Yesterday was rough on the hotelnerd

Every now and then in this business, a day comes along that just kicks your ass. My Spa Manager colleagues had one of those days last Sunday. Yesterday, Friday, was one of those days for me. I double as the Housekeeping Manager on Fridays because the actual HK manager is off Friday & Saturday. So I’m running around juggling those duties, while still wearing my normal hat. Got yelled at my 3 different guests about entirely different things, 2 of them being fairly small or stupid things.

This was my day...except I don't wear a tie

Guest 1: WiFi Lady who had her expectations met

This guest was staying with us for 2 nights and checked out on Friday. She had brought a load of electronics with her, two laptops and an Android phone of some kind. The whole time she was here none of her 3 devices could access the wireless. When she came to the desk to talk to me about it on Wednesday, I thanked her for letting me know, verified that it wasn’t working with my own Droid(1) then went and reset the router and modem. 10 minutes later, working like a charm on my own wireless device. So I chalked it up to problem fixed and went about my business that day. Friday morning rolls around and she comes up to the desk furious that she hasn’t been able to connect during her entire stay. I apologize, explained that the wireless was working each time I had tested it since her original complaint, and that it was in fact working at this very moment, and demonstrated that to her. I also offered to look at her own device to see if I could get it working, but she didn’t want me touching it. So she wants a discount. In my head I can already see my GM rolling his eyes at this situation, but also unsure as to how far he would go. How much is malfunctioning WiFi worth? Especially when it could very well be the guest’s own technology and not our own? You’d be surprised how often it takes just a very small setting tweak to get everything up and running. It boggles my mind sometimes as a technically literate person that everyone thinks their technology should work exactly the same for them here as it does for them at home or at work. So I let the guest know that I’m going to consult my GM real quick and I step out to call him. He says to throw her a $25 discount on the room, more like $28 after it adjusts tax too, and call it a day. She was even more upset with the $25 discount than she was at the original WiFi issue. The part that really threw me though was that she kept saying “I’ve been coming here for 20 years and since you added WiFi it’s never worked right. But now your rates are so high it should be perfect. And I’ve had to do important business while I’m here!” OK, I see her point on one level, but there’s a logical issue to her argument that I can’t really point out when she’s already this upset. Our rates have gone up over the years, especially over 20 years, but they haven’t gone up dramatically in the last 3 years. This year was the first time we raised our rates even a little (5-10% depending on room and season). And we’ve invested in the WiFi along the way. This time last year, our WiFi only let 10 devices be connected at any one time. Now it’s unlimited. Our speeds are still slow, but we have a T1 line coming.  So, I’m sorry that her technology didn’t pair up with us well, sometimes that happens, it’s really unavoidable. Here’s the logical error I have with her argument, she has had bad experiences with our WiFi in the past and admits that it’s never worked for her here. Then why the frak did she come up here with important business on the line that she was going to need reliable WiFi for? And without a back up plan? I’m not saying our WiFi shouldn’t be reliable or fast. I’m saying that all that happened was we lived up to the expectation she already had coming up here. So she left with her $25 discount furious, and went home to write a 1 star review on Yelp. At least she didn’t call me out by name.

Guest #2: Israeli Guests with too many heads in their beds

These guests were coming up here for a wedding, flew in from Israel today on a 15 – 20 hour flight (they kept changing the number as they yelled at me). Their room had been reserved by a family member in the area who had also booked a number of other rooms. The room they booked for these guests could only sleep 2 people. She had a larger unit reserved which she cancelled on Wednesday just before the cancellation policy expired. Some of our rooms are on the small side, they can safely only sleep 2 guests, putting a roll away bed in the room is considered unsafe in the event of an emergency. Anyways, that didn’t go well when I told these exhausted international travelers that the room they had was too small for them and that I couldn’t let them check-in. The only saving grace is when their local contact called us and I spoke to her and explained what happened, she basically admitted her mistake to me. In the mean time I had found a way to juggle 2 rooms together for her guests and had a solution that would let them stay on property. She was very nice, and I hope she admitted her mistake to her guests, but I doubt it, they had already made other arrangements at that point, so they never came back.

Gust #3: Asshole on the Phone who didn’t get his room cleaned

This guy was just a little nuts and way rude. He was originally scheduled to check-out on Friday morning, but extended at the last minute instead. Word didn’t make it to the housekeeper that he was what we call a “Stay Over”. Housekeeping cleans stay overs first in most hotels you see, and does the check-outs afterwards. She thought he was a check-out all day long and hadn’t come to clean his room by 1:30 when he was calling me. I won’t go into terrible detail about the inane conversation we had, but by the time I had gotten out to his building there was a housekeeper there cleaning.

Pregnant Employee problem: Last minute notice

I have a lot of pregnant ladies on my staff right now. And maternity leave is not the easiest thing to deal with in the high season. One employee (a rock star of an employee) is already out on leave and due back in about a month. The next one was going to leave for her maternity leave in 2 weeks, leaving 4 weeks before her due date, causing 3 weeks in which their leaves would overlap. Not awesome, but I had already mapped it out and had a plan. Then 30 minutes before I leave, I get a voice mail from her saying she just got done with a doctor’s appointment and was approved to go on disability 5 weeks before delivery instead of 4. Frak me sideways Susie! I don’t think I’ve ever cursed so much at work before. Fortunately the office was empty. This just sucks for me because that extra week eats into a schedule that I’ve already released, and people have begun to plan around. Lastly it just raises my ire on a personal level. I’ve been bugging this employee for over a month now to submit her disability paperwork. She’s also told me that she want’s to go out as early as possible because she’s uncomfortable being “this big in this heat” So I have little to no faith that she’s going out for any actual medical reasons. If she is, then absolutely take the leave and we’ll just get through as best we can. But I don’t believe it at this moment, I think she’s just milking the system for all it’s worth and I know she has little to know appreciation for the strain this will put on her team. She’s already a notorious abuser of her sick time, so why should this be any different?

Anyways. That was my FML day. I was worried today would be much worst, but it wasn’t. The revised scheduled went out without a single complaint. And guests have been all easy to deal with today. Knock on wood.

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  1. #1 by HoaiPhai on July 31, 2011 - 2:04 AM

    Man, that steams me… people wanting discounts for something they’ve refused your help to remedy, getting the discount, and then one-starring you!

    “If you accept the compensation, you lose the right to bitch.”

    • #2 by hotelnerd on July 31, 2011 - 10:03 AM

      Well considering she expressed her displeasure with the discount at the time I gave it, I’m not terribly surprised that she still wrote a review. She took it, but only because I wasn’t willing to offer anymore. What bothers me most, is that basically we just lived up to the expectations that should have been set by her previous experience.

      Also, she exaggerated the level of her “repeat business” being here three times in 7 years doesn’t translate into “visiting multiple times a year for the last 20 years” as she put it. Whenever someone claims to be a repeat guest, I mentally roll my eyes and cut their business level claim in half. They think we won’t even attempt to fact check them. We don’t have accurate records for 20 years, but at least the last 9 years we do, and that’s enough to draw some good conclusions from. And, a guest’s history does matter, a first time guest vs an occasional return guest vs a frequent return guest vs a return guest with no history of complaints vs a return guest with a long history of complaining. All of those effect how we choose to handle their situation.

  2. #3 by The Hook on August 2, 2011 - 4:58 AM

    Mu condolences!
    Seriously, I know how you feel.

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