Murphy’s Law

When I parked my car, I had that dreaded feeling in my gut telling me something about the night was going to be difficult. There was no desk attendant at the front desk when I walked in, and three different families were waiting to check-in. There was a note for me in front of my computer telling me she ran up to room 313 to clean it, because it was never serviced, and had a guest waiting for it. I bet she felt stressed having to deal with that. I started checking people in, and watched her run back and forth with frustration all over her face. I ignored her, let her do her thing, and kept checking people in.

One family reserved two rooms for their kids college arrival week. The first issue was that he had two identical rooms at different rates. He wanted me to change one of them to match the lower of the two rates. The rooms were reserved online, and he prepaid. Everything was locked in. I was unable to change the rate, but, the total for each room ended up being the same price for their departure dates. In the end they were actually billed the same amount for both rooms. With that settled the guests checked-in to each room and I went back to checking-in more guests.

My co-worker finally finished what she was doing, and I finally had the line of arrivals cleared, so she explained her whole ordeal to me. Apparently nobody was in the lobby when she left to deal with that room, and was surprised to see me with such a long line when she returned. I let it all slide because this kind of thing sometimes happens. We discussed all information that needed to be exchanged, or so I thought, and she went home. The hotel sold out, so my night was basically about waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive. The night was clearly going to be busy.

Everyone in the hotel has a kid going to the University, or they are here for the New York State Fair. We have nothing available for a few days. If anything were to go wrong, I would be screwed. What could possible go wrong? Frigging everything, that’s what. The family with the question about room rates returned. One of his two prepaid rooms was already occupied. He opened the door to find the latch inside the room locking the door from the inside. I checked the room status, only his name was attached to the room. My co-worker made is arrival paperwork, and room key ahead of time. All was supposed to be well. I went to the room, and tried using a screwdriver to force the lock open. That was when I could see the clothes hanging from some hangers. There was someone in the room for sure, and for whatever reason, they were ignoring the assault on the door. The guy didn’t even yell at me. I went to my desk and called that room. The man answered and claimed he rented the room the day before and had it for a few more days. That was going to take some investigating, and in the meantime I had a family with two rooms who were very unhappy with the situation. A sold out hotel means there are no rooms to put them in. I called every hotel on my call around list. Nobody would answer my calls. Not one hotel would answer. Assholes. I needed to find them a room, actually two rooms, because they weren’t going to leave their kids at one hotel, and stay at another. I offered them roll-away beds for the night, and asked them to stay in their kids room. They wanted the room they paid for. I kept calling. Nobody wanted to cooperate, and all my calls went to voicemail. I am beginning to think that Night Auditors in my area don’t actually know how to do their jobs.

I called the Manager. His resolution was for me to call the other hotels. I was going to say… “No shit, Sherlock…” but I decided to say… “Yes, I have already done that.” We decided that I would keep searching hotels, (calling assholes who refuse to answer their phones) and he was going to work on figuring out who the mystery guest was.

While dealing with that issue, a woman called from the airport. She had arranged for a shuttle to pick her and her husband up. I could see the appointment written clearly where it was supposed to be. Unfortunately our shuttle driver was not on site. I had to call her a cab. I tried that, but the driver was talking too slowly for the situation I was in. He wanted more information about the guest than I had. I offered her name and the flight. He kept pushing for me to call them back and give them his number. I explained that I had an emergency, and I was unable to stay on the line with him, and asked him to confirm if he could pick them up or not. He continued pushing for me to give them his number. I told him I had to go, and I hung up. My plan was to deal with the lady if she called back.

I still had the guests in front of me who’s room got screwed up. I laid everything out for them.

“I know this is not good for any of us. You prepaid for a room and there is someone else using it. I am very sorry this happened. We are sold out, and don’t have a room to spare for you. Other hotels in the area are also sold out. We will be removing the charges for your reservations. My only option at the moment is to offer you the roll-away beds and ask you to share the one room.”

He finally saw there was no other resolution as far as tonight, and finally agreed to stay in the one room. As far as their second night goes, we have someone checking out in the morning, and we will put them in it as soon as it is cleaned. Man, I hope so. I haven’t forgotten we are sold out tomorrow also… Life is an adventure filled with mysteries, and shit.

After deeper research, and the combined effort of both myself, and the assistant managers ability to connect to our system remotely, we discovered who the mystery guest was, and how he ended up in that room. Sort of. The man in that room was a no-show for the night before, but rented the room for a few days. He prepaid for the room through a 3rd party. (My favorite.) The hotel changed the no-show routine a few months ago. I used to check-in the people who didn’t arrive, and take payment for the room. The new way is to take payment for the first night, but let the system roll the reservation without checking it in. I did exactly that when he didn’t arrive. I even made a note for the morning attendant so she was aware just in case he showed up for tonight. He did show up for tonight. He was put in that room, and my co-worker who had the room cleaning fiasco never put him in the system as being in-house, she just put him in the room. The computer didn’t know he was there, and allowed us to make more reservations for tonight, which ended up selling us out, but really we overbooked. If I had just checked that guy into the room last night, instead of rolling it over, this entire situation would have been completely avoided. As of right now the old policy of checking in no-shows will be the policy I follow. I already confirmed it with management.

The lady looking for the shuttle called back. I apologized for the trouble, and she agreed to contact her own cab. I reimbursed her for the cab when she arrived.

The cab driver I spoke to earlier called back. He was mad at me for hanging up on him. I explained to him that I had an emergency, and I didn’t have the time to keep discussing the issue over the phone. He continued arguing with me that I was being rude and he was just trying to help me. I repeated myself, and asked him to understand. He kept wanting to push the fact that he was just trying to help me, and didn’t like my attitude. I told him I still had to deal with some stuff, and I told him to have a good night. I hung up.

The cab driver decided to pay me a personal visit. He immediately recognized me from past cab requests, saw the sweat all over my forehead, and finally realized that I was not being a jerk.

“I was gonna tell you that you’re a fucking asshole, and not to ever call me again, but from your condition it’s clear you just dealt with a huge load of shit. You have a good night.”

The cab driver walked away. I sat down. Is it cool to call in sick after I already clocked in?


3 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law

  1. We went from rolling no-shows over to checking them in. If they don’t show up by 7, the room charge is changed to a no-show charge and they are checked out, and the folios are given to the GM. So far, it seems to work much smoother.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: I’ll Take What I Can Get | Hotel Audit Journal

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