Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome to the WTF?

I guess Welcome to the Parker, the new show on Bravo, is like working at a real hotel. The show is getting better. All I know is some of the things you wouldn't think would really happen at a hotel of that caliber actually are the most true.

My favorite so far is there is a bellman/reception dude that leads a high-end travel agent (and her girlfriends which is totally believable that someone would cash in on every freebie they could get) who is checking out the hotel in order to sell is, this guy, he takes them to the wrong building and has major issues finding their room! I've seen that happen in a regular old rectangular hotel! My last hotel had no room #911 for telephone mishaps so it was renamed #920, right there between 909 and 913.

What's bullshit is in another scene, after exclaiming that she didn't know how to get back) this Travel Agent is made to wait for 30 minutes in the lobby for a Sales Manager to give her a tour. Fire that person please. But then hilariously true is that the Sales Manager walks in on not one but two occupied rooms! It really shouldn't happen. People get pissed about that kind of thing. The Travel Agent is like "Shit!" That's pretty mcuh the reaction.

So the Sales Manager decides to send her an amenity after other certain things go wrong for the TA. Now she decides to send an amenity? How about at check in, fuckin idiots.

Amenties are like the cool thing to do at a hotel, btw. I mean for us normal people that aren't used to spending $100 on a bottle of Moet. They are annoying because you have to coordinate the kitchen with front desk to make sure to deliver it after the room is ready (we never say clean or dirty, it's ready or not available) but before the guest arrives. It's more complicated than it should be. But the point is, high-end hotels who want to impress send their VIP's (as Miss TA was classified by the GM) amenties!

Oh, I'm not going to go on. But I will keep watching and commenting because it is entertaining. Damn producers stole my idea!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Anger Issues

I have all these stories in my head, but I have been having some problems actually writing them lately. I find that all I want to do is bitch, but I guess I can write whatever I want.
Here are some things I've been wanting to bitch about:


I assume this goes in a lot of businesses, but I just never realized how rampant they are in hotels.
Example: hotel issues gift certificates

I have become in charge at my new job to print out all the gift certificate requests from my superiors. They get asked say from a charity or something and we send them a free one night stay for promotional purposes. HOWEVER when it comes time for someone to actually redeem the stupid thing I am also in charge of deciding to accept it. The thing is, simply put, hotels make a report of the Average Daily Rate (ADR) every night. There is a goal to make it as high as possible. Having a zero rate on one room will severely hamper that goal, it's simple math. SO I am only really allowed to accept a gift certificate on nights where we are not sold out because if we are we know we are going to sell the last few rooms for thousands of dollars (exaggeration).
What I don't like is that I have to be the one to tell these poor people that even if we have a room for them, sorry, your gift certificate is no good. Oh the fights I've had.


I could not believe my last hotel really did this. They issued PR statements that our such-and-such company was doing a really cool package for say kids and grandparents or something. For a certain rate you would get a bunch of amenities like popcorn, a movie, maybe a camera, whatever. So then, as any normal person would think, someone buys the package. When it comes time for the hotel to check them in, uh, we don't have the amenties to give them or the front desk agent has no idea what the stupid thing even is. The whole point was that the hotel said we were selling somthing just to make us look good and then forgot to tell the agents about it. Of course, a bellman or concierge is sent to the local store to go buy the stuff and the grandparents get a bit upset for having any kind of frustration. Understandably so.

Anyway, I like to complain about how hotels are run sometimes but what gets me the most on our end is communication or lack thereof. Is it really that difficult for departments to communicate? Even when we do get things said to the right person it's constantly a guessing game that the person will follow up. It's really hard to find good help especially for manual labor and for operations. For every 5 front desk agents hired maybe one will turn out to give fuck about their job. Why? Because they are 19 and still in school and who wants to be bitched out 8 hours a day because every single guest inevitably has some issue?

No hotels are run perfectly. I have worked for like 5 different ones and it just doesn't matter. Certain ones are better at others in different areas. People have expectations because the farther we get away from 9/11 the more we charge for a room. If you are trying to stay in a major city, you are paying something pretty significant for a room, probably paying for parking, and definitely you are expected to tip on top of the gratuites already charged to you for something like room service.

What hotels love are business travelers. All they want is a good bed, free internet, and some coffee. If you are someone just traveling through, and we know we are most likely never going to see you again, and God forbid you're like the 100th person that day that booked third party (Expedia anyone?) you may not get a very happy front desk agent (reminding you, he's like 20 and in college for something else and not getting paid extra to be nice to you and probably already put his two weeks in) expect what you paid for. That's the bottom line.

See how bitchy I feel lately? BUT, hotels suck you in. I love my discounts and being able to travel cheaply and I love that at least now I don't deal with the general public much.

I will leave you with this little anecdote:

My boyfriend got a complaint that some lady was upset that her newspaper was dirty. Who complains about that? Well, complainers do.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fightin' Round the World

All right. So I decided I'm just going to spill it. I've already told plenty of people anyway so it's only right that I confess just how much I dislike Russell Crowe.

Don't get me wrong. I love Gladiator just like anybody else. He's a good actor. But he's a dick, plain and simple.

One of the first people I met at my new hotel job where I worked for almost 5 years was a blonde girl with big boobs and a big heart. She is now one of my very best friends, and I live with her currently in my new city. She is one the nicest people ever and everybody loves her. She's great at her job and when I first started she was a supervisor and eventually was promoted to run the front office. She and I have lots of stories together regarding guests, good and bad, but this was by far the worst.

One Sunday I came into work expecting to have an easy day as Sundays usually were. You get a shitload checkouts (which means a shitload of complaints), but very few checkins normally. What I didn't realize was that Russell Crowe's band who was playing a few shows nearby that week (you know the one) had a large following, some of the most pathetic type of fans I'd ever seen. For four straight hours I "dealt" these ladies who were trying to check in but because it was well before checkin time and not everybody had checked out yet, and we certainly hadn't cleaned all the rooms yet, plus the linen wasn't ready, and everybody arrived at once, well it was a bit of a mess. The most frustrating part was that it turns out these ladies were sleeping four to a room. That's not the frustrating part. They didn't even know each other! They had met on the internet through some fan club website and decided to split a room. I'm not sure when the last time these people traveled, but some were literally wearing housecoats if that gives you any idea.
Because his band was playing so nearby to our hotel of course these ladies wanted to know if HE was staying with us. I knew he was, but it is (for future reference) illegal for me to give any information about any guest. I only tell this story now because after that day he made it pretty fucking clear he was staying there.

This guy decides to flaunt that he's staying at my hotel. He makes it no secret whatsoever what room staying he's in, and my coworkers and I spend the next day fighting with the ladies that 'no, they cannot not move to his floor to be nearer to him.' One lady even made a shrine of the Australian fuck on her hotel door which we made her remove. Not only that, but pretty quickly these freaks are not getting along. Imagine that! They're kicking each other out of their rooms and people are crying everywhere. But the show they exclaim is amazing. They can't wait to go the one tomorrow!

So us hotel people are looking forward to the day these people are going to check out. Oh no! Russell has added two more shows at the end of the week! Did the fact that they had flights to catch deter them from staying? Yeah, right. In one instance one lady asked me to make a reservation for the end of the week. She was still going to fly home BUT Russell had asked her personally to come back and so she was. I totally believed her too because here he was prancing around and loving the attention. Why wouldn't he ask his fans to spend thousands of dollars on last minute flights and hotel reservations to see him?

Here's where he goes over the top. Every night after his show he makes the venue cater to him hours after the show has ended when they are basically closed. Sources tell me he was getting wasted every night. This is around the time his wife is pregnant with their first child. He did call her everyday at least, as I could tell by his bill. (How tempted was I to sell that phone number!)

So one night (assumingly the venue got sick of him and shut him down) he decides he's going to have our hotel host his little after-party. My friend happened to be the overnight manager that night. When he stumbles back to the hotel he demands 25 hamburgers (for like 4 people), a bottle of Jack and a case of Coronas. The thing is, it was well after the legal time to sell liquor. She had to make a decision. Piss off an A-list actor or piss off the Bar manager who would fear losing his liquor license. What would you do? Well, the other problem she had was that she couldn't get to the locked-up cold beer. She could only find some warm beer, so she iced it down as best she could and hoped it was cold enough. She went up with the room service server as a good manager should to deliver everything.

Russell Crowe took one long sip of beer and looked at her in disgust. "Congratulations on getting the hamburgers up here, but this beer tastes like piss! You can forget the $100 I was going to tip."

Little did he know she wouldn't have gotten the tip, he only screwed our server.

6 months later Russell Crowe threw a phone a New York hotel concierge. The concierge sued and won. Good for him.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

My elevator story

Every hotel I have worked at has had an elevator. Even my little Travelodge by the highway with 3 floors had an elevator. People, maintaining these things are a bitch. But not as messed up as maintaining swimming pools. (I'll leave those stories for another post.)

But elevators are necessary so of course the hotel pays a small fortune for elevator repairmen to do maintenance, keep it currently certified, and fix them when they break down. And they always break down.

My last hotel, my funky urban hotel, had 5 elevators. Four were for guests and one for us employees. I always hate the service elevator by the way. Think about it, garbage and food getting transported by the same elevator? Ew. (Don't worry, soiled linens have a chute and do not go anywhere but straight to the laundry. Along with all the lost teddy bears, nightgowns, underwear, and other stuff that people leave in their beds. Oops.)

So I'll get to the point. Most of the time elevators stop working, people are in them. If it's a busy weekend and one malfunctions, well, what are the odds? Of course the hotel always comps them and kisses their ass, whatever has to be done, because for those claustrophobes (and opportunists) it can be a bit of a nightmare for the hotel. But honestly, us hotel workers are rolling our eyes, like, not again.

(Elevators are mostly on lifts these days, so it's not like Speed where the cable's going to snap and everybody goes crashing down. That would suck.)

So when I got stuck in an elevator on vacation I just sat down and hung out. I was at a sister property, I was by myself and felt pretty safe, just annoyed because the bar wasn't going to be open too much longer.

Well, half an hour went by. This elevator is covered in mirrors so it's hard not to pose and make weird faces. The hotel kept in contact with me telling me finally that they had to call the fire department and they were on their way.

When they arrived I realized that they were coming in through the roof. I was going to get rescued movie star style! So some hot sexy fireman (I assumed) sent a ladder down and one climbed down so he could hold it steady. For a brief moment I panicked. Not because of the ladder per se, but I was wearing a dress! I scurried up and two firemen helped me cross from the roof and climb out the shaft. A security lady started apologizing profusely.

I said, "I'm OK. Is the bar still open?"

She laughs, "Oh, I knew you were all right. We had you on camera. We'll keep the bar open a little longer for you."


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tip your bellman please

I've only worked at hotels for a million years and I am just now finding out how bellman make their money. Obviously people tip them. But I'm talking about the money that keeps them doing the bellman/doorman thing for life.

I always wondered about my last Bell Captain. He had like a family of five to feed, and I never saw him actually escort guests to or from their room. Yeah, he'd do stuff like check bags or whatever. He wasn't lazy or anything like that. He just delegated.

So how the hell do you feed all these mouths on $15/hour and a random $2 tip?
I was talking to an old friend who used to be a bellman and a doorman and who just got a new job as a bell captain and what do you know? Bellman get paid to do just about everything. If the front desk has to move a guest for any reason and the bellman has to bring new keys, the hotel is paying them to do that! Not all hotels, but the big ones do.

Another way they make cash is by porterage charges. This one I knew. If a couple who is getting married has their people stay at a hotel, and they want to have some gift bags delivered (and your damn right that if there any "extra" gift bags the hotel workers will distribute them amongst themselves unless they're lame bags filled with bottles of sparkling cider as opposed to champagne) there is a charge per bag for the bellman to deliver them. Or if a big tourist group that's coming in on a bus or something, and they are going to have 100 pieces of luggage, the bellman will get so much per bag to deliver. That makes sense, right? What doesn't make sense is that my friend who now works at this huge hotel said that last year the biggest delivery charge was $19,000. American money! Who has almost 20 grand laying around just to pay bellman???

Anyway, the other way they make their living is to basically extort it. My friend paid for his promotion at our last place! Bellman make good money but doormen make a shitload! When someone drives a flashy car they are not going to have it parked where no one can see it. That's ludicrous! They are going to pay the doorman to "leave it up front." That's easily understood I guess. But to get that job someone basically has to die or get fired. When my friend saw his opportunity for the doorman job he paid our Bell Captain $200 to get the job! Yeah, I know! Was my friend upset? No. Did my Bell Captain take his family out to Red Lobster that night? Probably.

But this does mean that you should not tip! They make like $5/hour like a server. No tips, no rent getting paid, and then they will have to resort to robbing people. And it will be your fault.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just a heads up

Do you ever wonder what happens to your car when you valet it?

Sometimes the company has to park it a few blocks away. Sometimes they "leave it up front" for a little while maybe as a coutesy, which should be highly tipped for, or maybe cause they're being lazy.

Sometimes these guys get you a damn parking ticket and don't say a word.

Also, the guys they've got parking cars are either young or foreign. If there is a new scratch or dent, it probably was them. If your change is missing or worse, well...

But the worst things that can happen sometimes do. The following things have happened:

- a car got backed into a building.

-keys were left in the ignition of a very expensive automobile, car stolen.

-two indentical rental cars were given to the wrong people.

-a set of keys was left in a car that had already headed home. The driver was four hours away before he realized. Mucho money was paid out.

So I'm just sayin, if you must valet, for the love of God, keep a spare set of keys on you, have car insurance, and don't leave valuables in your car.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The rat, the girl, and the hallway

My new job doesn't allow for nearly enough free time to browse the internet let alone blog about hotels. It's a shame because I often experience things that remind me of my past hotel life. Without getting into too much detail I am working for the same company that I worked for 5 years ago, but I'm getting some of the exact same guests I got for the past 4.5 years. (I know that doesn't make much sense.)

So I will be getting into some celeb stories soon, believe me I dying to tell, but I am just being careful and thinking about how I'm going to publish them without getting anyone pissed off.

For now, you can take a little journey with me as I recall cornering a rat.

I mentioned my boyfriend is a hotel person? I think so. We got to live at his new resort, the same one where the drunk couple stole a golf cart and got arrested for a DUI.
So this same resort is kinda in the middle of nowhere. I was enjoying my last few days of hanging by the pool and using the sauna. I was walking down the hall when I pass a couple who mentioned there was a rat, not a mouse, in the hall. They were so blase that it took me a minute to register. I walked a bit farther and sure enough a rat, not a mouse, was sniffing around. This is by no means a dirty hotel. I jogged towards it to grab the nearest house phone and call my friend, who was the manager at the time, to let them know. The rat, not a mouse, ran away from me and I realized I could just keep walking towards it until it dead ended. I did that, and this is a very long hallway might I add, and it found a way into the game room. I just stood there in the doorway with a threatening look on my face. At no point did I think I had the option to just walk away. Nobody besides that first couple was witnessing this. It was just me and the rat, you know? He was scared of me. I just felt bad because I knew he got in by accident and we both sensed his ultimate demise.

I didn't wait around while the guys who came decided what to do. I had done my part. I had kept the hotel from comping a shit load of people.