lunedì 9 agosto 2010

Just venting

Fuck you!!!!

That's what I would like to scream in the faces of all those assholes who behave as they were the most important people in the world. Who have never had any education or have forgotten it along the road. Who just comand you around instead of asking. Who never felt the vibrations of the word please on their lips.
All those who can just say "I always get upgrades", "I have travelled the whole world", "Get me the manager".

Fuck you!!!!

To all those pretentious pricks who treat you as their personal slaves and have no respect whatsovere for you and others around them. To all those who think that money is the key to everything. To all thos who pretend just because they can. Who arrive at 7 am demanding a room but won't leave the hotel before 6pm.

Fuck you!!!!

To all those that we will never be able to say right into their faces without losing our jobs.
Read it in our eyes while we smile and ask you how we may assist you:

Fuck you!!!!

domenica 25 luglio 2010

If you work as a hotel receptionist, have you ever "orderd" to enroll as many as new guest for your fidelity program? To upsell and cross-sell? To make small talk and to offer further help with luggage, transportation, restaurant bookings?


Has your management ever thought that people just want to get a key, go to their room and be left alone? They are not interested in your "interesting opportunities". Everyday we are bombarded by offers from every side, with every mean possible. We are asked to read through here and sign there. Arriving at a hotel should be like arriving home. Kick of your shoes, turn on some music, sit back, relax.
But no: Do you want to collect points for your stay? Have you heard about our fidelity program? How about a larger room for only XXX (ridiculous amount) more? Do you know about our restaurant? Tonight we have fresh fish! Would you like me to reserve a table for you? Maybe before that a nice massage in our Spa?

Some people like that you will now say. True. But you can not force your employees to ask everybody the same questions as part of your procedures (and then decide that a check in should not take more than 5 minutes). This way you only create brain deadreceptionists who will not even try to understand the different guests and to treat them accordingly.

Braindead employees and alienated guests: the essence of hospitality!

domenica 4 luglio 2010

Sometimes I do not mind working the nightshift at the reception during weekends. Sure, you couldn't go out and party, but it still was a good time to observe people.
Going to work you would see them on their way out and after ending your shift you would see them trying to make their way back home. And all that lies between those two moments I could observe through the glass facade of the hotel I was working at.

During such a weekend nightshift you would also receive visits. Normally by partygoers or the occasional prostitute (don't look at me like that!) looking for a toilet. Of course you had to be careful who you let into the lobby, but mostly it was fun people.
One time two young girls and a a guy rang the doorbell. Too young I thought. Too pissed I thought. I'm not going to let them in. Over the intercom I asked them if they were guests of the hotel and to my surprise one of them produced one of our keycards. Guess I had to let them in...
They actually turned out not to be as devastated as I feared, but they where all around 16-17 years old and so I kept an eye on them.
Sitting down in the lobby in front of me they started chatting. The two girls asked my to open the door again so that they could go for a smoke, while their companion fell asleep on the couch. No problem I thought to myself. Normally it's not allowed but who is going to see him?
When the girls came back in about 20 minutes later (turned out it was more than one cigarette) I decided that it was time for them to go to bed. Main reason: I was done with my work and wanted to watch TV in the bar. Secondary reason: I had a strange feeling about them. Nothing bad, but still. Why sleep in the lobby if you had a room?
I invited them very politely to go upstairs and off they went without discussions. Finally I was alone again!

A little while later the night cleaner comes to me and guess what he tells me? During his rounds of the floors he found three young people sleeping in the corridor. I suppose you know who he was referring to. So did I and I made my way upstairs.
Actually I must say the sight was somewhat comical. Seeing these three on the floor along the walls between doors. But didn't they have a room? They showed me the keycard!
Now, how to wake them up? I went for a discrete "Hey!!!!!!!" which proved effective. They all looked me with sleepy eyes, but immediately understood what was going on. Respect! I asked them again if they were clients of the hotel or if they just found the key. In short: explain!
Well, one girl was really staying at the hotel but in one room with her parents, while the other two were some new won friends made during the night. Being tired after a night out drinking and dancing she had the brilliant idea to invite them to sleep in a five star hotel. Believe my guys, the floor of a five star hotel is not much different from the floor of a two star hotel!
I waited until our "real" guest disappeared in her room before escorting the others down and out of the hotel tring to hide a smile. People sometimes have weird ideas!

The best part was when, arriving at the main entrance, they actually apologized to me. Who says that todays youth has no manners?!

sabato 26 giugno 2010

Some time ago a regular guest of the hotel came to the reception in quite a distress. His wallet had been stolen. So goodbye credit cards, cash, documents etc. Unfortunately for us that meant that he couldn't pay his stay with us.
I knew the guest and of course I was concerned about his problem and we decided that he would make a bank transfer as soon as he got back home.
He never did.

At that time I was in charge of trying to make people pay for their outstanding balances. Normally it would be travel agents or companies. Some had cash problems, some simply forgot.
Every time I saw the open account of our former regular guest (of course he wouldn't show his face again) I felt betrayed and made fun of.

I called the guests mobile phone. Nothing. I went on the internet to retrieve his adress and home phone number. I wrote letters and called. Nothing. I even called in the middle of the night from my personal mobile once, just to see if someone would pick up. Nothing.
Months went by and it was getting really personal. My collegue Antonio and I started thinking about what we would do to that guy if we ever would get ahold of him. And let me tell you, the expressions used were not too nice...
Suddenly, almost 6 months later, my collegue tried to call again. Somebody picked up! Antonio started immediately to explain the nature of the call in a polite but determied tone. But soon he started studdering, even apologizing and finlly he hung up.
I looked at him quizzically and he explained: The person who answered the phone was not our man, but his son. He went on explaining how his father had been involved in a fatal car crash and died some weeks earlier.
We kind of felt sorry for the bad things we had said over the last months and it goes without saying that we dropped the whole thing.

What, you might ask, if this was only a scam? Well, where I live we believe that if you say something like this and it isn't true, it will happen to you eventually. So liers beware!

sabato 19 giugno 2010

There are few places where you see so many different nationalities as in a hotel. And let me tell you, this thing they say "We are all the same" is not true at all.

As you will know, in hotels there are many different categories and types of rooms. Large, small, smoking, twin etc. Of course most of us would love to get that huge, non smoking room with view. But we never do. Why? Well it might just depend on your passport...

What to do if you have got a lot of twin rooms left? Give them to the Japanese of course! They seem to love it. A while back you could give them to the Germans as well, but apparently that has changed now.
Another type of room you can assigne to Japanese guests are the small and, lets face it, crappiest rooms of the hotel. They simply won't come down to reception to complain and ask for a different one. If they ever do, it will be when they are back home and someone other than us will have to deal with that. And if there is a bathtub in the bathroom, chances are that they will never ever think about complaining.
What to do with smoking rooms? When in doubt give them to the Greek or Italians. Either they all smoke or they just don't seem to bother. Actually you can risk this one with Japanese guests as well (we just love Japanese guests!).
Eastern Europeans tend to always enquire if they are be given the best room in the house. "Of course", you will answer and, as long if it's a half decent one, they will never wonder if they spoke to Pinocchio at the reception. There is also a great chance for an upselling!
If your goal is upselling you can also check Middle Eastern clients into small rooms, only to wait for them to come back to reception where you will propose an upgrade (which is of course not free of charge) to a bigger, nicer room. This will also make the day of your luggage porter: tips for the first trip, tips for the second trip.

The real problems arise when checking in Americans. Airconditioning which turns the room into a fridge is a must. Big TV, large bed, away from elevator and/or icemachine, high floor, quiet room, large room, widows that open, away from street but with view (guys, if it's away from the street it will face our nice courtyard!). These are just a few of the standard requests they have. So don't try any games. If you still go for it they will make you pay for every tiny, little detail that is not to their liking!

So next time you arrive at a hotel think about it: Where are you from and what type of room do you get?

giovedì 27 maggio 2010

Ehhh... where am I?

Have you ever have to deal with someone who lost his memory?
It happened to me once during a night shift.
I was doing my work when around midnight of a busy night two ladies steped to the far end of the reception. They tried to get my attention with a few “Hello” and “Excuse me”. I must admit that at first I didn’t even notice them and that when I did I was a bit irritated. Why couldn’t they come closer to me when they were seeing that I was working on my computer? I was about to find out the reason.
I went over to them. One tall blond lady wearing a skirt and a blouse and a more petite lady wearing…. Well, at first I thought she was wearing a business suit until I noticed that in fact she was wearing only a large jacket. And that was it!
I was baffled and out of embarrassment I looked at the “dressed” lady who started to explain the situation. She was coming back from a dinner with colleagues and was going up to her room via the staircase. There, much to her surprise I think, she found the second lady. Completely naked and with no clue what she was doing there. Thinking of it, it was a funny situation. But that night I was just wondering in which big mess I was being thrown. Drug scandal? Rape? Prostitution?
I looked at the half naked lady again and she started asking me where she was. Which city, which hotel… Man, this must be a prank! Where are the hidden cameras? Questions like these are only asked in movies!
At least she managed to mumble her name and I was relieved in finding out that she was actually one of our guests.
I couldn’t possible leave the reception at that time and the first lady offered to accompany our “Miss nakedness” up to her room. I guess she was starting getting worried about her jacket.
When she came back I asked her if she had noticed anything strange in the room. Alcohol, drugs, pills… Luckily that was not the case.
The rest of the night was more on the normal side. But I took care to ask the night cleaner to check all floors and staircases for naked ladies. He was more than happy to oblige and even a bit disappointed when he didn’t find anybody wandering around.
At the end of my shift I explained my colleagues the situation and asked them to check on the guest later during the morning. Then I went home to sleep, but as soon as I woke up I called the hotel to have some news about my latest friend. Apparently the strangest thing that happened was that she actually checked out acting as nothing had ever happened.
Well, maybe she forgot…

martedì 25 maggio 2010


Have you ever had a relationship with one of your work colleagues?
Many of you will say "No, are you crazy?!" I simply ask you "Why?"
Let me tell you this: It is a great thing if you work in the same company but in different offices/departments. You have the same boss, but you will face different problems, challenges, tasks while running into each other during the day. Wha better ccasion to share a wink and a smile? You will be able to sneak in the occasional kiss or caress. Meaningful smiles and looks will appear on your face. You will be able to call each others office pretending to talk about work while just wanting to hear the other persons voice. Or how about spending lunch break together?
Personally I find it soothing that my girl is near me.
At home you will be able to discuss what happened at work and the other person will actually know what and who you are talking about. And after bitching a bit about coworkers and the management it is great to put those issues aside!
I firmly believe that it is a great thing. Just remember to remain always professional on the job (at least when others can see you).
Now you will insit that there are also downside to this situation. Well, of course there will be gossip about you. But there always is, so nothing new here. Same goes for discussions, fights, etc. It will only make you become closer.
The real risk is that seeing each other every day at work and at home, is that you might start taking the other person as granted, as someone who is always there in any case. The time you spend together at work is great but it is not the same as being just the two of you. So become inventive! You will have quality time together as well as decent quantity.
I suppose the greatest problem arises if you should break up one day. That is of course a real possibility, but you can deal with it as well. You can decide that you are mature enough to continue working in the same company together. You might decide that it is time to look for a new job. Actually it can be the motivation you were looking for to make a radical change!
I went through all of these steps and I wouldn't trade them for the world.


You know which is one of the most haunted places on earth? The hotel reception of course!

The ghost, or sometimes ghosts, roaming our workplace are a weired bunch. They do not want to scare you to death. No, they take their pleasure from moving objects around. Or from making them disappear.

Have you ever needed a pen but suddenly there was none to be found? You were sure you had plenty just a minute ago, weren't you?

You need some scrap paper? A stapler? A city map? You look frantically around you. Nothing... When finally you find them on the other side of the reception and asked who moved them: Nobody!

Doesn't this make shivers run down your spine?! Nobody touches anything but things continue to disappear only to surface again in the oddest places. When you're lucky that is... Once it happened to me that an important report vanished never to be found again! And of course nobody even went near it. One moment it was on the desk, the next... puff!

So forget English castles, cemeteries or abandoned houses. The place with the most paranormal activity is without a doubt in hotels!

venerdì 14 maggio 2010

I always wanted to become a...

How have you started your career? Have you always known what you wanted to be? Have you tried different paths before finding your very own?

Personally I have always lived in a hotel as part of the managing family. Helping out was never a problem. Washing some dishes (that was fun, you should try it!), a bit of filing and helping here and there. Until one day I was ordered to the Reception!
Staff shortage.. You all know what I'm talking of. That's why one day I had to put on my suit, shirt and a tie and went to work at 7 am. What an ungodly hour!
My career moved at the speed of light! After only 3 months I was responsible of the reception. The staff shortage had just become a staff disappearance! Basically the work schedule was like this:
morning shift: me
late shift: my 22 year old cousin
night shift: another poor soul
Of course when we had many arrivals or departures we worked a few extra hours or work a double shifft. But help was on its way! A 19 year old intern...
This period lasted for a bit more than a month. But how did we end up in this situation? Very easy. One day a new receptionist had to start but never showed up while on the same day a girl quit. Actually she asked for holidays and when she didn't get them she ran away. She even left all her clothes at the hotel. I wonder who was chasing her. But that's a different story...

It was fun in a way and I must say that I learned a lot. Over here they say that if your in shit up to your neck, you will learn how to swim. They must be right!

martedì 11 maggio 2010

That is MY room!!!

First of all I have to admit that this story has been told to me by a collegue during a training program. I was assured that it is a true story, but you never know. Nevertheless I found it funny, so here we go:
Everyone who works at the reception knows those regular guests who always want the same room. It has to be the same one. Not the same size and form on the same floor. Not the same one on a different floor. The very same it must be!
Generally it's not a problem. The guest books in advance and you block the room. Easy! Sometimes the guest books the same day though. Of course only when "his" room is already allocated to someone else.
The main character of this story was a middle ages businessman who visited the hotel a few days almost every week of the year. He always got the same room, until day x. When he found out that the room was already occupied by a different client he got quite mad and loud. To no avail the Duty Manager assured him that he would get an even nicer room, a free upgrade, a free drink at the bar etc. Mr Businessman could not be satisfied without "his" room.
The accident ended there. The client finally accepted a different accomodation, but remained grumpy for the rest of the stay.
A few months later though, renovation works started on several floors. The airconditioning and heating had to be changed and get modernized. Some parts of the ceiling in each room had to be removed. When the workes started on our heros room ceiling a plastic bag fell down from behind one of these ceiling panels
Guess what they found in the bag. An inflatable doll! No wonder the guest got angry when he couldn't have his room. Someone was already waiting for him!

As I said at the beginning, I don't know if this is a true story, but everytime I check in one of these guests who always insist on the same room I can't help but wonder what they might be hiding!