There are many similarities between working in retail customer service and working in hotel customer service. However, there are also many differences. The main one being that people treat you more like a servant as a front desk clerk at a hotel.
I’m sure it’s an easy mistake for people to make, I mean, I’m working in the hospitality business, I should have assumed that a collar and leash came with the deal. But still, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be so willing to help you out when all you do is abuse me and talk down to me.
Recently, I was already in a grumpy mood when I came into work, so when the first guest I encountered whined about his room before even going in it, I was less than kind about allowing him to be moved. This man was probably a good two feet taller than me and I still managed to get him to cow down to me by insisting, very firmly, that it made no difference if he was in the outter hallway or inner hallway of the hotel. Not to mention, don’t you dare try to complain about your room assignment before you’ve even been in there to see if its actually going to be a problem or not. This isn’t the Hilton or Marriott, asshole.
Then, after getting into his room, he called down to inquire about a straight-backed chair that could be used. I suggested him using the breakfast bar to conduct work, or even the desk in the lobby. But, before I could suggest that maybe he just take one of the breakfast bar chairs back to his room, he hung up on me in a huff.
Nope, sorry. I wasn’t even done speaking to you, sir, now you definitely will not get kindness or help from me. I could have cared less if he wrote a bad review about me, because quite frankly, I am unwilling to show respect to a stranger who is unwilling to show respect for me. Don’t blame me for our corporate offices wanting us to take desks and chairs out of rooms with two beds. Blame corporate and let them know how much you dislike it, not us. We’re just doing what we are told to keep our name.
Then that very same night I encountered a couple that were just outrageous. First of all, the man did not tell me there would be two people in the room. He kept referring to himself singularly, so I assumed it was just him. Yes, I should have asked to make sure, but when someone is speaking in singular terms, it’s usually pretty safe to assume these things.
Well, I got him checked in only to realize about two minutes later that he has a wife who was demanding and rude to me. They did legitimately have a problem with the first room they were checked into, so I moved them. She called down at the front desk to alert me of the problem, and I issued keys and headed down the hall to get them moved as quickly as possible. From the time we hung up on the phone, to the time I made it down the hall, maybe 45-60 seconds had passed. And no, I am not over exaggerating.
She was huffing and puffing at me and said “well that took you long enough.”
Whoa, slow down woman. Just because you’re on an oxygen tank doesn’t give you the right to abuse me. I got there as fast as I could and I put you in a room with an un-broken security latch. I could have told you tough cookies and left you in there, but I moved you, and even made sure you were able to get all of your luggage into your room easily before I left.
Then I hear on my days off that she rose hellfire to complain about all of the horrible things about the hotel. My manager simply apologized to her and stated that if they were still having issues with the hotel, then they were free to take their things to another hotel in the area.
They decided to stay another night.
People expect a lot from you in the hotel business, even if you aren’t a high-class hotel. They expect you, as a desk clerk, to be able to turn into an electrician, plumber, and tour guide at the flip of a hat. It’s not good enough that you give them the weather forecast for the night or next day in the city they will be travelling to next, you must tell them if there is a chance of rain, what the humidity is, the wind chill, and the heat index. And you must also tell them the best route to get there, no matter if you’ve never been there before.
It’s not enough that you give them free laundry detergent for the guest washer, they also expect you to listen for it and change it for them. Nope, sorry dudes, it’s called a guest laundry for a reason. Not your mom, not your maid. Want me to do those things for you? At least tip me or sound sincere when you say thank you.
Oh, look out, here comes an entitled old businessman who believes that because of all of his hard work over the last few decades that I need to get on my hands and knees to shine his shoes.