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

 

Where did he go wrong?

You know those visual puzzles were they show two very similar pictures were there are differences in the second one and you have to find all the differences?

Today, I am asking you, the readers to count the errors that this guest made throughout their stay.

The Check In Process

(Let’s call the guest AYM for Angry Young Man: sorry, Styx, if I am infringing on a copyright on your song Fooling Yourself)

Me: Welcome to XYZ Hotel. Could I see your identification and credit card, please.

AYM: (Tossing the identification on the counter) I already paid for the room on website.com.

Me: Yes sir, but I will still need a credit card for the resort fee and security deposit.

AYM: What is this security deposit? It wasn’t listed on the website.

Me: It is to cover any incidentals during your stay. It will be refunded back to you after you check out if nothing is damaged or charged to your room.

AYM: Yeah, I’m not paying that.

Me: I can’t check you in without paying that. It is a mandatory credit hold.

AYM: It wasn’t listed on my reservation.

Me: Sir, I am sorry but it if you look at your confirmation you will see it listed at the bottom.

AYM: You are really going to stick with this, huh? Well that’s ok, I have lawyers and I will sue you and website,com and next time I am here it will be all comped because I will own part of this place, this is bullshit. (throws credit card on the counter).

Me: Thank you

AYM: It’s bad enough I have had to wait for the last 3 hours to check in. I’ve been here since 11am.

Me: I am sorry about that but check in time actually doesn’t start for another hour but I do have a clean room for you now.

AYM: I don’t care what your check in time is. My reservation is for Tuesday and this is Tuesday.

Me: Here are your keys, sir. Enjoy your stay.

The Stay

(15 minutes after check in, the guest returns to the front desk)

AYM: You gave me a bad key. Only one of the keys work. This is a great inconvenience.

Me: Sorry sir, I will make you another one.

AYM: Is it that hard to make a key for the correct room?

Me: I apologize sir, occasionally we get a bad key. Here is your new key.

AYM: Yeah, I am sure it is a “bad key”

(Yeah, I purposely gave this asshat a bad key because I enjoy him so much.)


(later in the day we get a call to the front desk)

AYM: I called housekeeping 10 minutes ago for another blanket for this icebox you stuck me in and they haven’t brought it yet.

Me: I am sure they are on their way but I will call and make sure there isn’t an issue.

AYM: Is there anyone that actually works in your hotel?


The Check Out

(apparently sometime during the night, AYM called and asked for a late check out and was denied because we needed the room. It is now 3pm and he has been called several times that he needs to check out or he will be charged for another night. AYM, of course, is abusive to the clerk and manager who has been calling the room. Security is called. 15 minutes later, AYM is storming to the front desk followed by security. He wants to talk to the manager because security has manhandled him. He conveniently ignores the fact that he has attempted to punch our security guards, including a female guard.)

Me: (attempting to stall) Yes sir, let me see if the manager is available.

( I look up the notes on the reservation and see that the manager has written on the file about everything that has happened and that the police have actually been called. Luckily, Metro shows up in the lobby just as AYM is starting to get abusive to me. Apparently, he believes that someone entered his room while he was sleeping and stole one of his bags. He seems happy that Metro is here because he can press charges against security and the hotel. I am sure he was surprised when they cuffed him and escorted him out of the building.)

 

BTW if you are not following me on Twitter, please do. I often tweet about little work stories that don’t make it to the blog. My handle is @VegasHC and as always, thanks for reading.

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.

 

Who’s on first?

I was introduced to classic comedy from a series of cassette tapes in my Grandpa’s den. He had a series of tapes that featured Red Buttons, Red Skelton, Sid Caesar, Lilly Tomlin and my favorite comedy routine, “Who’s on First” by Abbott and Costello. If you don’t know the routine please look it up. I will wait for you.

Welcome back, funny right?

I have always thought about doing stand up comedy but I never realized that I was going to be straight man to a drunk lady doing a version of “Who’s on First” at a hotel.


 

(A lady in her mid 20’s walks up to the desk. She is obviously drunk and seems panicked)

Drunk Guest: I really need some help.

Me: Yes ma’am, how can I help.

DG: I don’t know where I am going?

Me: Where are you supposed to be?

DG: My friend told me to meet her at Hotel XYZ.

Me: Ok, well you are at Hotel XYZ.

DG: but I don’t know where to go.

Me: Did your friend tell you what part of the hotel to meet you at?

DG: Yes, she said to come here but she isn’t here.

Me: She told you to come to the front desk?

DG: Yes… no… she said I need to go to the restaurant.

Me: Which restaurant?

DG: The restaurant.

Me: We have different restaurants.

DG: I think it was the (non-identified) restaurant.

Me: Ok. I can show you how to get there. Go this way and then that way and it will be on the left.

DG: Thank you.

(10 minutes later, she is back)

DG: I’m lost.

Me: Was your friend not there?

DG: I asked the girl there where I should go and they sent me here.

Me: What did you tell her?

DG: I told her I was meeting my friend at the front desk.

Me: I thought you told me you were meeting her at the restaurant.

DG: Yes.

Me: Then why did you tell the restaurant you were meeting your friend at the front desk.

DG: She wasn’t there.

Me: did she call you and tell you to meet her here.

DG: Yes, she told me to meet her at Hotel XYZ.

Me: Yes, and then you told me she was at that restaurant.

DG: Yes.

Me: Then why did you come back to the front desk.

DG: I’m confused.

Me: So am I. Did she call you or send a text or e-mail.

DG: She sent me a text.

Me: Have you tried to call her?

DG: There was no answer.

Me: Can I see the text?

DG: Sure, here it is.

Me: Ma’am, it says to meet her by the cage.

DG: Cage? What is that? I thought she said cafe so I figured it was a restaurant.

Me: Let me get a security guard to walk you over to that cashier cage.

DG: Ok, thank you.

(Who’s on first, what’s on second, I don’t know, front desk.)


 

I missed a question on the Q&A so I promised I would cover it here. It is a difficult one because it asks me to stereotype, which I hate doing but I will do my best.

Is there a city, state or country that produces less polite and more polite customers than others?

In general, I really enjoy checking in people from Great Britain and Canada. They just seem really patient and are happy to just be in Las Vegas. I would say that a very minimal percentage are problem guests.

Most foreign guests are great to deal with but sometimes the language barrier is a tough one to deal with. I know some French and Spanish so I try my best.

Midwest, middle aged to seniors are mostly a great experience. They are the ones that give me the most warm fuzzies.

The guests that I have had the most difficulty and it still happens rarely would fall into three groups.

  • Locals who think they should be treated differently because they aren’t tourists. They want discounts, they want special treatment just for the fact that they live here. Don’t like it? Go home.
  • Young guys from California. They are here to gamble, go clubbing and pick up women and they couldn’t care less about listening to what I am saying about security deposits or that they booked a room with one bed for 4 guys. I can guarantee I am getting a callback from the room about what was just charged or the type of room they get.
  • This one is not region specific but definitely has a southern tilt. The (usually) woman who has booked the cheapest room she can find and then complains about how the room is not up to her standard but when asked what she thought she was getting, has no idea what the different room types are. This usually ends up being about getting a food comp or something for free. It rarely has to do with the actual room.

There have been very few guests that I would not want to see again. In the last few months I would say maybe 3-4. In general, most people are either a great check in or at minimum not very memorable. The memorable ones either make me smile or get written about here and the big assholes are usually a faded memory a few days later.

 

Again, thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

Sometimes… I just don’t know.

I always try to come up with some catchy title for my blogs and I thought about this one for a long time. Most of them involved a lot of cursing and finally I realized that sometimes there are no words and there is a time that i just don’t know.


 

What’s the two things that are needed to check in to a hotel? We need to know how you are going to pay and who you are.

The first one, well that is usually a credit or debit card and occasionally cash. This is the one that usually is a sticking point. People are constantly coming in without a card and having an argument about why they can’t pay cash. Most places allow you to pay for everything except the security deposit with cash. I know of some places in Las Vegas that don’t accept cash at all. Make sure you know before you go. Why don’t we accept cash for a security deposit? What if you cause more damage to the room than the cash deposit? We also have to check the room before you check out if you have a cash deposit. It also can cause issues with balancing our banks. It’s just a pain. If you have a bank account, get a debit card.

The second one, the who are you part, would seem to be the easy one and until the other night, it very rarely was the problem.

Me: Welcome to Hotel Vegas, checking in?

Guest: Yes, I made a reservation on 3rdparty.com, my confirmation number is 1assholeIam.

Me: Ok, I will need a credit card and your ID please.

(guest hands me his debit card and his players card)

Me: Sir, I need your identification.

Guest: I gave you my confirmation number and player’s card.

Me: That is not proper identification. I need a passport or driver’s license. Something state issued with a photo.

Guest: I don’t understand why you need that. I have proof that I have a reservation.

Me: I need to confirm who you are and that the confirmation is yours.

Guest: This is ridiculous, fine, here you are.

(at this time, the guest pulls out 6 different player’s cards from various casinos, his health insurance card, his auto insurance card and his social security card (of course none of them has his picture on it)

Me: Sir, none of these identify you with a picture or are state issued.

Guest: The social security card is government issued, that is better than state issued.

Me: There is no picture.

Guest: I have my fishing license.

Me: Did you have to show an identification to get the fishing license?

Guest: Well yeah.

Me: Ok, can I have that identification?

Guest: Dude, I’m just messing with you, here’s my driver’s license. (pulls it out of his back pocket)

Me: Thank you, sir.

(what’s the cardinal rule of checking in? Don’t piss off the clerk who is assigning your room to you. So let’s see, oh, we preassigned him a high floor with a view? Delete, room change, low floor, dumpster below room, air conditioning unit to the left of room. Save.)

Guest: Just having fun you know. Any upgrades available?

Me: Oh no problem, sir. Unfortunately, we do not have any upgrades available for tonight. I am sure you will be happy with the room you have been assigned.

Guest: Ok, cool thanks.


 

I am sure he was ok with the room choice and even if he wasn’t, well, I was just having fun you know.

Problems… you vs. me

It was a great little vacation from work and the blog. I am back and recharged with some good stories. I am hoping to post 2-3 times a week. Thanks again for your support and the comments. Early next week I plan to do a Q & A blog so please leave your questions in the comments.


We are into the summer months in Las Vegas. That means large crowds, high temperatures and guests that are irritated and overheated.

As a hotel clerk, you look at the queue and you can see the easy check-ins and the ones that are going to be a journey. I have just finished an easy check-in and I look towards the line and I see the scowl on a woman’s face. She is next and she is storming towards me. I also need to mention that it is Saturday night and we are sold out.

(she gets to me and stares at me)

Me: Good evening, checking in?

Angry Guest: …

Me: I will need to see your identification and credit card, please.

AG: …

Me: Ma’am, your ID and credit card?

AG: I already have a reservation.

Me: Yes. ma’am but I can’t check you in until I know who you are and how you are paying for the reservation.

AG: (throws her driver’s license down) I already paid for it.

Me: Even if you paid through a wholesaler, you will still need to put down a security deposit and resort fee.

AG: What the hell is a security deposit?

Me: It is just in case of room damage.

AG: I already paid that.

Me: Ma’am, you pay that when you arrive, you only paid the room and tax at this point.

AG: (throws her credit card at me) Whatever!

Me: Ok, I see you have a room with one king bed.

AG: I booked 2 queens.

Me: Do you have a confirmation because the wholesaler sent us a reservation for 1 king.

AG: Well that seems like a you problem not a me problem.

Me: Um, so you don’t have a confirmation of 2 queens?

AG: You have the reservation, you made the error, fix it.

Me: but the room that the wholesaler sent is for a king. If you don’t have something that says two queens I need to give you a king because we are sold out of 2 queens.

AG: I am not sure why you are telling me your problems. I don’t care just give me two queens!

Me: We have no queen rooms available. If you definitely need two queens, perhaps you can call the wholesaler and relocate you.

AG: You were the only hotel available so we have to stay here.

Me: Well… that seems like a you problem and not a me problem… (ok, I didn’t say that but I really wanted to.) Well, ma’am, then I guess that you will need the keys to the king room?

AG: … just give me the keys.

Me: Have a good night, ma’am.

(not sure why she even needed two beds because I never saw anyone with her or after she walked to the elevator but it was a moot point since she booked a king in the first place.)

 

The Long Goodbye

On one of my early blogs I talked about trying to tell people that we were sold out and all the interesting responses I got. Well, they just keep on coming. This weekend may have been the best one yet.

It is EDC weekend and like a lot of the hotels we are sold out (maybe we had a couple suites but they were priced very high).  At 10pm, I had two ladies show up to the front desk and ask about a room for the night.

Guest: We are looking for a cheap room for tonight.

Me: Sorry, we are sold out tonight.

Guest: Well, maybe we could afford something a little more expensive.

Me: Ma’am, we are sold out.

Guest: So you have no rooms available?

Me: We are completely sold out.

Guest: Well we have loyalty cards.

Me: We have no rooms.

Guest: What if we went online and booked?

Me: but how would you do that? We don’t have rooms that can be booked.

Guest: They always have rooms online.

Me: Only if there are rooms to be sold and we are sold out.

Guest: Well we will take any room, even if it just has one bed.

Me: Ma’am, we have been sold out all day. There isn’t a single room left with the possible exception of the A Suite and that is going for $XXX

Guest: Could we get that for $50?

Me: Ma’am, our cheapest room before we sold out was going for $XXX tonight.

Guest: So, no rooms?

Me: No rooms.

(and that was the end of it)

(oh wait, no it wasn’t. They returned 15 minutes later)

Guest: We found a room.

Me: Great to hear. Where?

Guest: Here!

Me: Um, do you have the confirmation number or can I see your confirmation?

Guest: They never sent us a confirmation.

Me: Who didn’t?

Guest: The website

Me: What website?

Guest: Oh, it was like Expedia or Hotels.com

Me: So which one?

Guest: Oh, I don’t know, can we check in now?

Me: we are still sold out and if you can’t provide me with a confirmation number or some sort of proof that you have a reservation, I can’t check you in.

(and that was the end)

(of course, they came back 10 minutes later)

Guest: Ok, we have the confirmation now.

(they hand me their phone)

Me: This reservation is for tomorrow, ma’am.

Guest: It is?

Me: Yes, ma’am.

Guest: Can you change it to tonight?

Me: Ma’am we are sold out.

Guest: Well when is check in?

Me: Tomorrow afternoon.

Guest: could we check in early like in a few hours?

Me: Ma’am we are sold out tonight and won’t have rooms available until tomorrow afternoon.

Guest: Oh, ok, well see you tomorrow then.

Me: Ok, goodbye ladies.

(I don’t know where they stayed that night but it took over 30 minutes to finally get them to leave the front desk area.)