I had an unexpected night in a hotel last night and as I sip my morning coffee, felt it was a good opportunity to talk about what I learned from hotel work.
I spent numerous years working in hotels. I loved it, I hated it. It was relaxing and crazy. How could I be punished with 60+ hour shifts one week and a four day weekend the next? And how come a job with such low pay got me so close to celebrities? This, is the hotel trade.
Some guests genuinely have interesting names…
As I currently spend a night in one I remember what it was like to be on the other side of the desk. To be approached by an arrival claiming to be called ‘Ben Dover’ asking what the policy is for bringing prostitutes back. That kind of comedic genius. Mind you, I once checked in a businessman genuinely named Harry Potter, it’s all about spotting the trolls without infuriating the good guys.
Fear the ‘shettle’…
Once during a floor walk a housekeeper found a kettle sitting outside of a room that a stag group checked out of. She opened it to find a human dump staring back. This actually happened, and from now on I ask for a pot of boiling water from the bar to quench my thirst for tea. Flavoured tea is popular, some flavours aren’t so welcome.
I always double lock my door
In an age of keycards you can relax knowing that the door will lock behind you after you leave, gone are the days in which we have to remember to physically lock the door after us. This doesn’t mean the door cannot be opened without some fairly simple information. To get a new key to a room we are often required to provide a name, room number, I.D or to state the address on file, although this isn’t always so strict. I’ve been given a room key by using the right name and room number, easily obtainable by listening closely to the person checking in before you. I have never heard of such a trick being used to gain access to another room, thankfully most people are good and any creeps looking to abuse such a system are often terrible at going under the radar. It is still good to be over cautious.
A ‘do not disturb’ sign doesn’t always work
Prepare for a housekeeping invasion around 9am, they are easily the hardest working department in my eyes and like anyone, want to get the workload out of the way. Rest assured the hand squeezing through the door isn’t you dreaming of the anticipated zombie apocalypse, it’s just housekeepers eagerly wanting to swap your towels for fresh ones.
I don’t go into attack mode if something goes wrong
As much as the unexpected 6am fire alarm wasn’t my fault, it probably wasn’t the fault of the reception staff either. As much as I want to vent it is important to remember that the staff are only human and if they are shown compassion, will probably be a lot more helpful and understanding with an understanding guest. We are emotional creatures and whether we like it or not, this impacts how a situation unfolds. Staff aren’t there to make your stay difficult, this would make hotel work very difficult indeed. A civil conversation is just as effective as anything.
I still love staying in hotels
I always thought going into the hotel industry would kill the magic, a bit like working at Disneyland but on a much smaller scale. It didn’t and if anything I appreciate the work that goes into making a stay a great one a little more.
I do certain certain things differently now from the experienced I gained however this is not a hindrance. I’ve adopted many of the do’s and don’t at home, too. I just trust the kettle a little more.
I hope you’re in a hotel right now and if not, very soon!