You can’t always get what you want…

but if you don’t plan ahead, you get what you book.

I am not sure whether it was in my Q&A post or if it was during my conversation with VegasFanboy but I remember saying that if your vacation depends on a certain type of room make sure you book that kind of room. Apparently this guest didn’t get that message.


Guest: I want room type A on a high floor.

Me: Your booking is for room type C and the best I can do right now is a mid level floor. If you need a higher floor it will probably be another hour before those rooms are clean.

Guest: but I always get room type A.

Me: Let me pull up your past reservations…. Yes, it seems that the last 3 times you were here, you booked a type A room twice and the other time you were upgraded to a room type A because we were oversold on room type C. If you want a room type A then you would need to pay a $25 per night upgrade charge.

Guest: but why should I pay an upgrade charge for a room I always get?

Me: because you didn’t book that type of room.

Guest: I am not following you.

(I casually smile, take a deep breath and bang my head against the desk)

Me: You see, when you make a reservation for a room, you select a room type. We reserve that room type for you. If we oversell that room type you can get a free upgrade. Tonight, we have not oversold the room type YOU selected, so unless you pay an upgrade you are in that room.

(so they end up speaking to the manager and I begin to check in the next guest. The manager sides with me and sends them on their way. Of course, at the same time they are leaving the desk, I am giving directions to a room type A room to the couple I am now checking in. They leave the desk and the other guest comes back at me.)

Guest: So how much did they pay for their room?

Me: Ma’am, I am not going to give any information to you about another guest.

Guest: I bet you gave them my room.

Me: Ma’am, it would be impossible for me to give them your room because they booked a different room type than you. A room type that you can have for an upgrade charge or again, by actually booking that type of room.

(she storms off)


 

I think it might be time for another Q & A, so send in your questions as a comment on this post and I will put something together in a couple days.

Twitter: @VegasHC1

 

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Be a Boy Scout

My kids spent time in the Boy Scouts, we learned how to tie knots and make Pinewood Derby cars, among other things and, of course, memorized their motto “Be Prepared”. I get the feeling that a lot of people that show up in Las Vegas were never Boy Scouts.


 

This is a crazy busy weekend in Vegas and if you can find a room it is going to be expensive.  A quick look at a 3rd party site shows a 2 night stay at Mandalay Bay will cost you $650 per night, the Linq $450 per night. Heck, even a crapfest like the Downtowner motel is going for over $200 a night. Supply and demand is a wonderful thing if you own a hotel.

Of course, no one flies across country or drives several hours without a reservation or at least checking prices, so no problem. Wrong. Very wrong.

Call after call and walk in after walk in looking for rooms for this weekend. It was driving the reservation department and the front desk crazy.  Here is a sample of what we heard.

  • It’s not even the weekend, how can the rates be this high?
  • You can’t really be sold out, it’s Thursday.
  • So what do you want me to do now?
  • Who in their right mind would pay that much? (apparently you, if you want a room)
  • I drove 5 hours to get here and now this
  • I flew all the way across country and now you are saying you are sold out?

Be prepared!


 

Ok, so you didn’t make the mistake of not booking a room. Great, good for you. You get a gold star. You have made it to the front desk and are ready to check into your room. Absolutely wonderful. Just need that identification and credit card.

What do you mean you don’t have that with you? Give me back that gold star!

It happens at least a few times a week but tonight was full of them.

  • The guy that drove from Utah without his identification. Oh, and he realized that he didn’t have it about 15 minutes into the trip but didn’t want to back track because he didn’t want to be late and didn’t think it would matter. I have no idea what he thought he would be late for.
  • The couple that was checking in for 2 days and had 2 debit cards with a total of $58 on them and $32 in cash and was hoping we could just waive the security deposit and resort fee.
  • The guy that lost everything at the casino on the strip before checking in and had no way to pay the balance of the room.
  • the lady that was supposed to show up 2 days ago, never called to cancel or reschedule her dates and then showed up today wanting her room and the rate from Tuesday night.
  • and the guy that had actually checked in yesterday for 4 nights but decided that his losing sports bet was reason enough to throw a beer into the TV in his room and now was being kicked out because he refused to pay for the damages.

 

It may be no big deal not to have a reservation for a restaurant or buying show tickets before you arrive but please people, make sure you have a room and a way to get into the room….

or don’t but remember you probably will be disappointed when you arrive and will definitely end up being immortalized here.

 

 

 

 

Last time I stayed here…

Las Vegas is a different animal than most other cities in the United States. It’s the “whatever happens here stays here” city, it’s Sin City. the City of Neon and America’s Adult Playground. It is also a city where hotel rates not only change daily, they can change hourly.

Frequent visitors to the city know that after they have booked to keep checking rates to see if they have lowered. One of the reasons not to book with a wholesaler. With a wholesaler you are pretty much locked in and trying to cancel and re-book, if even possible, is a nightmare.

Then there are the cases where the prospective guest doesn’t understand the flexibility or hotel rates in Las Vegas or that other things that happened last time don’t happen this time. These are the “Last time I stayed here…” conversations.

 

Guest checking in: Last time I booked the same room and I got upgraded to the other tower with a strip view.

Me: Well I am not sure why you received that upgrade last time. I have the room you booked available and I have you on the 8th floor. If you would like to be in the other tower with a strip view the upgrade is $20/night.

Guest: That doesn’t seem fair?

Me: but you are getting the room that you booked at the price you booked.

Guest: but last time I got the room I want this time.

Me: Well that room is available for a $20/night upgrade if you want to change from the room you booked.

Guest: Why should I pay for an upgrade when I should get it for free like last time.

Me: You got the upgrade because someone, for some reason, gave you that upgrade for free.  This time it is not a free upgrade. Not every booking is upgraded.

Guest: Fine, just give me the room I have.

Me: Thank you, here are your keys.


 

(Prospective guest walks up to counter)

PG: Hi, I stayed here in December and I really enjoyed my stay here and I was wanting to come back in September again. Can you tell me the rates for the 21st-24th please.

Me: So glad that you enjoyed your stay with us last time and that you are considering us again. The rate for those 3 nights is $XXX.

PG: What? Last time I was here I got the room for $XX. I don’t understand why the rate is so high.

Me: Well, when you stayed in December it was our low season and you are looking to book during the Life is Beautiful festival and rates increase significantly during events like this.

PG: Oh, well I am not going to that so what is the real rate.

Me: That is the rate. Our base rate for those days is $XXX.

PG: I don’t understand if the rate in December was $XX and I am not going to this festival I should get the same rate.

Me: It has no bearing on whether you are attending. We base our rates on occupancy and events going on in town. I would be happy to book the room for you but the rate is $XXX.

PG: Well then, I guess you don’t want my business. I am going to book elsewhere.

Me: Sorry we couldn’t get you a booking today. Good luck with your plans.


 

(phone call from prospective guest)

PG: Hi, last year I had an offer for 3 free nights and $100 in free play. This year, I didn’t get an offer.

Me: Oh, sorry about that. Do you have your player number? I can see if there is anything available to you.

PG: Yes, it is 123456.

Me: Ok, just one moment and I will look you up….  Sir, I see that the last time you visited us was in 2015.

PG: Yes, that sounds right.

Me: Well, because of the lag in time, I am unable to offer you any upfront comps but I can book you a room and then based on your play we may be able to reduce your rate at checkout.

PG: Oh… well then let’s just use last year’s offer that I didn’t use.

Me: There is an expiration date on that offer and it expired a year ago. We can’t honor it at this time.

PG: but I never used it. If I didn’t use it then it should still be good.

Me: I am sorry but our offers do have expiration dates.

PG: So, just use it this time and change the date. If I didn’t use it you should be able to change it.

Me: I am sorry, I can’t use that offer. Do you have a host that you used to deal with?

PG: Yes, I just talked to him and he wouldn’t comp me either.

(???)

Me: If they said they can’t comp you then I can’t either. They are the people that tell me who I can comp.

PG: Well why didn’t you tell me that in the first place.

(hangs up)


 

 

Fun times 🙂

Front desk clerk… there’s a fly in my soup

In life there are problems. There are solutions. There are specialists that provide solutions. If your toilet is overflowing, you call the plumber not the cable guy. If you have a cavity you don’t call your lawyer, you call the dentist. Pretty simple, right? Not always as I found out today.

It was a quiet night, weirdly quiet. My shift was almost going too smoothly. It’s a slow week in Las Vegas. Literally, nothing of substance going on. It was one of those nights when you just stare at the clock on the computer screen and you swear it is going backwards and how could it only be 9pm. Then they arrived at my station, the Ed and Edith Goumet.

EG: We have a big problem and we need to be compensated for it. This is unacceptable.

Me: Oh, well I am sorry that something has gone wrong and you are upset. Please tell me what is going on.

EG: We just got done eating at ABC restaurant and it was a horrible experience. First, we had to wait to be seated and the restaurant was half empty. Then the appetizer was not hot. The waiter didn’t even say anything when we didn’t eat it.

Me: Did you say anything to the waiter.

EG: Why should we? Shouldn’t he know there is an issue if we only ate half?

Me: Ok, well did you talk to a manager?

EG: Oh wait, there is more. My pasta was way too peppery and my husband’s steak was overcooked. He could barely finish it and I had to drink four glasses of water to finish my food.

Me: So what did the manager say when you talked to him?

EG: We didn’t talk to him, we are talking to you. We charged the meal to the room. You gave us this room so you need to take the meal off the room?

Me: Ok, I am a little confused here. You have a bad meal at the restaurant, a meal you ate most of and did not talk to the restaurant manager about any of your concerns?

EG: Right, how are they going to give us the right compensation?

Me: Well, wouldn’t getting the meal taken off your charge or reducing the cost of the meal be the right compensation?

EG: That isn’t nearly enough. We want a free night!

Me: You want a free night because you had a bad meal that you ate at one of our restaurants even though there is nothing wrong with your room.  Ma’am, I am sorry you were upset with the meal and I would be happy to call the restaurant manager and have him talk to you about your concerns but I can’t comp your room tonight.

EG: I don’t understand we have a problem with the hotel. When that happens you get your room comped.

Me: No, you have a problem with the restaurant. You have no issue with the hotel. Would you like me to call the restaurant for you?

EG: Well you are absolutely no help what so ever. I don’t even know why we came here?!?!

(the guests storm off and I don’t even know if they went back to the restaurant but I do agree with their last point. I don’t know why they came to the front desk either.)

 

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.