place that they definitely don’t belong… the casino.

There are many reasons to come to Las Vegas but if you are bringing kids, it is not a gambling trip. Do not lock your kids up in the hotel room so you can go gamble. It is selfish and not the right thing to do.

I have seen kids come down to the front desk looking for mommy and daddy because they are hungry or miss them. Not cool. I have seen kids standing over by a gift shop within 20 feet of the parents but the parents aren’t paying attention. They are too busy trying to hit a bonus on a slot machine. I have seen those same kids walk away from the store only to be stopped by security and have to find their parents.

If gambling is your goal in Vegas, don’t take the kids. If you bring the kids and can’t avoid the blackjack table or slot machine then you have a bigger problem than you think. You are an addict and a bad parent. Get help!

I always look for the best in people and give them the benefit of the doubt but that goes away fast when dealing with parents. Kids in Vegas are not a problem, the parents of those kids are, when they forget that they are parents.

I smell a rant

We are all different people and we have different habits and do different things. I understand that but please let’s be respectful of the people we interact with on a daily basis.

Over the last few weeks, I have ran into some situations that have made it very difficult to interact with my guests.

There was the guest that smelled so bad of body odor that spraying my uniform and using a body spray I could still smell the body odor… 3 hours later. If you haven’t bathed in, oh I don’t know, a week, maybe you should shower before checking into a hotel… or go out in public.

Hey, its Las Vegas!! Alright, party time… but you over did it a little bit tonight didn’t you. You realize that you need a room because you don’t want to drive anywhere. Good for you. Maybe you came to that conclusion because your friends told you. Maybe you came to that conclusion because you just puked your guts out. Yep, that has to be it. I just ask one thing, breath mint before checking in at the front desk. Puke breath is not something I want in my personal space.

Chewing tobacco. I have never understood this and I never will but to each his own. Last night, a guest walked up and was chewing and holding a spit cup. This is wrong and the reason it is wrong is that it is WRONG!

You get off the plane, you get the rental car and it’s a stop off at In & Out for a Double Double Animal Style. I get it. As Samuel L. Jackson once said, “That is a tasty burger”. Time to check into the hotel but that burger is just sitting in that bag getting cold. Do not do what the guest from a couple weeks ago did and start eating that burger in front of me while I am checking you in.

While we are on the topic of food. You may think you are doing something special for us by giving us your leftover pizza or tacos as you walk by the front desk after dinner but… No, just no!

Finally, checking you in is a one on one interaction. It goes very smoothy if it stays one on one. Put the phone down. I don’t want to compete with whomever is on the phone with you. I can’t compete with the guys that are yelling at you from across the atrium or the bar. If you need input from your wife, have her come to the desk and we can all have a conversation. I have, literally, stood there for 3 minutes trying to ask a guest a question or give them information while they talk on the phone and even give me the one finger, just a minute motion.

Thank you, I feel so much better. Now, I better go shower because I think I still smell that guest on me.

Automated for the people

I was asked last week to give my take on the automated kiosks that are available in some hotel check in areas.

In this world, I understand the need for technology. I appreciate the computers I use at work. The check in/check out process is so much easier with the software that I have access to. Trying to manage hundreds of hotel rooms is not an easy task.

I also value the human interaction with our guests. I think that human interaction at the beginning of a vacation can shift a vacation positively or negatively. Maybe that is one of the reason that hotels are bringing in these machines. Try to eliminate any negative interactions with staff, but without staff isn’t a hotel just a room to stay in and nothing else.

Yes, sometimes check in lines can be ridiculously long and time consuming. I get that. I cringe when I look out into that line and see irritated people. I am at an immediate disadvantage right off the bat but that doesn’t mean I am giving up.

Anything that takes away the human interaction is a bad thing to me. The check in kiosks, the pop-a-matic craps machines and the video blackjack machines that I see popping up all over the place. They are taking away jobs from people in an industry that has always been about the people.

Let’s not automate human interaction. Let’s train the people. Let’s get better people into these jobs. Let’s make the software better. Yes, there are times when these kiosks are necessary because of large crowds because no matter how hard we try we still can’t check in a person in 60 seconds. I just hope that if its a choice of waiting 10 minutes to check in with a person or go to a kiosk and spend the next 3 minutes checking in that people wait that extra time. Without you there is no me and using those machines in the casino eliminates dealers. If you are ok with the resorts eliminating dealers and hotel employees then I am not sure why you are reading this in the first place. Afterall, without me, there is no blog 🙂

Welcome to the blog!

This is a brand new thing for me. I have always had a creative side but for the most part it has remained an internal one. I have had a lot of changes in my life in the last few years and I have finally reached the point where I want to share my life and creativity with others. So… what is this blog? Please read the Checking In? link at the top of the blog for that info.

Although this is a personal blog (and somewhat informational one, as well). this is about my job and the people that I interact with. They have their own lives and because of this I will remain anonymous (to most) and so will they.

Thank you, in advance, for reading. Please let me know how I am doing and if there is anything your would like to see. If you have any general questions about Las Vegas, I would be happy to try and assist you.

Special thanks to SP, NG and LS for pushing me in this direction and to John Cleese for being Basil Fawlty.