So what now…

I really don’t know what to write. I had a blog ready to write last Sunday. I was forming things in my mind and jotting down some notes while at work. Then some hotel guests started coming up to the front desk asking me if I had heard. Did I know anything? Was everything ok? I had no idea. My wife texted me and told me to stay away from Mandalay Bay and come home straight after work. All I knew was there was a shooter and it was not safe.

I spent that night watching the news. Seeing the panic, the sadness, the madness and all in utter shock. 30 minutes turned into hours. Was there one shooter, were there 5 shooters, were they in other hotels, was there a suspicious van outside the Luxor. Even ISIS claimed it was them.

Well, it is now 7 days later. 59 dead, hundreds more injured. I haven’t been able to watch the news for the last 3 days. It just got to be too much. Too many talking heads spouting rumors and thoughts of conspiracies, false ideas, all the whys and hows and maybes. It became too much.

So what now?  Well this is definitely not the time to talk about the drunk girl who forgot what hotel she was in or the guy with no cash but needs a room. There was a time and I hope there will be a time again but it is not today.

A guest talked to me today about how things were 30 years ago. How this was something that you didn’t imagine happening and now it seems how every year things get worse. There are school shootings and club shootings and just a division throughout the country. I am not going to use this blog as a something to spout my views on gun control, race or any of the many other differences that we have that has led to violence. I don’t want the comment section to turn into a war zone. That is not what I am about or this blog. What I can and will do is vent and here it goes.

I love people, I don’t hate people. I dislike some people but I do not hate people. I love Las Vegas and I love my job. I love writing this blog and I love reading the comments you write… but I hate when innocence is hurt. I hate when innocence is lost. I hate that some people feel that justice is served by killing others. I hate that people think that they need to hurt other people. I hate that this man took the lives of so many. I hate that some people are now worried about coming here. I hate that I have let one sick son of a fucking bitch get into my head and into my heart and tore my world up in the last 7 days. I hate that friends and family had to wonder if I was ok. I hate that I had to go on facebook and twitter and declare myself safe. No one should ever have to do that. I hate that guests come in and constantly ask me how I am doing because it is not meant as how are you doing today, it is how are you coping with what happened last Sunday.  I hate that some people are having issues with some of the casinos posting messages welcoming people back to Vegas and wanting them to book  with them. Do they want people to come? Of course they do, they are a business but this isn’t a marketing campaign. This is about rebuilding trust and support for the whole city. I hate that there are stupid people that say if 20,000 fans all had guns that this wouldn’t have happened or would have been stopped sooner because… no!

I have learned one big thing because of this event and I have to say I am grateful. I live in an amazing city. Take away Fremont St, take away the strip, just ignore it for a minute. THIS IS A GREAT CITY and A GREAT COMMUNITY. Our first responders are amazing, our police force stopped a maniac before he could do even more damage. Our doctors and nurses flooded into every hospital whether they were supposed to be there or not. We lost far less than we could. Thank you to all the concert patrons who helped everyone else. Thank you to all the blood donors. We filled our blood banks within hours. Thank you to all the people who have sent in donations, bought shirts and hats and pins. A go fund me page that originally had a goal of $2 million is over $9 millions now.  The motto “Battle Born” is not just words it is an attitude.

I will not let this fucktard beat me. I will be back. I may not be originally from here but I am #BattleBorn and #VegasStrong.

Love to all of you, be strong and thank you for every kind word.

 

@VegasHC

Advertisements

Q & A – Part 2

Ok, so we have a bunch of questions that have come up in the last week so let’s see what we have. Remember, I can only answer questions based on my experience or from speaking to other desk clerks. Anything really specific should be asked directly with the hotel you are booked at.


First off we have a non-hotel question. What are some really good and popular blogging websites?

Well, on the top of the list I would have to say WordPress, which is what I use. It is highly functional and I use the free service. There is a pay service but so far I am very happy with this. I am not that knowledgeable on html or other web publishing stuff and this site makes things very simple.  Blogger, Medium, Wix and Weebly are other ones I looked at before choosing WordPress.

My wife and I had a bed bug experience at a south strip resort. The front desk and management handled it perfectly with independent lab testing to verify the bedbugs, dry cleaning, new luggage, different room, resort credit and future comps. This all was granted without us getting upset but rather just informing them of what we found and requesting a different room. It seemed that this resort had a “play book” for this type of incident. I have shared this story with other people and they have had bedbug experiences also and didn’t get nearly the care and credits we did.

Do resorts have policies and procedures for these incidents or is it handled ad hoc? Would our experience have been different if we had called yelling and screaming about the bugs and demanded comps?

They definitely handled the situation well. My management probably wouldn’t have done all those things but there are certain things that are automatically done. We definitely get you into another room immediately. Then we have someone inspect the room and get the lab involved and get the room cleaned throughout. We generally will close the rooms around the infected room and inspect and clean them as well. These are all standard procedures. As far as new luggage and cleaning of clothing. it really depends on the issue. I have never seen new luggage given. A resort credit is fairly common as well.

As far as your reaction, it goes different ways. We love to see your type of attitude and we love working with people that have your attitude. You are definitely going to get our empathy and support. We will remember you next time and definitely take special care of you. If you are yelling and abusive. Well you will get the same treatment because of the bugs but we are also going to note on file (some of the time) that you are a real pain in the ass and you might not get the same care depending on the clerk. I get a lot of repeat customers and I also read the profile notes on guests. Treat me nice and I will be your best friend, treat me wrong and well, hope I am in a good mood when you come back.

We didn’t put the bugs in your room and we know how we would feel if we checked into a room with bugs. We also have procedures and you calling me names and yelling doesn’t change what I do to remedy the situation. It does affect how you might be treated afterwards.

Can you give me your general thoughts on 4 people in a room instead of 2 people? Aren’t there usually additional charges for the 3rd and 4th people? Also, general thoughts on rollaway beds.

My general thought is I don’t care. I often giggle about the person that books a room with one or two beds and try to be slick checking in when I see the other 2-5 people trying to “sneak” into the room.

Now just because I don’t care doesn’t mean the hotel doesn’t care and they want the rooms charged accordingly because the room rate is based on double occupancy.  If I see it abused I have to ask them about the number of people in the room. Housekeeping also keeps an eye on things and records extra towel and blanket requests. You are signing a contract when you check in. You are saying there are only 2 people in the room. You break the contract and the hotel can charge you more.

As far as the rollaway bed… it is probably the least comfortable thing to sleep on outside of an air mattress (and maybe a couch). It is not a bed, it is a cot (in my experience). It is a chargeable upgrade. Sometimes I charge it. sometimes I don’t. Book a room for 3 people and say you want separate beds. I will generally put one in free of charge. Be rude or nasty and you are getting charged or maybe we don’t have any left 🙂

Is there a way the front desk can set it so the room charge can’t be made? Say, I’m traveling with some friends as well as friends’ friends that I don’t know well. I’m paranoid that someone will charge something to my room while I’m drunk. Is it a thing to request to not take room charges?

Absolutely, it is usually just a click of a button. We can deny charging, we can limit who has a key. We can limit who can check in or make any changes to the reservation. It would make my life easier if more people actually did that so we don’t have so many disputed charges.

A couple questions about the likelihood of a room upgrades (all other things being equal):
1. Does it make any difference whether we are checking in early, at the regular stated time or later in the evening?
2. Does it make any difference if we have booked through the hotel, a third party vendor, or are on a hotel comp?
1. Depends (sorry). Earlier in the day we have more play with rooms. Later in the day, we might be in a position that we have to upgrade people when the basic room is oversold.
Then there are some days when we are not upgrading anyone (well almost anyone) and then there are some days when a third of the rooms are upgrades.
2. If you book through a third party you are probably less likely to get auto upgraded. It also depends on the price you are paying. If you are paying $30 for a room and another guest books the same room at $60, I am more likely to upgrade the higher priced guest.
I am always looking at who is coming in and who they booked with before deciding the auto upgrade.
Now, the tipped upgrade is completely different. How nice are you to me? How are we situated for rooms? Oh, and never walk up to me and say something like, “So get me a upgrade will ya?” or “I want a suite with a view on a high floor” when you booked a run of the house from a website for half price.
Could you give us some insight into your typical day of a Front desk clerk. Do you have a meeting before you start for the bookings for the day and the week? Do you only work one shift or do you have to rotate (ie do some graveyard shifts)? Has the record visitation numbers and the shift more to conventions and non-gambling customers changed your job, for good or bad.
We do not have meetings each day. We do have a log book and another book regarding policy changes that I read through when I get on shift to see if anything has changed.  Most of the time I work the same shift. That does not apply to everyone. I have seen people work day shift one day and swing shift the next and finish the week two days later on graveyard. It really depends on the hotel and your experience. You generally have 3 main shifts and then people that are split shifts that cover lunches and breaks. You also have 3 types of employees, full time, part time and board or on-call that don’t have regular shifts. Generally the big resorts have the board or on-call staff.
Although it takes time away from my family, my favorite shift is swing shift. I get to check in more people and deal with guests when they are at their happiest… just arriving.
As for the shift between the gambling and non-gambling guests. I can’t really speak on the shift because I wasn’t working in Las Vegas several years ago but I can speak to the difference in guest type.
Gamblers want free stuff and some comfort in their room. I repeatedly see guests get comped rooms and a couple hundred in free food and they are still asking for 20% off the buffet or a line pass to a club.  They are also pissed off at every fee.Take the free stuff and be happy.
The non-gamblers don’t care about the fees because their bosses are flipping the bill. They do want to know about all the amenities and want a room that conforms to what they need. They want a work station, room service, a gym open 24 hours and a quiet room because they have to get up at 5am.
Both can be great. Both can be pains. You just have to listen to the queues they give you and hope for the best sometimes.
If I make a reservation under my name with my credit card, and also my brother’s name on the reservation (before either of us arrive), can my brother check in with a his credit card?
At my hotel, yes and I would assume at most hotels, as well. It would be best to check with your hotel. They would need to have their ID and credit card and be on the reservation.
If I book with a third party website can I get a AAA or military discount at check-in?
I have to admit that this is my question and not someone else because I am tired of this question at check-in.
No, you cannot get a discount for one simple reason… YOU ALREADY PAID FOR THE ROOM!!!
What do you want me to discount? There is nothing to discount because you paid for the room already… and already got a discount from the third party.
Oh, and if you booked through the hotel. Ask at the time of making the reservation. If we have those discounts and you didn’t get it done at reservation, then we have to change the billing codes at check in to put the discounts in. This slows the check in process. Ever been at a grocery store and someone is paying by check and they don’t have anything ready when they get to the cashier? You just did the same thing.

Thanks again for following me here and on Twitter (@VegasHC)

 

 

 

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 🙂