Listening is a skill…

Not only for a person in customer service but for the customer. I am amazed at the number of times that a guest with a full on rage over an issue just won’t listen. Their problem has an easy solution that is being explained to them and all they want to do is restate the issue and cause a scene. Maybe I am too Zen. Maybe when I have a problem I actually want it fixed and want the solution.

I have been dealing with a company that has overbilled me and when I have called them I have stayed calm and have escalated the situation when I needed to but I figure the less I rant and rave the easier the situation can be handled because the relationship stays cordial. Yes, it took 3 calls and 3 departments but the situation got handled and I am not labelled a difficult customer or someone I refer to as “precious”.

These customers… well aren’t they precious.


 

Guest storms up to the counter and throws his room key at me.

Guest: The fucking key doesn’t work and I can’t get into my room. What kind of fucking bullshit hotel is this that doesn’t give their guests working keys.

Me: I apologize sir. Occasionally, we get a bad key in the batch. I will get this fixed right away.

Guest: Yeah, well neither key works, don’t you even know how to do your job.

Me: Sir, let me ask you this. When you tried to use the key did anything light up on the lock?

Guest: The key doesn’t work. What part of that don’t you understand. Get me a new key!

Me: Sir, it is possible that the key is good and the door lock in your room is bad. There is a battery…

Guest: I still don’t have a fucking key. I see you standing there but you are not making me a key.

Me: as I was trying to explain, there is a chance that is isn’t the key but the lock. The lock has a battery and it might need repla…

Guest: How long do I have to stand here before you make me a fucking key?

Me: Sir, I could make you 100 keys but if the battery is dead in the door, nothing is going to work. Did you see anything light up when you used the key.

Guest: More fucking excuses, is that all you people do?

Me: Sir, did anyth…

Guest: No nothing fucking lit up. Now give me a key!

Me: Sir, then it is the door lock and not the key. I will have an engineer come right up and replace the battery so  you can get into your room.

Guest: So, basically I can’t get into my room tonight?

Me: No, an engineer will fix it in the next 10 minutes and you can get into your room.

Guest: So I guess I have to hang around here for the next hour before I can go to bed.

Me: Sir, he will probably be at your door before you get up to your room if you head up now.

Guest: What a fucking joke of a hotel.

(he storms off)

 


 

(Young female guest comes up to the desk)

Guest: I am here to check in. I made the reservation through randomwholsale.com.

Me: Ok. just need your ID and credit card.

(she hands me the cards)

Guest: I need a room on the lowest floor, away from the elevator and it has to have a microwave.

Me: Well, I have a room on the 5th floor and it is 10 doors down from the elevator. We do not have microwaves. I hope that is satisfactory.

Guest: Um, I said lowest floor.

Me: Yes, the 5th floor is the lowest available floor.

Guest: So, you are saying your hotel doesn’t have a 2nd or 3rd floor? That is stupid.

Me: No, I am saying that the lowest available room tonight is on the 5th floor. All the other rooms are occupied.

Guest: I find that hard to believe.

(I never know how to answer that statement)

Me: Well, I am sorry, ma’am but that is what I have.

Guest: Well then get me further away from the elevator.

Me: I can move you to the 8th floor and you will be 14 rooms away from the elevator.

Guest: That isn’t a low floor.

Me: Ma’am, it is 11pm and we only have 10 rooms left in the hotel. I can either put you on the 5th floor or the 8th floor. Anything else is either close to the elevator or on an even higher floor.

Guest: Why is this such a difficult request?

Me: As I said, we are almost sold out and there are a limited number or rooms. These two rooms fit your request as best I can.

Guest: Well then I need you to comp me a microwave.

Me: Ma’am, as I said we don’t have microwaves to put up in the rooms.

Guest: So, you don’t have a single microwave in the hotel?

Me: No ma’am.

Guest: So how do you heat up your food.

Me: I don’t heat up my food.

Guest: but there is a microwave in your lunch room?

Me: Yes.

Guest: So you are a liar.

Me: Ma’am, that is an employee microwave. I can’t put one in your room.

Guest: Is it your job to piss off the guests.

Me: No ma’am. Would you like the 5th floor room or the 8th floor.

Guest: Give me the 5th floor even though you have rooms on the 2nd floor.

Me: Here are your keys, ma’am.

Guest: Asshole.

(she walks away)


 

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Kwanza to you all. I hope you all have a great holiday season. I will be back with a new post sometime next week.

Twitter: @VegasHC

 

I guess I made the naughty list

I have found out over the last couple days that I am not only sarcastic, I am in fact, EVIL. Apparently, I am purposely causing guests at the hotel great discomfort and ruining vacations. Now, I am very sorry that I am doing this with complete malice and intent. I have no excuse for what I have done and I feel that part of my repentance should be to publicly tell you about the evilness that I have wrought.


 

A guest attempted to check in last week. He had a reservation and a credit card but his ID was his employee badge from Phoenix where he is a bus driver.

Me: Sir, I can’t accept that as a valid form of identification. I need a passport or driver’s license. Something state issued?

Guest: but this has my picture on it.

Me: We can’t accept this. I see you are a bus driver, can I see your driver’s license?

Guest: I don’t have it with me, this is all I have. You took my payment without a license.

Me: Yes, we took a deposit before you arrive, that is standard procedure but now we need proof of ID and your credit card in person.

Guest: Well no one told me that when I booked.

Me: Did you mention that you did not have a driver’s license?

Guest: No, I do have a license. I just don’t have it now because I won’t be driving.

Me: Sir, I am not sure what to tell you. I can’t check you in without an ID.

Guest: Well thanks for ruining my vacation. I won’t stay here again.

(see what I mean, pure evil. I just destroyed this man’s dreams)


 

Two women checked in. They had booked an Emerald room (btw those looking for secrets to where I work by looking at room types and things like that… I make that stuff up to hide my location… again, I am EVIL). I checked them into their room and gave them two keys. I made sure that they knew exactly which way to go to get to the elevator. I then hatched my plan. I flipped the entire hotel and casino so that the elevators were now on the opposite side of the building. Pure genius, ultimate EVIL. Now that they were completely confused and lost. They returned to the front desk. As they approached, I flipped the entire building back so I could give them the same directions. This time they found the room. Of course, I was not done yet. They came down almost immediately.

Guest: You gave me the wrong room. I booked an Emerald room.

Me: Ma’am, you are in an Emerald room.

Guest: No, you downgraded me. This is not what I saw online. This is not what I wanted and you need to fix it.

(so we have a book of room types at the front desk and I show the guest the picture)

Guest: That is wrong. That is not the room I booked. I booked this room (pointing to a different picture).

Me: (now I have to think fast because she is on to me. I spent the last hour, remaking our room type book just to screw her over. What do I do?) I am sorry ma’am but that is a Ruby room. We have them available but it will be a $20 upgrade per night.

Guest: Oh so that is the scam. You downgrade us and then charge us to get the room we booked. I am not going to fall for that. You are just going to get a bad review and we will never stay here again.

(they storm off)


 

Well those are the major ones but I will quickly mention my other discretions.

  • I made sure that an airline representative never showed up at the hotel with a guest’s lost luggage because it was supposed to be here at 7pm and it is now 9pm.
  • I checked a guest into a room knowing that the room did not have toilet paper.
  • I wouldn’t accept casino chips for payment of a resort fee.
  • and finally, I refused to check in a guest because they had booked for another hotel. I know that they had a room booked somewhere in Vegas and I should have honored that but I made them leave and go to that hotel.

I am so sorry dear readers for my horrible and heinous behavior. I will try to do better in 2018… and Santa, I really don’t even deserve coal so just skip my house. I am not worthy.

 

If you disagree and still like me, please follow me on Twitter @VegasHC

Superstitious feelings

Very superstitious, writings on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way

 

I thought we would leave the front desk for this blog and venture into the casino. The front desk may be a great window to people watch in Las Vegas but some of the real interesting stuff happens in the casino.

I spend most of my lunch/dinner break walking around in the casino or sitting on a bench people watching. I find human behavior fascinating and some times it is weird… and sometimes there isn’t just a single word to describe it.

  • There is a guy that comes in every Thursday and plays the same machine every week. He plays $3 a spin and never sits at the machine, he dances and sings while playing it. He goes through his $100 bill and then curses and yells at the machine and storms off. I call him the Disco Inferno.

 

  • Another semi-regular is an older man I refer to as Thor. He doesn’t have long blonde hair or big muscles but you can hear him hammer the buttons on the video poker machines from 30 feet away. He has actually put a few out of commission.

 

  • We have a lady that comes in twice a month with a wad of cash. She plays blackjack. If she doubles her money she leaves or plays until she is broke. When she loses the casino usually comps her a few days, which is a good thing because she is gambling to pay for her utility bills. I have tried to explain to her that if she called the electric company and get on a payment plan they probably wouldn’t cut her power off. Of course, her response is that she would still owe half but this way she has a chance to pay the whole thing off. I guess the risk is worth the reward for her.

 

  • I have seen ladies shaking things troll dolls, bells, family pictures at the machine, but until last week I had never seen a person praying and rubbing rosary beads. Maybe God wasn’t in the sportsbook that day.

 

  • Then we have the people that eat at the machines. Eating buffalo wings while hitting those buttons and licking their fingers. I don’t even want to think of the science experiment that is happening in their mouth.

 

  • Then we have the girl that kisses the screen on every big win. I have heard of a one armed bandit and the kissing bandit but never kissing the one armed bandit. Just yuck!

 

  • One of the more annoying things is the player that ties up three machines. Purse on one chair, some other thing like a suitcase or take out bag on the other chair and they are in the middle with money in all three machines but only playing one at the time.

 

So what weird or interesting things have you seen or experienced? What superstitions do you have while gambling? I promise not to laugh… out loud.

Thanks for following the blog and my Twitter (@VegasHC). I was never a popular kid in school but you make this guy feel like a prom queen 🙂

 

3 Questions and a Little Story

 

So how about so about we finish off those questions.

Are rooms preselected or does the front desk clerk pick them?

Yes. 🙂  Rooms can be preselected by the software depending on the software. If they aren’t, they are usually preassigned by a supervisor. Then again, some places don’t do that at all and leave it to the clerk.

In my hotel, I have the ability to change room numbers at the time of check in and I can take preassigned rooms and give them to someone else. I do have limitations. Certain rooms can’t be moved if someone higher up tells me not to move them. That could be my boss or their boss or a casino host, etc. So, if a clerk tells you they can’t move rooms, they are not lying necessarily. If the hotel is full, there might not be much to do but if the hotel is half empty and you just want a different (not specific) floor? Well then, one of you is an asshole.

Do front desk clerks have a say on champagne or desserts in the room?

That usually falls under the casino host sending those things to the room through food and beverage. I can request those things but I really have no say. A supervisor or front desk manager probably has a little more stroke that a clerk. If I catch a note on the reservation about a birthday or anniversary before the guest checks in, I will usually mention it to someone to see what can be done. I always get approval because I really don’t want to have a bill for champagne handed to me on payday.

What are some of the best holiday events and sights in Las Vegas?

  • The Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Henderson lights up their cactus garden. Very cool.
  • There is ice skating at the Cosmopolitan. I no longer skate but it is very popular.
  • The Nutcracker at the Smith Center for your theater needs.
  • The Bellagio Conservatory is stuffed with wreaths, poinsettia and plenty of holiday cheer.
  • There is Mt Charleston for skiing. Not really holiday related but hey it is snow.
  • I haven’t been but the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village has a type of polar express, Christmas trees and, of course, Santa.
  • The Bellagio Fountains have Christmas carols.
  • Plenty of special Christmas concerts at various venues.

 

I mentioned reasons for getting resort fees comped in the Q&A and it was just a few days ago that I had a guest that pushed and pushed to get rid of his resort fees more than anyone in a long time. He had a plan and he was sticking to it right from the start.

(guest approaches my station and we begin the check in process)

Guest: I was never told of the resort fees on the website.

(I hadn’t even mentioned resort fees so if he is mentioning them, he knows about them)

Me: Sir, they are a mandatory charge. I can’t remove them. They are mentioned at the bottom of your confirmation letter.

Guest: Well, I want a non-smoking room and if anyone has ever smoked in my room, I will know.

Me: Yes sir, I understand. I have you in a non-smoking room.

Guest: Good, because this is bullshit. You are all just money grabbing corporate stooges.

Me: Yes sir. (just keep agreeing with him and get him checked in. It isn’t worth it.) Here are your keys, sir.

(now I have indentified the guy that is going to be my next blog because I am going to hear from him all day long.)

… an hour later the phone rings

Guest: My room smells like shit.

Me: My apologies, sir. I will move you to another floor.

Guest: I don’t want to pack up. I want my resort fees waived.

Me; but you said your room smells of fecal matter?

Guest: Yes

Me: Well then you should be moved sir to get away from the smell. (hey, it doesn’t smell like smoke)

Guest: I will be right down.

(he never came down… and why did it take him 60 minutes to complain about his room being a sewer?)

… later that night

Guest: I have no hot water.

Me: My apologies, sir. I can have an engineer right up there and he can try and fix the issue or I can move you to a different room.

Guest: So you are not going to refund my resort fees?

Me: Sir, our policy is to move the guest to a different room just like I attempted to hours ago. Do you want me to send the engineer.

Guest: nevermind!!

(This guy is determined. He now apparently is staying in a sewer with no hot water. His list of complaints and refusal to move rooms, continued over the next 2 days including, a noise complaint from a vacant room, a slow elevator and a maid knocking on his door at 1pm.)

Now, in all fairness he did end up getting one day of resort fees waived by the manager when the maids did not clean his room, even though he had a do not disturb sign on his door. He, of course, wanted all 5 days removed from his bill.

The stupid thing is that if he hadn’t been so belligerent about the resort fees in the beginning we probably would have comped him a couple resort fees if he had complained about those things and actually moved rooms like these things actually really bothered him.


 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Twitter: @VegasHC

So you want answers?

Thank you all for all the questions and thanks for liking the blog and following me on Twitter. When my son found out that I had over 800 followers he told me that meant I was a big deal. Well if you made me a big deal in my son’s eyes then all of you are big deals to me. So, without further adieu, here is the third VegasHC Q&A.


I have a question. I always get comps for different types of rooms, normally standard rooms though, and we always pay for some type of suite as that is what we prefer. Is it unreasonable to ask for resort fees to be waived since we are paying for our room?

It is unreasonable? I would say it isn’t unreasonable to ask for resort fees to be waived but it depends on the reason. To ask for your fees to be waived because you are paying for your own room? Isn’t that what you are supposed to do? I am trying to think of an analogy that would work here. If you go to the store and buy groceries and pay for them, should the taxes be waived? You are essentially buying a room for a period of time and part of that purchase is the resort fee. You may not like it. heck, I don’t like it but it is part of the price.

Now, if part of the resort fee entitles you to Wi-Fi or a local newspaper and for a portion of your trip you don’t get those things, I would say that something should be comped. Another situation would be you want your room cleaned and housekeeping doesn’t clean your room, then yes, a reduction in the resort fee could be a solution.


Do hotels still have a concierge? What should I used them for? What should I not use them for? How much should I pay/tip them?

Some hotels have a concierge. Mostly strip hotels and timeshare places have them. I know some off strip places have some sort of service like it but not specifically called a concierge.

You should use them when you have questions about the resort or Las Vegas in general. What restaurant do you recommend for sushi? What is an activity that my grandmother would enjoy? For this service I would say a tip is not needed. Now, maybe their suggestion made your day and they added value to your day. Then maybe you give them a few bucks after you return to show your appreciation… or just thank them for the information. I pride myself in my knowledge of Las Vegas and its abundance of things to do and I am always at the ready to suggest something or answer questions. I think it is part of being a good hotel clerk and Vegas ambassador.

You can also use them to book shows, excursions and make restaurant or travel reservations. For this I would tip them. They are doing something to ease your task list. They also may have an in at a hot club or restaurant and be able to get you a reservation when one isn’t readily available to the general public. That adds value. They deserve a tip. How much? I can’t really answer that. How much did it help you out?  Say you know there are plenty of tickets available for a show tonight but you don’t want to go get the tickets yourself. Well it is a moderate request… probably a moderate tip. Say you were supposed to make reservations for your anniversary dinner and you forgot and they are booked up. He can get you in. So basically, you no longer have your wife plotting your demise. How much is that worth to you? I would basically hand the concierge your car keys and tell him to enjoy.


We leave a tip for the cleaners, however we leave it when we go home. Do they share tips?

As far as I know, they do not share tips so you are tipping the housekeeper that cleaned your room that day. Now, that may be the same person that did your room the whole stay but it may not. If you are going to tip for any service, tip at the time of service.


Are there better groups or conventions or holidays better or worse than others?

Yes, I would rather attend the Adult Video News awards than the dry cleaners convention.

Oh, you mean which is better to deal with or is an easier time for me?

Let’s see… I would rather deal with IHeart and Life is Beautiful than Electric Daisy Carnival. The EDC crowd is strung out, doped up and to be stereotypical, younger and less mature. They tend to be more abusive and verbally nasty. It is much more difficult to explain policy and control a group that is trying to stuff 8 people into a room with one or two beds and smoking in my rooms because they just don’t care.

I would take pretty much any convention over any festival… maybe with the exception of the NASCAR and Rodeo groups. They are cool in my book.

Convention visitors are here for a reason and most of the time, their company is flipping the bill so they don’t care about fees and other miscellaneous stuff. Really easy going. Show them how to get to their room, the nearest bar and where to get a great steak and they are happy.

For holidays… Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter are all breezes. Fourth of July and Labor Day are busy but manageable. The holidays that are tougher are the “holidays”, the ones that aren’t really holidays. Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. Not that these aren’t celebrations but they aren’t the federal or religious type holidays. They are party holidays and drinking holidays and drunk people equal problems for hotel staff.

March Madness, the Superbowl and other sporting events are crazy busy but most people are checked in well before the event and are great guests because they just want a sportsbook, beer and a TV. Those weekends are very comparative to things like CES as far as size and just a little more chaotic. The music festivals are definitely the apex of chaos.

 


What is the best time of day or year to ask for an upgrade and how many room levels is appropriate?

Anytime of day and any time of year. It never hurts to ask. Everything else is really subjective to the hotel and what is actually going on in that hotel. The basic room level in any hotel is probably going to sell out first and be the one room type that will be overbooked for a couple of reasons. Wholesalers tend to sell that type and most hotels allow a wholesaler to oversell that type of room because we can always move you to the next level. We rarely overbook the high end rooms because there is nowhere to go from there.

The overbooking is the easiest way to get an upgrade. We have to upgrade someone because we don’t have enough rooms so why not ask the clerk if they have an upgrade. Be nice, be polite and engage with the clerk. If they give you an upgrade then by all means tip them if you want. I have given a 3 level upgrade before. I had two identical rooms and one suite. I had three guests who had booked the same room type. First guest comes in and plops their shoes on my desk, spills part of their drink and says “Give me something good, would ya?” Yep, no upgrade. Second guest asks me about my day, compliments the speed in which we are working the queue and doesn’t even ask for the upgrade. He got the upgrade. No tip and I didn’t care. Sorry, third guest, you lost out.

Managers are cracking down on free upgrades but if I have to upgrade, I have to upgrade and if I can justify the upgrade, I can upgrade. Be honest, be kind and be reasonable and we will work with you if we can.


Do you have any advice or tips on getting the best rate?

Um, research, I guess. Plan early and find out when the rates are lower. Wholesalers are usually have cheaper rates but you don’t have the flexibility. Booking through the hotel directly allows you to keep checking rates to see if something drops in price. Sign up for player’s cards and get mailers and e-mails for promotions. If your play warrants; get a host.


When checking in at a VIP check in, is tipping expected? What is an average tip?

I don’t know of any worthwhile hotel clerk that expects a tip no matter where they work. It is always appreciated. Again, it is really up to you. This is not like waiting tables where it is an expectation due to wages and well, just because it is. Some clerks make a very respectable living, some don’t but whatever you feel like doing is fine. Don’t obsess over it. The clerk isn’t or shouldn’t be. My goal is to help you not to make tips. A tip is just a bonus that is greatly appreciated but (to me) so is a handshake, high five, fist bump or a hearty “Thanks, dude!”

The biggest tip I have ever received, I believe was $60. I usually am given $10-20. Sometimes it is a few bucks. I have also been given candy, cookies, pie, a half used coupon book, leftover pizza and the eternal blessings of the Dalai Lama, so I got that going for me. There is no standard tip.


What is the biggest change in your job in the last few years?

I asked fellow clerks about this and the consensus seems to be that the type of person has changed. You used to have primarily gamblers and now the millennials are coming and they are more the type to book the type of room they want and not look for the free upgrade. They are not just using the room to crash. This is now a home base for their group or a place to chill between meals and clubs and other activities. They want what they want and they are willing to pay for it.

The other side of that are those gamblers that are stuck in the 80’s and 90’s and despise the resort fees and the cookie cutter resorts and the giant resorts. They want their $5.99 steak dinner back and 3:2 blackjack. There is a distinct trend where the older crowd or less affluent crowd is moving to downtown hotels and “local” places and renting a car to avoid $40 resort fees, “gangs” of club goers, etc.

The other main point is the corporate feel that is taking over more places. We have less flexibility in dealing with upgrades and such. This is not the financial boom. Money is tighter and there are more people to answer to.


Would $20 allow me to ask about the $20 trick?

Absolutely… I have kids about to go to college so send your money to the VegasHC College Fund, Las Vegas, NV and I will see what I can do.


 

Hope you all enjoyed this. I did.  I know I missed a few questions and I will add them to the end of the next blog that will be up later in the week.

Twitter: @VegasHC

No one listened to Noah either

You know that person that thinks they know more than you, even when you are either an expert on the subject or you just have more information on what is going on? I think we all have a person like that in our life. I have a had a few people like that in my life and it can get frustrating.

  • I work with a person that thinks they can give restaurant advice but has told me how much he thinks the buffet at the Cannery is one of the best in town. Please don’t give restaurant advice!
  • I had a friend that used to give me advice on raising kids. He had one daughter and he had his visitation rights taken away. Just no!
  • There are also the plenty of times a fellow poker player would try to tell me that math has nothing to do with poker and the one time I was told that in all his research that poker was 10% skill and 90% luck… it is not.

Now I don’t know everything about running a hotel and I don’t know everything about the issues in the hotel I work in but I bet I know more than the guests I check in. Here are a couple of examples from last few weeks.


 

When I call a guest and tell them there is a situation and we need to move them to a different room, you would think they might listen to me.

When I tell them there is a busted pipe in the room above them you would think that giving them that information would make them listen more.

Their response was, “We just got back from a long day and we are not about to pack up everything because of something in another room, please do not disturb us again”.

They called 30 minutes later when their bathroom flooded. They moved and complained about how some of their stuff was ruined.


 

The guest that asked how long before their flight should they get a taxi to the airport.

I always tell them to leave no later than 2 hours before their flight. They, of course, because they travel all the time, arrived less than an hour before their flight and missed their flight because there was way too many people going through security on Sunday night. Then they wanted me to comp them a room for their inconvenience.


 

Then there are the multitude of guests that expect that you will know more than you can possibly know. I mean, I know I am good at my job but I am not omnipotent.

Guest: Can I get a quiet room?

Me: I can put you on a higher floor, sir.

Guest: but are the people in the rooms around me, quiet?

Me: Yes sir, they are a group of monks that have taken a vow of silence.


 

Guest: I am leaving early tomorrow for the airport. Can you tell me the best route to avoid any accidents?

Me: Yes ma’am, I am having a vision that there will be a 3 car accident at 15 and Flamingo and as well as a stalled tractor-trailer on Sahara. Also, the power ball number is 14 and you will meet a tall stranger at the TSA checkpoint.


 

Guest: I am moving from here to another hotel tonight. Do you think they will waive the resort fee?

Me: Absolutely. In fact, if they don’t tell them that I said they should because you have been a wonderful guest and it is just good karma.


 

Thanks again for reading.

I think it is time for another Q&A, so send your questions to me and I will put something up next week.

 

Twitter: @VegasHC

 

 

 

A little of this and a little of that

Hello my blog family. I hope you are all well and enjoying the changing seasons, unless you live in a place like Las Vegas where the seasons don’t really change, the temperature just goes from “Is this Hell?” to “This isn’t so bad”.

Today’s blog doesn’t focus on just one guest but it is part questions I get at the front desk as well as some word definitions that seem to escape a lot of my guests. Of course, I know you all would never confuse these words or ask these questions… at least I hope you wouldn’t and if you would, well… now you won’t 🙂


 

Request vs. Guarantee:  A guarantee is a certainty… at least 99.9% of the time in the hotel business. A request is something that we will do our best to accommodate. When you book a room and give us a form of payment, I will Guarantee you a room. If you Request a strip view or a high floor, I will do my best to accommodate you.

So many people come into the hotel and say “but I requested a high floor?” Yes, you did. I don’t have that available or maybe I have the 14th floor but not the 23rd floor. Guess what the 14th floor is a high floor. Either way, you have the room that was guaranteed.

Mandatory: This is pretty straight forward. It is a must, a definite, a most certain, an absolute. It is mandatory that you do certain things to check in. Sign a registration card, provide an ID, provide a credit/debit card and in certain hotels, pay a resort fee, leave a security deposit and/or pay for parking. If I tell you that these things are Mandatory… they are Mandatory. Maybe they were comped last time, maybe they will be this time but at the time of check in, unless I have been told otherwise, it is what it is. Please don’t argue with me. I did not come here for an argument, if I want an argument I will pay John Cleese for one. BTW if you don’t get that reference, shame on you.

The Security Deposit/Hold: Most places tell the guest that the security deposit will be returned somewhere between 3-10 business days. some 3-5 days. That means exactly what it means. Do not call the hotel the day after you check out looking for your deposit. Don’t call on Sunday when you checked out on Friday. It isn’t happening. Oh, and we are not holding your deposit for 10 days collecting interest on your money and purposely keeping it from you. We send it back to your financial institution the day you check out. They have to process the transaction. That is the delay.

I already paid the security deposit and resort fee when I booked the room… No, you didn’t. Whether you booked it through a 3rd party or the hotel. When you make a reservation you are paying to guarantee you will have a room. That is it. When you arrive at the hotel you pay the resort fee because you will be using the resort and you pay the security deposit because you will be using the room.  Every day I get people wasting time showing me online bank accounts with withdrawals from 3rd party sites showing me what they paid. One, that isn’t proof of what fees you paid because we don’t even know most of the time what they charged you for the room. Two, if for some reason, and I have never seen it, they did charge you the resort fee, I still need to collect it because they aren’t allowed to collect it. Go after them for overcharging you.

Ok, now for the lighter stuff…

When I stayed at the Bellagio, Wynn, Cosmo, etc. I was allowed to do this or I had this in my room… That is so interesting. You know when I lived in my last house, I had a huge backyard and it was a two story house. The place I live now doesn’t have those. If a huge backyard was a very important thing to me I would be in that house or a place that had a big backyard. If you want what you had at Bellagio, stay at the Bellagio. As a side note, wouldn’t Vegas be boring if every hotel was the Bellagio. I mean, I love the fountains and the conservatory but variety is the spice of life.

I stayed here a few months ago on a Tuesday, why is the rate 3x higher tonight? Well, there are a few possible reasons for that. It could be that it is Saturday night. It could be that there is a major convention going on and when available rooms are limited we raise our rates. It could be that we have it in for you, we really don’t like you but we know you pay anything just to stay here, btw your rate just doubled again. We are going to need you to sign your over to us.

The wholesale company told me different than what you are saying. They lied, they all lie, trust in me, I am the only one who will ever tell you the truth. I mean, they even told you that this hotel was in Las Vegas. You are actually in Des Moines, Iowa.

Is the parking garage safe? Can I trust the valets to not damage my car? I can honestly say that my car has never been damaged or broken into while in the garage and none of the valets have ever done anything wrong to my car. If you would like extra special care taken, you have two options. One, sleep in your car. Two, for $20/hr I will personally sit in your car and make sure nothing happens. Throw in a tip and I will get it washed for you.

I don’t like smoke. Is there a place that is non-smoking? Absolutely, if you go through those doors you will be outside. Have fun. If you don’t want to go outside, you do have the option of staying in your room. Welcome to Las Vegas.

I don’t like crowds. Is there a place where I can avoid them? Two options that are easily available. Your room, unless you are staying with 10 people or driving out to the desert. Less people, more snakes.  Welcome to Las Vegas.

What machines pay off the most? This I actually a question where I can give a real answer. I have spent decades researching all the machines in almost every casino in Vegas. Now don’t spread this around to everyone. This is just for the VegasHC family. This machine is in every casino and it has paid out every time I play it. It’s not much on graphics though. It is called an ATM. Thank me later.

Any upgrades, sexy? Ok, so… thank you for the thinly veiled compliment. A few things might make this more effective. You are 22 and I am, well not 22 and I can pretty much see through this. It also doesn’t work too well when I see your boyfriend 10 feet away glaring at you. Also, I am wearing a wedding ring and I am pretty sure you aren’t my wife so just stop. If my wife is reading this, you get all the free upgrades you want and yes, I know you think I am one sexy… shut your mouth.

I’m bored, any suggestions? I have actually never answered that question. I have answered their follow up question.

Why did you slap me? Because I just had to see if you were, in fact, actually alive. Now that I know you are, turn around walk away from the desk and literally do anything but talk to me. Have a nice day!!!


 

Thanks for reading, everyone. I am sorry there haven’t been more posts but my guests have for some reason… been rather normal over the last few weeks. I know, I am scared too. I am starting to have faith in humanity again.

Twitter: VegasHC

 

 

 

 

I’m with the band

I’ve talked a lot about the check in process and how simple it can be and how difficult it can be… if you don’t make it simple.

  • Make the reservation in the name of the person checking in.
  • Add anyone else’s name to the reservation if they are staying in the room.
  • Have your identification and method of payment with you when you check in.

Seriously, that is it. The only other reason we have problems at check in is they don’t read their confirmation about deposits or resort fees. That covers about 98% of it yet, 1 in 15-20 check ins have a problem.

The other 2%? Add an enormous ego to the above.


I do my best to try to not judge people but people with overblown egos tend to get on my nerves. Now there is a difference between confidence and ego. It can be subtle but it is there. The difference is knowledge and wisdom. Back up your ego and it is confidence. Spew crap and it is ego. The person with the big ego also tends to feel that the rules don’t apply to them. Enter Ricky Rocker, band manager and incoming guest.

 

RR: I have three rooms, I need to get my people in those rooms now.

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

RR: (hands me the two cards)

ME: Ok, I have one reservation under your name. Who are the other rooms under?

RR: That would be the guitarist Rick Fender and the drummer Bill Highhat.

Me: I will need them to come up to the desk with their ID so I can check them in after I check you in.

RR: Yeah, that is impossible, they aren’t here. They will be here in 2 hours.

Me: I won’t be able to check them in until then, unless you call the wholesaler and have them change the names on the reservations.

RR: Yeah, that isn’t going to happen. See, I am the manager, I made the reservations. I am checking into the rooms.

Me: Our policy is that you have to be the person checking into the room with valid ID and credit card.

RR: Listen, this isn’t my first rodeo here. I have been to 40 hotels and they always let me do this. You don’t want to do this, dude. This is going to ruin you. We are important in this town and we need sleep to have a gig tomorrow in Cali.

(ok, side note, this is a Saturday night. It is 10pm, two of the 4 band members are here with the band manager. The other two are driving from somewhere. So, if you are a big thing in the town, my town, why didn’t you have a show on a Saturday night and why is your show in California on Sunday night. You know what bands play on Sunday and not Saturday… bands that aren’t big.)

Me: Sir, the only thing that is going to “ruin me” is not following hotel policy and checking you into three rooms and only one of them is in your name. As I said, if you call the wholesaler and have…

RR: You’re pretty new at this, right? You are not listening to me. Check me into the rooms.

Me: Sir, I can’t ch…

RR: Oh you can, you just won’t because you think you are some big shit right now. What you don’t like how we are dressed or is the music too loud for you?

Me: I don’t even know who your band is or what type of music it is? These are the rules.

RR: We have to be on the road in 5 hours. Just get this done.

Me: Ok, fine. I will break policy and risk getting fired and check you into the two rooms that are not in your name.

RR: Finally!

Me: but I can’t check you into your room that is in your name.

RR: What do you mean? It’s in my name!

Me: Yeah, you see there is a problem with that. An hour ago, a guy came up to the front desk and said he had booked a room in your name and didn’t have your ID or a credit card in your name but he harassed me for 10 minutes and just like now I gave in and gave him your room even though just like you, he had no proof to the room.

RR: Oh, you are some smart ass.

Me: That is the first thing we agree on, sir. So do you want to call the wholesaler and change the reservations or just check into your room.

RR: Let me speak to your manager.

Me: Sure, she is the lady that has been standing next to us for the last 10 minutes.

Mgr: Sir, my employee is correct in stating our policy. .Would you like to check in to that room now?

RR: This sucks, man. Never staying here again.

Me: and that is your prerogative, sir.


 

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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)

 

 

 

It’s all relative

I understand the concept of asking for help when you are not sure of how things work. In fact, I applaud people who ask for directions and realize their limitations but at some point in life you need to be able to do things yourself. Lately, there as been a rash of problems with another person making a reservation for the person that is checking into the hotel. I also want to mention that these guests weren’t kids checking into a hotel for the first time. These are all people who are at minimum 30 years old up to 50 years old. This shouldn’t be their first rodeo.



Guest: My name is John Doe, I have a reservation.

Me: Yes sir, I will need identification and credit card.

JD: (hands me the cards) My brother booked it for me. He used website.com

Me: I don’t seem to be able to find the reservation. Do you have a confirmation?

JD: Yes, here it is. (hands me his phone that has an email opened.)

Me: Sir, this shows that the reservation is for Steve Doe.

JD: Yes, that is my brother.

Me: Is he here?

JD: No, he is in California. It’s a reservation for me, he just made the reservation.

Me: and he made the reservation in his name. I can’t check you in.

JD: but I need a room.

Me: Call your brother and have him contact website.com and change the name of the reservation and then I can check you in.

JD: Can’t you do that for me?

Me: No… no I can’t do that.


Guest: My wife made a reservation for me.

Me: Yes sir, I just need your identification and credit card. (hands me the information). Sir, your reservation is for tomorrow not today.

Guest: No, she made it for today.

Me: Do you have a confirmation e-mail that shows the dates of the reservation?

(he hands me the paperwork for the reservation.)

Me: See right here. It says the check-in date is the 13th. This is the 12th.

Guest: So, what do I do now?

Me: Well, you have two options. You can book a room through me tonight but the rate is going to be $XXX or you can call website.com and have them change the dates of the reservation and that should be a little cheaper.

Guest: Ok, I will call.

(guest comes back in 5 minutes and hands me his phone. This is a little strange since the wholesaler usually calls our hotel phone line.)

Me: Hello, this is HC at the front desk.

Phone: Hi. this is the wife. My husband said I need to talk to you.

Me: No ma’am, I told your husband to call the company you booked the room with to change the dates of the reservation.

Phone: why does the date need to be changed?

Me: You booked the room for tomorrow.

Phone: ok, so fix it.

Me: I can’t, you used a wholesaler to book the room. He needs to call them. That’s what I told him to do.

Phone: but he is staying at your hotel?

(I love having to explain things twice. I tell her the same thing I told the husband and hand the phone back to the husband. He eventually checked back in but it was 2 hours later. I have no idea who eventually called the wholesaler but when he came back he was pissed because he had to pay and extra $35 for the room because I wouldn’t check him in. He didn’t even clue into the fact that the rate for tonight was different than tomorrow.)


Guest: (50 year old man, hands me the identification and credit card.) I have a reservation for 2 nights.

Me: Thank you, sir. Yes, I see that you have a room with a king bed for 2 nights. (I enter the guest’s information and go to swipe the credit card.) Sir, who is Susan King?

Guest: That’s my mother, she made the reservation.

Me: Is she here?

Guest: No.

Me: When will she be arriving?

Guest: She isn’t. She is in Ohio. (I want to point out that his driver’s license is from Arizona.)

Me: Well, this is her credit card.

Guest: Yes, she lets me use it.

Me: Sir, I can’t check you in using her card. I have to have a card with your name on it.

Guest: I don’t have a card.

Me: Do you have a debit card?

Guest: No, I don’t have a bank account.

Me: Sir, you need to have a card with your name on it to check into the hotel for the security deposit.

Guest: Well can I call her and have her talk to you?

Me: No sir, she needs to be here in person.

Guest: I can Face Time or Skype her for you so you can see her.

Me: Um, sir that won’t work. You need to have a card or have someone here with you with a valid ID and credit or debit card.

Guest: but I have a reservation?

Me: Yes, and the reservation says you need a valid credit card to check in.

Guest: and I have one.

(apparently we need to change the wording on our confirmations to say a credit card in your name because of… well, stupid people.)

Me: I am sorry, sir. I can’t check you in. Perhaps you can try and find a hotel that accepts a cash deposit. I can cancel the reservation and refund your room deposit to your mother’s card.


 

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