I was chatting with a group of hotel workers. We were discussing how not all hotels are the same, and they accommodate people differently depending on the location. The conversation started because I mentioned how upset guests can get when I don’t have a spare mini-fridge to put in their room. Adults can become some of the most immature people during those situations, and their ability to accept when something cannot be accomplished goes out the window. First of all, I always try to find a way to help the guest. If I cannot provide something like a mini-fridge, then I will offer to put whatever they need refrigerated, in the pantry cooler, or freezer. I can understand if that isn’t what the guest wants, but sometimes that is the best I can do, and at least I didn’t turn down the request without offering an alternate solution. One thing people often say is, “I was promised I would have one.”
My hotel never promises anything. We will explain our limited availability, and that some things are first come, first serve. This is especially problematic when the hotel is sold out. People wait until after midnight to start requesting items, like mini-fridges, and roll-away beds. When I discover that we don’t have any more to offer, that’s when the guest usually gets mad. They are also usually drunk by then, which doesn’t help them act like mature adults. Some people get it. I don’t mean to imply that all guests are assholes. Only the assholes are assholes.
If a guest, makes a request at the time of booking, then the person making the reservation will include a special request on the reservation, informing whoever is working that the guest made a request. The guest should have been told we can’t guarantee the request can be fulfilled, but it’s most likely that they will get what they asked for because we would have made that a priority, especially if the guest is a frequent guest, and a top level rewards member. If I get a call from a room after midnight, and they tell me they were promised something, but still haven’t received it, I check their reservation. If I don’t see a message added to the reservation, then they probably never made the request in the first place. Either way, by then there isn’t very much I can do to help them, other than offering them an alternative. Sometimes all I can offer is some extra sheets, blankets, and pillows so someone can sleep on the floor. It isn’t ideal, but that is what you get when you decide to get drunk in the dining room for six hours instead of making sure you had everything you needed first.
I especially love it when a guest insists that I give them what they want, even though it is impossible. I once had a guest call me from her room, and demand a room with a hot-tub, even though my hotel doesn’t have them. “When I called to make this reservation, I said I wanted a suite with a hot-tub.” She said.
“I am sorry about the confusion, but our hotel doesn’t have hot-tubs. We do have an indoor pool.”
“I told the person that I wanted a suite with a hot-tub. I was told that’s what I was getting! Now I want you to put us in the room with a hot-tub!”
“I’m not sure who would have told you such a thing. This hotel doesn’t have hot-tubs. I’m sorry about the confusion.”
She hung up on me, but that wasn’t the end of it. She walked up to me, with her luggage in tow. “I want my hot-tub room, or I’m walking.” She said.
How about you put the hair dryer on high, and drop it in the bathtub?
“I’m sorry. I don’t have rooms like that here. I don’t know who would have told you otherwise, but I cannot create a room with a hot-tub.”
“Well, I was promised one!”
I was promised that I could be anything that I wanted to be when I was a kid. Where are my superpowers? Why can’t I fly?
I became sidetracked while writing this. I was imagining Iron-man working behind the desk at a hotel.
All a person can do in that situation is keep calm. By keeping calm, I mean don’t get all Pulp Fiction on their asses. Although, it would be somewhat satisfying to take a bite out of someone’s hamburger and say, “Mmm…this is a tasty burger.”
Sold-out nights are fun. People walk in without reservations, and I have to turn them away. People don’t like that, so they hope for the impossible. “Are you sure?” they often say. I am as confident about the hotel’s availability as I am that I need more fiber in my diet.
Wait! It looks like one of our queen suites just gave birth to a room with twins! You’re in luck!
Then there are the priority members. They like to remind me of their status with the membership program when I can’t sell them a room. “I’m a priority member! I’m guaranteed early and late check-ins, and free upgrades!” Can anyone explain to me how that will help the situation? Sold-out is sold-out. There’s no alternative option for members. If you didn’t make a reservation before the hotel sold-out, then your membership level doesn’t mean anything. Availability beats membership level every time. We don’t keep a contractor on standby just in case we need to make some extra space for a priority member at two in the morning.
Here’s a tip. If you’re traveling, bring a small cooler with you. Hotels have ice machines. You can fill your cooler for free and keep your stuff cold. Also, if you check-in at three in the afternoon, but you wait until after midnight to start asking for items that have limited availability, then don’t bother; it’s your own fault. Your roll-away bed and mini-fridge were taken by smart people who requested them properly. We give people who need their medicine kept cold the priority. Your cheap beer isn’t important enough.