Monday, November 29, 2010

For Future Reference

The next time you stay at a hotel here are some things you may want to remember:

1. Be Nice To The Front Desk Clerk. In any job customer service people are blamed for all sorts of things that aren't actually their fault. For example I have been blamed for everything from the location of the hotel, placement of the indoor trashcan, lack of available milk and juice at night, and electronics that do not work. There is actually not much I can do about many of these problems except apologize and perhaps give you a room upgrade/room move (the upgrade/room move would only be for electronics in the room that aren't working). I did not build the hotel here, it is up to the manager where the trashcans go, and the Breakfast Host holds the only set of keys to the dairy fridge and juice machine. I could not get into these things even if I wanted to! What I do have control over are room charges, key distribution, wake-ups calls, phone transfers, bill payments, touristy questions and your overall comfort, but that only goes so far as: if your TV doesn't work or your heater smells funny, I will come and try to fix it. Don't act like I personally sabotaged your TV and/or heater before you arrived.

Furthermore, getting huffy and upset at me in general is not going to do much but raise your blood pressure and put me on the defense. Sure, I will still give you ample customer service, but maybe I won't let you know we have wireless all throughout the building and you can just try to figure that out on your own. When things are a miss I will do all I can to assist you and make you happy. If, however, you continue to act like I am intentionally trying to make your night as stressful as possible, just remember: I may not have the ability to produce juice, but I do have access to the maintenance closet and I do know how to shut the power off to just one room.

2. We Hear Everything. When I first started working here I had a group of three guys come up to the front desk to ask about lengthening their stay (I think I wrote about them in my first hotel post actually). They were very nice and very flirty and when they had finally finished joking around with me at the front desk they headed back to their rooms. The entire lobby area echos and the stairwell especially so as they climbed the stairs I heard loud and clear:

"Damn man, shoulda tapped that."
"I know, man! I know."
"You wanna go down there and ask?"
"Nah, man, nah."
"Ya serious, dude? Ya could get her number."
"Nah, man."
"Man, shoulda tapped that."
"I know, man!"

HA! Lovvvvvveeee it!

3. Don't Creep. Is there a hotel clerk fantasy that I am unaware of? When I was working for the Park Service I sort of understood all the creeping because there's the whole "women in uniform" thing. But a hotel clerk? Don't get me wrong, flirting can be great and there have definitely been some guys here who have just made my day (like the stairwell boys from #2). Then there are the guys who ask how I "like it." I have gotten that question twice and each time I am offered no explanation. They have asked, " do you like it?" completely out of the blue. I then respond, "Like what?" and the man will just smirk and walk away. I am also getting creeped on via phone quite often and am learning that the whole "Georgia from Georgia" thing is being turned on me as a pick-up line. The most recent incident involving phone-creeping was a man from New Jersey who suddenly asked if I was a blonde. Naturally (and stupidly) and said 'yes' and this led to an inquiry as to whether it was long or short. Upon learning that my hair is shoulder length the man kept asking why I don't grow it out to my elbows and how every man would kill for a blonde with long straight hair, etc, etc. He began asking where I was from, if I ever came up to Jersey (by this point I just began making fabricating stuff), and if other girls in the state of Georgia had long hair or not. I was beginning to think I would have to crinkle paper into the phone or something to make him think the connection was breaking up when he finally said, "So, Georgia, what else can you tell me about yourself?" Finally a segue and I said, "Well the hotel I am working for has a rate of 109 tonight. Were you interested in making a reservation?" That finally shut him up and he said he might come down in the summer, that he hoped I would have long hair by then, and hung-up. What. The. Crap.

4. Being Pleasant Will Get You Many Things. Like I was saying in #1, if you're rude you're likely to miss out on some things because a)I might not offer up certain information and will let you go through the trouble of finding it out yourself or b) I may not put in that extra effort to make sure your stay is stellar. This obviously works both ways and if you ARE nice and polite then you are guaranteed to have a great stay. For example, for pleasant guests I have done such things as performed laptop maintenance, given out meal coupons to various restaurants around the area (ask the front desk clerk the next time you're at a hotel because, if we have them, we don't just offer them up to anybody), helped pick which ball of yarn would make the best scarf for each granddaughter (true story), found driving directions to all sorts of non-local areas, and even spell checked a document. So be nice to your hotel clerks, people! Pleaaaasssseeeee. I promise it will only end up benefiting you as well and you may even get to keep all your power on :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Awkward Turtle

Tonight has been a fairly hectic night with various business conferences and FLETC instructors (Federal Law Enforcement Training Centre) checking in. This is also combined with many vacationers making their way down to Florida for Thanksgiving with their family and taking a personal pit-stop on St. Simons. Almost everyone has wanted to talk and gab and ask me why I lack a southern accent and I am happy to entertain them all to the best of my abilities. Then, a short while ago, I checked yet another man in who is in town for business. He grabbed his bags and went down to his room, I went to finally finish my dinner. A few minutes later he came back to the desk saying that neither of his keys worked and he had a feeling someone was in his room because the TV was on. He misinterpreted my incredulous look and said, "I promise I'm not lying." I didn't know what was wrong with his keys, but told him that the TV perhaps turned itself on (like the one my roommates and I had for the past 3 years -- it was always turning itself on). I even checked our box of In House Guests just to double check and sure enough only the business man's sheet was in that particular room's slot.

I went down to the room with him. There was no sound coming from the room and the man shrugged sheepishly. I knocked on the door and said, "Guest services." A male voice responded. I think I actually jumped back from the door. I looked at the guy with me and said, "There is NO way," but of course there was and a lanky older gentleman opened the door. I recognized him immediately as someone I had made an extra room key for earlier in the day. He had told me that it probably wasn't working because he had only planned to stay one night and was told at 11am all 'check out' keys are deactivated. As I was copying his key I asked if he had indeed checked back in and he said yes and then that was that.

*(Something that I believe should be pointed out: the person who has the shift directly before me is Miss Can Do No Wrong Hotel Goddess. She trained me and I have been brought on to slowly replace her as she trains as the hotel Office Manager. She is a very nice girl, but, even though she and I are the exact same age, she is incredibly patronizing and constantly checks my work so that she can point out all the wonderful things I have done wrong. This is why I never once thought to make sure Mr. Lanky was ACTUALLY still check into his room. Even I wouldn't have messed that up.)

The two gentlemen and I stared at each other for a few seconds. I then looked at the man next to me (the just arriving business man) and said, "I'm going to upgrade you." Mr. Lanky asked what was wrong and Business Man showed him his room key, which gave the room number. Lanky looked at me in amazement, "You gave away my room? I thought you liked me!"

"I didn't!" I exclaimed. "The morning person must have. I have no idea what's happening."

"Am I kicked out?" Business Man asked.

"No. YOU get an upgrade."

"I want an upgrade," Mr. Lanky said, smirking.

"What?" I was prepared for yelling, not joking.

"Do I get an upgrade, too?"

" get to stay in your room?"

"But he gets an upgrade."

"Um...we have free coffee and tea? And there might be some oatmeal packets."

"Good enough."

Business Man and I then went back down to the front desk where I updated his reservation and made him new room keys. When he came back through the lobby and half hour later he informed me that this time his room had been empty. Phew!