Guest questions

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

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

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


What time can I get for late check out?

Our late check out is time is noon

Twelve noon?

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


When is the end of the day?

Um, midnight.

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

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


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

No you can check out at anytime before 11.

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


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

Yes, we have a 24 hour restaurant on site.

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

Yes it will be.

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


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

We are open 24 hours a day.

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

Yes.

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


 

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

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

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

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

– Belldesk/Concierge etiquette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WSVHCD?

Did you miss me?

Sometimes you hit a perfect storm of events.

  1. Personal life gets in the way.
  2. there was actually a 10 day span of work where nothing weird happened at all.

 

The 2nd point got me thinking. Is there going to be a time when all the stories will just start repeating themselves? How many people will be unique enough in their drunkeness, complaining, self absorbed ways to keep this going in the long term with 1-2 posts per week?

Originally, I didn’t even think a blog was possible because I didn’t even think I could come up with more than 10-12 stories and then things started to steamroll. It was like I hit the jackpot on weird guests. Now, I am in a drought. I have a few stories that we will get to later this week but I want to know from you, the readership, is there anything else you want here?

We have done some Top 5’s and some reviews. Tackled some questions, which I will continue to do. I have talked more than enough on the $20 trick and resort fee headaches. So what should Vegas Hotel Confidential do (WSVCHD)?

I’m open to suggestion

  • news and opinion pieces
  • more top 5’s
  • more reviews
  • happy just waiting for the next story
  • anything else?

 

 

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.

Q & A Time

Thanks for all the questions. I hope that I haven’t missed any of the questions. Hopefully we can do this every so often.

 

How often do bed bugs happen? Would they have to close down the hotel?

I did not see the video that you mentioned but yes, bed bugs do happen. They have been around for centuries. There has been a resurgence over the last half century probably due to developing a resistance to pesticides and more international travel. I would say that in my experience we see them maybe once every two to three months. We do not close down the hotel. That would be a financial disaster and really not needed. We close off the room and if the rooms around are not rented we will put them out of order. If they are rented we wait until they are vacated. Most times we haven’t had them spread to the next room but to be safe the exterminator will spray all surrounding rooms just in case.

Have you ever snuck up and took a nap in a room?

No and it really never crossed my mind. However, I have known of an employee that did and they were fired. If you ever think you aren’t being watched in a Las Vegas resort, you are. I had security follow me into an employee only area because I wasn’t wearing my ID and the new surveillance guy didn’t recognize me.

Have you ever hooked up with a customer?

No, I am married and committed to her solely. Have I witnessed it? Yes. Have I been approached? Yes. Is it a bad decision? Yes. We have some guidelines and written and unwritten rules depending on the hotel. It can just get real messy. Something that should be avoided.

Have I took home baby shampoo?

I am going to assume that means, have I taken home hotel property?  I have occasionally used hand moisturizer and sometimes a pen or pad make it into my pocket but stealing is against the law and I am not going to risk my job over some trinkets. If you get a bad name in the hotel/casino business it is hard to get another job.

Do I get free rooms?

Depending on the hotel, you may not even be able to stay in the hotel you work in. I have never been able to get free rooms. Best I can usually get is casino rate. Personally, I like where I live. I don’t see the need to stay in a hotel in Las Vegas. I spend the night on the town and make sure I am sober enough to drive home or have a designated driver.

How does the $20 trick really work and is it as successful as it was before?

I have discussed this before and it is really my least favorite question. Please read my blog, “Dealing with the Front Desk”.  In summary, know what you are asking for as an upgrade, tip for service not for expectation, have realistic expectations and if you want something specific just book it.

Am I less likely to be offered upgrade options if I’m staying for a longer period versus a shorter stay?

Depends on the upgrade and what kind of player you are. Strip view, corner room, near elevator, away from the elevator are easy ones and can be accommodated on longer stays. Want a presidential suite for a week… probably not unless you are a diamond player or we are really slow for the week. Easiest way to get an upgrade, book on a busy time for a cheap room for a few days. Hope that room type is overbooked, we have to put you somewhere and usually it will be an upgrade.

Do celebrities really use fake names when they check in or are they using VIP check in to avoid people?

I have checked in celebrities or famous people and they have used their real names but they are NRG (non registered guest), we don’t tell anyone they are there. Most of the time, their manager and our manager or VIP host have an agreement and they pick up the keys from the office and go to the room. I can’t say that I have checked in any A listers but I have interacted with various forms of famous people and haven’t encountered too many that are pains.

Has your property ever oversold like United, if so what happens?

Yes, we oversell as much as we can within reason and depending on what is going on in town. Very rarely will everyone actually show up. Plans change, deposits get declined, a lot of times, comp rooms no show. On the rare occasion that we oversell and everyone shows up, the left over guest will get “walked”. That means we find alternate arrangements with a sister hotel or another hotel of similar or better rating. We do our best not to move a guest to a lower property. We cover their bill and usually give them some sort of bonus like a food comp or some free play. This happens more in other cities because we do our best to control that situation.

Are courteous  guests likely to get upgrades/comps when available or is it only people who spend tons of cash?

If you are dealing with me and want a comp or upgrade you better be courteous and nice or “you ain’t getting shit!” I will put up with stuck up and entitled guests but you aren’t getting the upgrade or anything from me unless management is telling me to do it. Being nice and interacting with me is a great way to get something if I can do something.

Any really big room bills you have seen from the mini bar or room service?

The people that abuse things like that are usually the guests that are getting comped, in my experience. Then again, I haven’t worked at a 5 star place in Las Vegas either. I did see a couple come in for 2 nights and get $400 in food comps and go over by $200 before they even checked out.

How much harder has it gotten to be you since the advent of the “Third-Party” reservation system? I hate all of them and don’t understand why they are even allowed at some of the better hotels.

Ok, the wholesalers… as an assistance to the hotel, itself is a good thing. To the hotel clerk, it is a bit of a pain.

Most hotels use the wholesalers so that they can save money on paying employees to take reservations and it is easier advertising and comparison shopping with other hotels. So it has value. The hotel saves money and the guest saves money. Btw, the dozens of different sites are primarily owned by the same few companies. Go to hotels.com or expedia.com and you are paying the same company.

Where is goes wrong for us and makes things difficult. A lot of times the wholesaler doesn’t openly display the resort fee, security deposit or other extras as well as they should. They just want the money and don’t care about the check in (my opinion). They also don’t always send us the right information which causes delays at check in. Finally, book through a wholesaler and we can’t change that reservation at all. You have a change, call the wholesaler and then they will contact us to change the reservation.

Ever shown up at a hotel andt hey didn’t have your reservation? I bet you booked with a wholesaler. You see, they have to upload it into our system or send some sort of communication to us for our reservation department to add it (depends on the hotel setup).


I enjoyed getting these questions and answering them. I hope I didn’t miss any.

Thanks again for reading. Your support means a lot.

 

 

3…2…1… Rant!

Ok, I know you come here for some sarcasm, some funny stuff and a review or two but sometimes you are going to get a rant. It is just my personality. I get pissed by things just like anyone else and if I don’t spew it out I will probably end up with a permanent tick 🙂 So today you get to read a couple rants.

Credit vs. Debit… there is a difference

Most hotels require a security deposit on either a debit card or a credit card. Sometimes, there is a difference in the amount based on the card and length of stay. The reason for this is that access to funds in case of damage is different based on the card. The debit card is usually charged more because there is more restricted access to funds.

I get this situation a lot. A guest presents a debit card and there isn’t enough money on the card for the deposit. They tell me to run it as a credit card because the card is both a credit and debit card.

No it isn’t.

If your card says debit on it, then it is a debit card. You can only access what is in your account. A credit card has access to a credit line. Please don’t tell me that it will work if I run it as credit. It would only work because the credit hold is lower than the debit deposit.

Now I am going to get real simple here, in case of confusion.

You check into a hotel for 3 nights. Their policy is $100 credit hold or $100 per day deposit on a debit card. You have $200 on your debit card. You don’t have the debit deposit… you do have enough for a credit hold but we can’t run it as a credit because it isn’t a credit card. Yes, if we ran the $100 it would approve but that is because of the $100 amount not that it is also a credit card. A debit card is a debit card, not both.

A little side note. If you book with a wholesaler you have not paid the security deposit or the resort fee. Please don’t argue with me about how you have paid for everything already. They can’t charge you for either because they are only charged if you actually stay at the hotel so that is why you pay at the hotel.

Another side note, when we say it takes 3-10 days for the deposit to go back on your card, we are not holding your money. We release the deposit the day you check out. It goes back to the bank or credit company at that point and they have to release it back to you. That is the delay.


 

I know there is a big divide in whether you should bring kids to Las Vegas.  I see both sides of the argument. Please don’t tell me that kids don’t belong in Las Vegas, there are plenty of things to do with kids. There are also a lot of activities to not do with kids.

I get really bothered by kids being dragged around at 1am when they are tired and cranky. Kids need sleep, let them get some. Also, Fremont at night with g-string/pastie wearing street performers is not a place for a 7 year old.  Now, I love seeing kids look at the lights of the strip and seeing them on top of the Eiffel Tower. That is cool stuff. There is however one place that they definitely don’t belong… the casino.

There are many reasons to come to Las Vegas but if you are bringing kids, it is not a gambling trip. Do not lock your kids up in the hotel room so you can go gamble. It is selfish and not the right thing to do.

I have seen kids come down to the front desk looking for mommy and daddy because they are hungry or miss them. Not cool. I have seen kids standing over by a gift shop within 20 feet of the parents but the parents aren’t paying attention. They are too busy trying to hit a bonus on a slot machine. I have seen those same kids walk away from the store only to be stopped by security and have to find their parents.

If gambling is your goal in Vegas, don’t take the kids. If you bring the kids and can’t avoid the blackjack table or slot machine then you have a bigger problem than you think. You are an addict and a bad parent. Get help!

I always look for the best in people and give them the benefit of the doubt but that goes away fast when dealing with parents. Kids in Vegas are not a problem, the parents of those kids are, when they forget that they are parents.

The Vegas HC Top 5 – Part 3

I had a request for Top 5 Las Vegas beers earlier this week and thought I would tie that into a Top 5 bars on Fremont Street. I hope you enjoy.

Top 5 (non-IPA) Las Vegas Beers

I am saying non-IPA because I just don’t care for IPA’s. I have, however, talked with my IPA loving friend and have a only IPA list right below.

  1. Big Baby Porter from Bad Beat Brewery
  2. Watchdog Wit  from Big Dog Draft House
  3. Passion Fruit & Guava Berliner Weiss from Joseph James Brewery
  4. Firedog Smoked Wheat from Big Dog Draft House
  5. Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout by Joseph James Brewery

There are some great beers that I haven’t listed from other Las Vegas beer makers like Lovelady Brewery, Banger Brewery, Tenaya Creek and CraftHaus.

 

Top 5 IPA Las Vegas Beers

  1. Any Which Way Double IPA by CraftHaus
  2. Hopatomic by Lovelady Brewing
  3. Peace, Love & Hoppyness by Big Dog Draft House
  4. Hoppy Times by Bad Beat Brewing
  5. War Dog Double IPA by Big Dog Draft House

 

Top 5 Bars on Fremont St.

A little disclaimer. I am not a big fan of hip hop or oontz oontz clubs, when I say bars I mean a bar that you can sit and have a great beer or cocktail, have a little atmosphere and some people watching.

  1. Nacho Daddy – Yes, technically it is off Fremont but the bar staff here are incredible, the drinks are great and the food is delicious.
  2. Don’t Tell Mama – Live entertainment, singer waitstaff, open mic every night
  3. Hennessey’s – Great bartenders and two levels of Fremont people watching, a different drink special each day.
  4. Mickie Finnz – Great people watching place with good food and fishbowl drinks that will get your whole group smashed.
  5. (tie) Whiskey Licker/ Four Queen’s Patio Bar – I placed these together because the main reason I visit either place is for the prime seating to watch the bands on Fremont. The drinks are pretty good too.

 

Thanks for the continued support and comments. My next blog is going to be based on an interaction with a casino patron as I was coming back from break. A little different from my normal front desk experiences.