Guest questions

We get asked many questions at the front desk. Most of them are fairly common questions.

  • Where does Uber pick up?
  • Where is the fitness center?
  • Is there a password for the internet?

We get asked them everyday and the answers are easy. Sometimes we get questions that are either hard to answer, the answer is not well received or understood or we have to ask them to repeat the question.


What time can I get for late check out?

Our late check out is time is noon

Twelve noon?

Yes, Twelve noon (as apposed to eleven noon or one noon).


When is the end of the day?

Um, midnight.

No, not the day day but you know the time the day resets.

(now what I eventually figured out was that he was asking what the gambling day at our casino was, when points reset. Most people don’t realize that the casino and hotel are separate entities.)


Do I have to check out at 11 or can I check out earlier?

No you can check out at anytime before 11.

(could you imagine the scene at the front desk if everyone was forced to check out at the same time.)


I’m arriving late tonight, do you have a restaurant open at midnight?

Yes, we have a 24 hour restaurant on site.

Just in case, we are running late will it still be open later?

Yes it will be.

(unless there is a 25 hour day coming up then it will be closed for an hour)


I need to check out at 4am will someone be here at the desk?

We are open 24 hours a day.

Right, but will someone be here at 4am, I don’t want to have to wait.

Yes.

(he must have been having dinner with the other guy that thinks there are 25 hours in the day.)


 

I had a couple readers send me some questions that may be of interest to others so I figured I would throw them in here.

-Things to do before the check-in? (Player cards? Idk…?)

If you are here on a comp, they may want to see your players card or at least need the number on the card. Outside of that, have your ID, credit card and confirmation number handy. Oh, a few days ahead of schedule (if you haven’t gotten a confirmation e-mail, I would call the hotel to confirm).
-Your take on early/late check-in fees

There are a lot of times, we can’t control early check ins, I am not a fan of fees in general, if you get there and the room is ready, I say check you into the room. As for late check outs, an hour, maybe two is not a huge deal unless we are sold out and are in a rush to get all the rooms clean. Now if you are talking more than a couple hours, we need to charge something, maybe not the full night rent but a portion. You are overstaying your contracted time and we are being put behind schedule because of this.

– Belldesk/Concierge etiquette

Be polite, be prepared with your questions and your luggage and tip please. Most of these jobs are low paying and they rely on tips. Oh and a message from my bell people. Please don’t come in with a bunch of loose walmart or garbage bags that are bulky and can rip open. It is a pain in the ass to move these bags and have them stay on the cart. Invest in some luggage.
-Negotiating resort fees (like, upgrading to another room in exchange of them reduced or something like that)

Don’t negotiate fees at check in, a lot of hotel clerks don’t have the authority to do that. Spend money at the resort, visit a host and then see what they can do about the fees. Why are we going to comp things to you when we don’t know what your spending habits are. Stick to trying to get a room upgrade.
-When a complaint is something to complain about vs something that don’t need to be reported

If you feel it needs to be mentioned, then mention it. Mentioning it is not a complaint. If it isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, then complain. Did the maid forget to give you towels, call us an let us know. If 5 hours later, you still do not have towels, then complain. I can’t tell you what is important to you, only you can tell me that. If I don’t have a room service menu, I don’t care because I don’t do room service but if there is no ice bucket in the room, you need to get me that ice bucket.

-Can you explain why occasionally the same room is assigned to different people?

This is a pretty simple reason for this. Someone at the desk fucked up. Most of the time, Yes, there can be a system glitch but rarely. Is it the fault of the clerk that checked you in? Most of the time not. Three main reasons.

  • A clerk previously checked the person in a room but did not fully check them in and so the room was never taken out of inventory.
  • A clerk checked you into the wrong reservation and then forgot to switch rooms when the error was found or not found.
  • A clerk checked you into one room but accidentally gave you the wrong keys.

They also asked me if I have done this to anyone. Yes, anyone that spends enough time in the business has done this. I was lucky, I was the same clerk that checked both reservations in so I knew of the mistake before I checked the second person into the same room.  There are three very easy ways to get fired from the front desk. Check people into the wrong room, steal from the hotel and undercharge guests. We are very careful not to do these things because we know the consequences.

 

The Hazards of Wholesale

I understand the idea of saving money. I try to save as much as I can. I am a pretty simple guy. Give me a big TV, a laptop and quality internet and I am pretty much a happy guy. There are a few things that I splurge on because quality and satisfaction are important with those things. I don’t buy cheap cigars, I don’t buy my steaks at Walmart and I don’t buy Boone’s Farm when I want a bottle of wine. I want what I want and I am willing to splurge on those things. I recognize the difference.

When you travel to Las Vegas what is important to you? Do you want a specific room in a specific hotel or do you want a cheap deal? If you want the cheap deal, great, go with a wholesaler. They do what they do, they get you a cheaper room. If you want something specific and are willing to spend a little extra money for it, then do it.

I did a small sampling this past week on check-ins from wholesalers this week. The results are by no means a accurate portrayal of what happens every day or week but it is a trend that I see. Also remember that I have no idea if some of these errors are guest error or wholesaler error but it still is significant.

  • 15% of the guests got the wrong type of room booked for them.
  • 25% claim that the wholesaler never told them about the security deposit or they couldn’t find it in the small print.
  • An airline and a travel agent never sent us the actual reservation so the guest showed up without a reservation.
  • 6 guests had their reservations cancelled by the wholesaler because their credit card declined but never contacted the guest to tell them.

Now I realize that means that the majority of times they got it right but no one cares when it goes right. The issue is when it goes wrong. Do you want to be one of those people when it comes to check in?

The wholesaler just wants to sell the room and get their money. That is when their transaction ends. Not yours. If your reservation depends on saving some money on the hotel, by all means, do that but please, follow up on the reservation. Call the hotel and find out about what room you have or if there are any fees at check in. Make sure any additional people that will be on the room are listed on the room. If you get delayed and someone else is staying in the room might get there before you, they can’t check in if they aren’t on the room.

Also remember that we, at the hotel, can’t change a 3rd part reservation. If you find out that the wholesaler has done something wrong, you will need to call them back. I know, it is a pain, why can’t we do it? They have the information on the reservation, if we change something then our records don’t match and getting payments and commissions will get screwed up.

Oh, and if saving money is an issue and you are gambling, guess what can be done on a reservation done through the hotel. We can comp it or we can discount it. We can’t do that with a wholesaler. They have your money, we don’t.

If you are willing to spend the money, book direct with the hotel. If you need to get the discounted rate, book with the wholesaler but do your follow up.

 

Dealing with the front desk

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.