Get a Room

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I travel.  A lot.  And you should too.

I truly believe travel broadens the mind.  Admittedly, it also shrinks the wallet, but mine is pretty big.  And so is my wallet.

But on the whole, I’d rather be living the scratch and sniff lifestyle of the world traveller, rather than being stuck in upper suburbia worrying about what the Reserve Bank will do next with interest rates, what to pick up from grocery store on the way home, or working out “which fucking night is bin night again?!”.

However – travel does have its little nuances and nuisances.

So I thought I would present Gaz’s Top Ten Tips for the world of Hoteliery.  Airline Tips will follow.

These tips are free (unless you want to pay me for them).  They are also not rocket surgery.  These are small changes, for big results.

Right, here goes.

Gaz’s Top Ten Travel Tips – for Hotels

1)     Train your fucking staff. 

This is the toughest of my tips, so let’s get it out of the way first.

Good customer service is not free.  Invest in your people.  They are your lifeblood.

Nobody likes stumbling out of a cab in the pouring rain, after travelling for 24-hours across the globe, only to be greeted by pimply teenager with attitude, telling you “your room isn’t ready yet, you’ll need to come back in a few hours”.

Do that to me, and I won’t be back in a few lifetimes, of that I assure you.  Anticipate your guests’ likely problems, and come up with appropriate, pre-planned solutions to suit.  Simple yeah?  You’d think so, but far too many hotels fail this one, horribly.

 

2)     Free Wifi

In-room WiFi should be fast and free.

I reiterate.

In-room WiFi should be fast and free.

Do it.  Do it now.

If you don’t know why, you should not be in the hotel business (or indeed any business at all, full stop).

Alright, fine.  Here are a few of the more obvious reasons.

  • You will increase repeat business.
  • You will give guests fewer reasons to leave your premises, thereby improving your room service, mini-bar and on-site restaurant returns.
  • You will attract more business clientele, Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers and Gen-Whatevercomesnext’ers.

In turn, you will make more money.  If you don’t like money, you should not be in the hotel business (or indeed any business at all, full stop).  Capiche?

3)     Bed Runners

Ditch the grubby bed runners across the foot of the bed.  We don’t use one at home, and we sure don’t need one in our hotel room.  We always just kick them off onto the floor.  Besides, we know you rarely wash those manky things between bookings.   A black light would flare up like the Aurora Borealis when waved over one of these stinking cessrags.

 

4)     Towel rails. 

It’s a rail, for hanging towels.  Google it if you must.  Every bathroom should have one, or indeed several.  Hooks don’t cut it.  Rest assured, if a towel drops on the floor, I will not re-use it.  Install towel rails, and you will save a fortune on laundry, and you will thank me for it.  Well, you should thank me.

5)     Air Conditioning / Heating

Thermostat of choice?  The simplest one.  If it requires a manual, dump the fucker.

What should it have?

It should have an on/off switch (for turning on and off) and a dial, which if I turn one way will make the room warmer, and which if I turn the opposite way and you are still reading this to find out what comes next, you seriously have no place in the hotel trade either, you imbecile.

Seriously, you don’t want us calling reception every time we’re feeling a little bit chilly or toasty.  Your Duty Managers will also welcome the fewer distractions from crushing Candy Crush.

6)     Blackout curtains

Install them.

Enough said.

 

7)     Changing Technology 

Keep up-to-date with changing technology.  For example, if you have a sound dock, make sure you have adaptors to fit.

There is nothing worse than trying to crank out some Feargal Sharkey only to find that your iPhone 5 won’t fit in the “antiquated” speaker dock.  Okay, maybe a jalapeno enema is worse, but this is right up there.  Actually, a japapeno enema is right up there too, if you get what I mean?

8)     Pillows

This is a tricky one, because not all people are the same, and not all pillows are the same.

For example, I’m awesome, and most hotel pillows are not.

So please provide a smorgasbord of pillows in the cupboard, or at least offer a “pillow menu”.

A well-rested Gaz is a lot less likely to quibble over the number of adult “special interest” films that show up on the final bill at checkout.

9)     Don’t touch my stuff!

Seriously, so not cool.  I know that maids are instructed to return the room to a pre-set order, and I accept that within reason, but there needs to be an overriding ethos.

Let me explain.

Examples of things not to be touched:

a)     My stuff!

b)     My fucking stuff!

c)     All of the (fucking) above!

If I leave my toothbrush on the vanity, work around it.

If I leave my laptop on the table, work around it.

If I leave a glow-in-the-dark, rechargeable, battery-operated, therapeutic “massager” on the night-stand, yeah you probably don’t want to be touching that anyway.

 

10)  Power Outlets

Seriously, throw us a fucking bone here.

I have a laptop.  I have an iPad.  I have 2 iHones  I have a rechargeable therapeutic massager.   Please, more outlets, and in convenient places too – I am not crawling under that bed, even if my giant wallet falls under there.  I’ll consider it collateral damage.

Give us a couple adjacent to each night stand, a couple dotted around the room, and at least a couple at the desk.  That shouldn’t be so hard (that’s what she said).

GAZ’s BONUS TIP!

11)  “Do Not Disturb”

If I have to explain this one, please stop wasting my precious oxygen.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record*, these tips are not revolutionary.  They are common-sense.

Get your house in order, hotels of the world.  Provide the level of services your customers expect, and they will pay you (repeatedly) for it.  It’s that simple.

Put in a little effort and those Trip Advisor reviews will start to have more little gold stars next to them.  You’d like that, wouldn’t you?

You will also make a simple Gaz, very happy.  I assure you, this is a good thing if I am staying at your (expectedly) fine establishment.

If you have any other hotel tips for my good readers, please throw your thoughts in the comments section.

If you don’t have any hotel tips, you seriously need to travel more.  Go on, off you go then.  The world is your oyster.  And you know what they say about oysters…

 

* For the Gen Whatevercomesnext’ers, a broken record is a flashback to the heady days of vinyl records, where sound waves were created by a needle on a stylus that traced the spiral grooves in a spinning vinyl disc, transferring the vibrations to a diaphragm in a speaker which then amplifies it to an auditory level.   If one of these grooves is corrupted, the needle no longer tracks inward along the spiral, and instead follows a continuous circular loop, causing the music to cyclically repeat – hence the term, “sounds like a broken record”.  Okay, I probably lost most of you GenW’s (attention span of a fucking ADD goldfish) but for any still reading, it’s like your iTunes getting stuck on repeat.

 

7 thoughts on “Get a Room

  1. Paul Seaton

    1) Longer Kettle flexes

    In fact, any flexes. With hardly any power sockets, the very real situation can arise where you’re crouching net to a bin to get a cup of tea. Unless you’re after the kind of real-life experience of the sodden gutter, this isn’t a plus.

    2) Abridged Hotel Guide

    Honestly, I get that you’re super-keen on telling us which type of brick was used to build your hotel. And upon discovering it was marble taken from the Sistine Chapel, do you really think we care? The first few pages of the guide should be food, drink, other available sundries and simple instructions on how to get all of those things quickly. We’re not moving in.

    3) Functioning curtains

    What are those shitty false curtains doing there? Either have none, blinds or real ones, preferably with blackout curtain like you said. I stayed in Milan recently and there was no blackout facility, fake curtains and the room was hotter than the fires of hell (I imagine). Arrivederci.

    4) Don’t lie about breakfast.

    If it’s choose your own midget box of cereal and week-old oranges on offer, let me know (so I can book somewhere else). If it’s a full breakfast service, this food needs to be cooked fresh and what is says on the website, not stale croissants and coffee that tastes like it’s been brewing since 1974.

    5) Understand what a taxi us.

    Know how to quickly order a taxi for your customer! Too many hotels I’ve been too have either been a) slow b) incompetent or c) a blend of both. How difficult can this be?

    Great blog, Gaz, I read every one :)

    Reply
  2. Josh Harris

    Well, aren’t you a pompous and arrogant, self-righteous little reproductive organ.

    I’ve worked in hospitality most of my life, in establishments ranging from 2 star to 5 star standards. I rose to Operations Manager, and Deputy General Manager, having worked in 4 different countries. In fact, my last tenure was in a hotel on Trafalgar Square, in London. So I come from a high-end, successful career which has seem me climb the ranks from trainee, to Senior Management. I left the industry, after a lot of great memories

    Having established these credentials, and gotten that validation out of the way, let me tell you: you are the kind of client that I do NOT want to have.

    Not because you may be pointing out flaws, or lacks, or what have you; complaints and problems are part of any business, and it’s my role to both minimise their insurgence, as well as mitigate any of their effects. Rather, it’s because people like you give travelers a bad name, because you have no clue how the hotel industry works. You’re an arrogant customer, on the other side of the table, who thinks he knows it all.

    So, to quote one BMF named Jules Winnfield, from Pulp Fiction, “OH! Well, allow ME to retort!”

    Point 1:
    I do wholeheartedly agree with you on one point: train your staff. ABSOLUTELY! But, that aside… you quite evidently, you have no inside knowledge of why a room may not be ready.

    Sometimes emergencies do happen. Ever been late to a meeting, despite leaving early… because an ACCIDENT happened on the motorway? Shit happens. Whether it’s a 5* or otherwise. BMW’s can fail. The Challenger exploded in 1986. It HAPPENS.

    Perhaps, an issue of overbooking arose. And if you think this is unprofessional, or abnormal, find me one business operating its room revenue on a yield / REVPA-anything basis (because you DO know what that really is, don’t you?) that DOESN’T overbook. The whole travel and hospitality industry works on over-bookings.

    Also, there are check-in times, contingent on check-outs. If you show up at 10am, your room may not be ready; the current client has until midday to check out. We then need to service the room. Which is why, on your booking confirmation, you should be advised of the terminus after which you may check-in. Show up before, and… who’s at fault?

    Can the issue sometimes come down to human error? Sure. That happens, as well. Makes a team look bad, surely, but even I, in my experience and standards, have made mistakes at some point; consistent flawlessness do not exist. Unless you are at the Burj-al-Arab… which is clearly not in any classifiable standard; it’s in a league of its own, as reflected even in the price.

    Which brings me to my next point: in business, like in life, you win some and lose some. Loss mitigation is something every business looks at, in its risk management dynamics. And as a business, it’s about the bottom line. Always. Even if you take a hit, and lose some today, that action should help you rebound and profit over the long-run. If the decision to have a vestal virgin wipe your ass with an Egyptian cotton cloth is not cost effective, we’ll not implement it; we’ll take the hit… and lose you.

    We anticipate issues. That’s why we have managers, concierge, teams. Some issues can be solved, some can’t. Or are you that naïf to not know this? Deal with it. You’re a big boy (judging from your quasi-Peter Griffin-like mug, I’d say “quite literally”).

    Now, my first point was exhaustive and lengthy; the remaining retorts will be shorter

    Point 2:
    A hotel is in the business of making money… by renting rooms – not by being your damn Internet Service Provider. Rooms Division is ALWAYS the biggest revenue-generating aspect of a hotel business. F&B (Food and Beverage) follows in suit. Not every hotel has a restaurant, although this is the case with 3* and below; it is a standards requirement for 4* and up, however.

    So, who says wi-fi HAS to be included? It’s an auxiliary, an up-sell, an extra. Remember: WE SELL ROOMS, FIRST AND FOREMOST! If you need wi-fi that badly, upgrade to Business or Exec level accommodation (in which case, you’re paying for it anyway).

    Point 3:
    You KICK them to the floor? What kind of animal are you, Mr. Cro-magnon? Give me a good idea of your standards of higyene, if you like to KICK stuff to the floor. But, aside from the fact that WE normal people will usually take the wholly staggering 5 seconds to fold up a runner, and put it aside…. I’ll take confidence in knowing that it will be just fine on the floor, since we clean it everyday. I get the sneaking suspicion, given your propensity for preferring the floor to a drawer or desk surface for stowing the runner, that’s not and indication of what I would likely find in terms of hygiene in your house.

    By the way, we DO wash them. Every time. And that goes for the ones we use in our restaurants, bars, and Exec Lounge, as well.

    Point 4:
    I agree that towel rails are more convenient, and handier. They also allow for heating the towels, in the case of heated rails. Hooks work, if it’s functionality we’re looking at. But yes, rails are better. However, when you check in to a room with hooks in your bathroom, the towels are hanging on the hooks; they’re not on the floor. If it falls on the floor, it means you touched it. How about you try some grace and elegance in your movements, next time. The finesse will pay off rewardingly in social circles. You’ll thank me for it. In fact, you should thank me (two can play the self-righteous, arrogant, high-and-mighty game).

    Point 5:
    Right… so a car should have a seat and a steering wheel, only. If I press this pedal, it accelerates; if I press this other one, it brakes. And this thing, if I turn it, it should go left or right, accordingly. REALLY? Is that truly ALL it should have? You know what, I think I’ll take my car over yours anyday. Don’t worry, I can cope with the added mental challenge of epic Einsteinian-level difficulty, to figure it out. If you can’t figure out an air-con, I am duly concerned for your intellectual, cognitive faculties.

    It’s called technology, Bubba.

    Next time, let us know in advance of this particular requirement, stemming from your evolutionary défaillances; we”l be happy to put a fan in your room instead. But, be forewarned… it will be tricky, because it has a button for high-speed, and one for low-speed… and a little button on top for “move/stationary”. If you have difficulties with that, our Duty Manager will be pleased to assist. He’s trained… in this, and Candy Crush. We have him pass level 128 for us, when he’s not busy picking up runners that have been kicked to the floor.

    Point 6:
    I’ve worked (and stayed in, thanks to generous Manager discounts), in a MASSIVE amount of hotels, and have never come across a hotel that didn’t have black-out curtains (which were on rails, not hooks; we DO try to please people like you, as irrational as this dedication on our part may be).

    In fact, some of them even had additional black-out SCREENS, which could be lowered with the touch of a button…. next to the air-con controls. Challenging, I understand. A button. Gasp. Perhaps, you prefer a crankshaft with pulleys, to activate it. Sure, it will make noise, but our rooms are sound-proof.

    Really, the more I read your post, the more it sounds like you spend your time in hostels, rather than hotels.

    Point 7:
    Jalapeño enema? Oh dear, is this the summa – the expressive pinnacle – you are able to achieve, to articulate and substantiate any pertinence to the theme of this post? Looking beyond the offensive appellation with which you’ve labeled the professionals of this industry, I am astounded by your extraordinarily limited degree of eloquence.

    Technology changes, and we keep abreast of it. We have to. But we cannot cater for every possible occasion and occurrence. If Apple wishes to be whimsical, in changing the attachment to the power supply of the new MacBook Pro, or iPhone, so be it. Take it up with them. I’m not presenting a case of “Ad hominem tu quoque”, here (you can Google it).

    We have adaptors; ask concierge (they can also explain how to use one, if you find yourself impaired in the process). After all, we are in the business of providing rooms to people coming from different countries – we have adaptors. ASK.

    Perhaps I speak out of ignorance of not having tried, but… I simply cannot draw a parallel, in terms of the inconveniently discomforting hardship between a jalapeño enema… and an incompatible docking adaptor. I’m trying to work with you here, and keep an open mind… but it’s not proving fruitful on my end, despite my committed endeavour in doing so. And Fergal Sharkey?! Bloody hell…

    Well… look, to each his own, I suppose. I prefer Led Zeppelin, and my jalapeños on nachos, rather than up my backside… but that’s just me.

    Point 8:
    Hotels have a range of pillows. These range from cervical support pillows, to synthetic filling for folks allergic to down, as well as thinner pillows. Some are often in your cupboard. If not, ring Concierge or Housekeeping – our Duty Manager will bring them to you as soon as he’s finished passing level 174 on Candy Crush Saga for me.

    Oh… interesting that you don’t mind paying for “special interest” films, but are whinging over the cost of a Wi-Fi voucher. I think you need to sort your priorities, in what you expect from a hotel. Oh, and sort your love life. Start by losing some weight, and being less of a bollocks with an attitude. Again, you should thank me, because I am awesome, as are my insights.

    Point 9:
    Your fondness of the “F” word starts to become more and more understandable; your “special interest” references, and your “therapeutic massager” do give you away, betraying you. It becomes increasingly evident how out of touch you are in social relations, when your post is nothing more than smearing an industry, and hurling anathaema at its operators, and a fixation with auto-stimulation. Are you married? I do sympathise with her. Oh, you’re not? Well, I can see why.

    But I digress.

    You see, I have had the displeasure of dealing with guests such as yourself, who will claim that “no one cleaned under my laptop, there’s dust.” You cannot win them all. Yes, we have standards and operating procedures, but if your room looks like a bomb site, it makes it very, very difficult to work in accordance to a standard. In which case, you’ll come back to your room, and distract my Duty Manager who has only 3 moves left to pass the level on Candy Crush.

    Some things MUST be moved. Personal effects, we always try to avoid touching, unless absolutely necessary to ensure we operated as closely in line with our standards as was possible. Don’t worry, we’re also discreet: we won’t thumb through, or tell anyone, about your stash of German hard-core magazines, next to your therapeutic massager. We’re better than that. WE are, anywyay. It’s about ETHOS, which is far more pertinent in my argumentation and my staff’s performance, than in your misplaced usage of the word.

    Point 10:
    You don’t sound like much of a prepared traveler, if you’re toting around all that stuff, and haven’t had the foresight to invest in an extension lead… especially since your “megalodon” wallet shouldn’t be overcome by strain or duress, in doing so.

    I’ve never seen a socket UNDER a bed. I have found items more conducive to the identification of individuals with a taste for your kind of “sexual self-pleasuring” lifestyle… but never sockets. There are plenty of sockets, strategically located in convenient, accessible points. If you struggle to get to some of these, sounds like you could do with disposing of some excess adipose tissue.

    Really, it’s not THAT hard (that’s what she said).

    Point 11:
    If I had £1 for every person who ordered “Room Service”, but forgot their “Do Not Disturb” sign outside the door… or requested Concierge pick up their luggage, or be knocked up when their taxi arrives, or complained that their room wasn’t serviced while they were out in Patpong looking to exploit young Thai bar-girls, or requested additional pillows from Housekeeping, or did not check out at 7am when they said they would do (because they had a flight – à la “MAKE SURE I GET MY WAKE UP CALL!!”), and about a dozen or so other situational issues… I’d have retired years ago.

    These episodes of forgetfulness on the part of guests, put us in a difficult operational dilemma. Do we infringe, to ensure the guest gets what they want, or do we abide by the “DND” sign on the door, and come up short in fulfilling their requests / needs… with complaints sure to ensue thereafter.

    Do your part, be conscientious and remember that you left your sign out there on the door… and we’ll save precious oxygen ourselves, by not having to ring you up, or taking the service stairs to get to your room, to find out what happened.

    All of this being said, I think your next worldly travels should take you to Lourdes, where you can exorcise whatever wild hair you have up your arse. I don’t know what which gives you the self-annointed sense of delusional grandeur that you can write a post with that kind of offensive, undermining language, and expect to be taken seriously… even if some points are semi-valid.

    Oh, and when you DO go to Lourdes, try a staying in a cave – don’t stay in a hotel this time. You’ll do all of the industry a favour.

    -Josh Harris

    Reply
    1. Hugo

      Myriam from Belgium, August 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM De ligging is ueietsktnd, prachtig zicht over het , fantastisch vriendelijk personeel, privestrandje met ligbedden ,kamers zijn netjes met safe op de kamer, lekker ontbijtbuffet, goed dagmenu tegen lage prijs. Kortom een geslaagde vakantie!

      Reply
  3. Chris Stocks

    Wow Josh. Overreaction much? Sure Gareth is being a little sardonic, but you’re writing like he’s filled in a feedback form at your Hotel, spat in your coffee and then run over your cat. Pretty sure his observations match a lot of travellers – I know I related to the majority of them. It is hoteliers who are reluctant to take feedback on board that give your industry such a bad name. Have a cup of tea and a lie down. Sounds like you need it.

    Reply
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