What I learned working at a hotel…

I love to travel, which is one of the reasons I enjoy working at a hotel, besides the fact that I get AWESOME discounts. So today’s post is all about thing’s I’ve learned while working in a hotel, and some of my experiences.

I started working at a hotel in Traverse City when I was 19 years old.  I had always worked in customer service type places, first I was a bagger at a grocery store and then I waitressed for a couple years so I figured it’d be similar. I worked there for a year and a half before I moved downstate for school and I had a blast.  Nothing majorly important happened that year besides seeing a hotel do a million dollar renovation which was interesting but I moved back home that summer and went back to work at the front desk.

A lot of famous people stayed with us that summer which was pretty awesome.  None of them were too-diva-ish, they were all pretty chill.  I got to meet the band members of Saving Able and their crew, (“I’m so addicted to, all the things you do…”, there was also Josh Thompson who put me and a friend on “the list” (yes, I felt pretty cool), Kenny Loggins, and some band that I forgot the name of but they gave us autographed photos. There were many other people who I got to meet and they were all awesome experiences.

But to the important stuff.  I’ve learned quite a few things while I’ve been working at hotels that I think everyone should be aware of.

Third party booking sites like Expedia, Hotels.com and Priceline sometimes, but not ALWAYS, have a better rate than the actual hotel website. It’s always a good idea to check the hotels actual website to see if the rates the same because hotels do NOT have a way to change anything on a reservation when it’s booked through a third party website.

Here’s some things you should know about making reservations through them:

  • You get charged the minute you hit “submit”. If you want to pay right away, by all means, go for it.  But most people aren’t expecting their bank account to drop $100 right then since hotels don’t typically charge you until the day you check in. Also, hotels don’t see what you paid for a room, so when you ask us how much your room rate was, we have no idea. We also can’t add the AAA or AARP discount to the rate, because, again, we can’t see it.
  • “I asked for two queen beds!” You don’t always get the room type you requested when it’s through third parties, even travel agents are guilty of booking the wrong room types and the hotel get’s to deal with the upset guests because it’s easy to blame it on us.It’s very difficult for us to switch room types in these type of reservations, especially when we’re sold out so if you want a specific room, call the hotel directly.
  • Third party websites are not in the city you’re visiting.  They don’t know the restaurants, attractions, events, or directions around the local area.  They also are unaware of packages and promotions that sometimes are a better deal depending on what you’re coming to town for.

Those are just a couple reasons why I personally don’t like using these websites to book rooms when I travel. However, I do check them just to compare rates and get an idea of what to expect, but for a hassel-free vacation, I go directly to the hotel’s website or call them.

I hope I didn’t sound like I was bitching about guests, because I LOVE working in hospitality and with people, but when the occassional upset guest comes in to complain about not getting what they wanted, I always tell them those reasons above are why it’s best to stay away from those websites.

Also – it’s always helpful to let the desk or housekeepers know when you’re checking out.  You don’t always have to go to the desk, especially if you’re in a hurry, but just pick up the phone and say you’re peacin’.  That way housekeeping can get into your room and clean it, instead of waiting for check out time to roll around to get into it.   This is nice for two reasons – it lets the housekeepers do their job, and it gets the rooms clean and inspected before check-in time.  If you’re checking into a hotel right at check-in and the rooms not ready, it’s most likely because the previous people didn’t tell housekeeping they were leaving at 8am and they waited until noon to get in.

SOOO… there’s a couple hopefully helpful tips for when you’re looking at hotels, and when you’re at hotels.  Front Desk people are friendly, people-persons in nature, so if you have questions or concerns LET THEM KNOW so we can HELP! That’s what we’re there for.

Here’s a website showing how darn frustrating these websites can be.



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