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.