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Ask me a hotel question

Ask me a hotel question

Old Aug 4, 02, 8:11 pm
  #1  
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Ask me a hotel question

Another FTer suggested that I post this as a separate topic, as I'm sure a lot of you would be interested to know what goes on behind the scenes during your hotel stay.
I worked in hotels for many years, most recently in a five star international chain. I would be happy to answer any questions people may have about the hotel business.
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Old Aug 4, 02, 8:38 pm
  #2  
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You could always post one or two behind-the-scenes "war stories" to get the juices flowing.... (Is that a mixed metaphor or what?)


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Old Aug 4, 02, 8:41 pm
  #3  
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Thanks for offering to do this.

I would like to know what goes on in deciding whom gets upgrades. I've heard that there's a meeting in the morning when it's decided for the most part who will receive upgrades that day. What weighs most heavily? Status? Letters indicating it's a special time i.e. honeymoon or anniversary? Something else? Is there a best time to check-in to get an upgrade?

I've also stayed at hotels where it seems clear my upgrades are based more on how often I stay at that particular hotel than with hotels in the chain. In other words, hotels I have no status at, but that I've stayed with several times seem to upgrade me more frequently than hotels where I have status with the chain but have never stayed at that particular hotel. Is this pretty much the case?

How much leeway does the front desk person have in giving upgrades?

Thanks!!
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Old Aug 4, 02, 9:28 pm
  #4  
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I would be interested in the influence of travel agents. Do hotels really pay more attention to agencies who are part of the Virtuoso network, AmexPlat, Lindblad, etc.? Do their customers truly receive preferential treatment; if so, what happens to the commissions at the front desk (which you suggested in another thread) which are based on up-selling?
p.s. thanks for listening and posting this as a separate topic...this is going to be one great thread.
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Old Aug 4, 02, 9:49 pm
  #5  
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Great questions letiole -
Its my pleasure to help. Everyone on FT has helped me so much, I would love to give something back.
One quick disclaimer: this is what happens at the hotels I worked at, and is true of MOST hotels, not ALL. There are exceptions to every rule.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by letiole:
Thanks for offering to do this.
I would like to know what goes on in deciding whom gets upgrades. I've heard that there's a meeting in the morning when it's decided for the most part who will receive upgrades that day. What weighs most heavily? Status? Letters indicating it's a special time i.e. honeymoon or anniversary? Something else? Is there a best time to check-in to get an upgrade?

I've also stayed at hotels where it seems clear my upgrades are based more on how often I stay at that particular hotel than with hotels in the chain. In other words, hotels I have no status at, but that I've stayed with several times seem to upgrade me more frequently than hotels where I have status with the chain but have never stayed at that particular hotel. Is this pretty much the case?

How much leeway does the front desk person have in giving upgrades?

Thanks!!
</font>
You are correct that SOME people get upgraded in the morning. These are the people that are usually upgraded first (usually in this order of priority as well):

-Frequent guests of the particular property (not the chain).
-VIPs: Celebrities, sports stars, execs. of major corporations, GM's of other hotels, etc. Even if they have never stayed at the hotel before. This is for PR reasons. (I know it doesn't seem fair).
-Frequent guests of the chain.
-Bride and Groom having their wedding at the hotel.
-American Express Platinum or similar partner
-Honeymooners
-Anniversaries
-Birthdays (sometimes)

After this, if there are still suites available, upgrades are given to guests staying ONLY ONE NIGHT, based on room rate. So someone paying rack for one night would get upgraded before someone on a corporate rate for one night. However, if the corporate rate guest is staying only one night and the rack guest is staying two, then the one night corporate rate will be more likely to get the upgrade.

These upgrades are not given until the afternoon or evening and the front desk agent ultimately has the final say, not unlike a GA for an airline.
So always, always, always, always ask! It couldn't hurt. If it was your birthday or anniversary that week, mention it! Be friendly and complimentary.
Oh yeah and tipping helps too!

[This message has been edited by g_leyser (edited 08-04-2002).]
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Old Aug 4, 02, 10:02 pm
  #6  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by obscure2k:
I would be interested in the influence of travel agents. Do hotels really pay more attention to agencies who are part of the Virtuoso network, AmexPlat, Lindblad, etc.? Do their customers truly receive preferential treatment; if so, what happens to the commissions at the front desk (which you suggested in another thread) which are based on up-selling?
p.s. thanks for listening and posting this as a separate topic...this is going to be one great thread.
</font>
Hi obscure2k!
Thanks again for the great suggestion. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier!

In answer to your question, yes, travel agencies do get attention if they are an official "preferred partner" of the hotel, most notably AMEX Platinum (or Centurion). The others you mentioned I don't recognize.
Usually the benefits include free upgrades, guaranteed early check in, and late check out, and credit towards breakfast. These guests are also more likely to be "squeezed in" on a "sold out" night.

In answer to your second question: you cannot up-sell an AMEX platinum guest, you have to give them a comp. upgrade. AMEX regularly sends secret shoppers to their hotel partners to make sure they are giving out the promised benefits. However, if the guest would like to double ugrade then you can upsell to the next tier.

Keep 'em coming! I'll do my best to answer everyone's questions.
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Old Aug 4, 02, 10:06 pm
  #7  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by KathyWdrf:
You could always post one or two behind-the-scenes "war stories" to get the juices flowing.... (Is that a mixed metaphor or what?)


Kathy
</font>
Oh boy, I have so many I wouldn't even know where to begin... I'll try and compile some of the best for ya, but you'll have to give me a little while on that. Maybe another thread
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Old Aug 4, 02, 10:27 pm
  #8  
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--how much latitude does the front desk have in permitting a late check-out? --As we are, hopefully, anonymous here -- if one does want a late check-out, is a discreet gratuity, given, in person, more beneficial than the call to the front desk?
Also, would you recommend tipping the concierge upon arrival?
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Old Aug 4, 02, 10:34 pm
  #9  
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--How much weight is given to the "Guest Comment Cards?" Are they really read?
I can think of only a couple of times when a hotel manager wrote to me commenting on specific issues which I had raised--otherwise, generally, boilerplate responses. The most egregious one, was from the Hotel Bel Air where I listed a myriad of complaints and received a letter from the "manager' thanking me for my "kind comments."Morever, he was delighted that our stay was so "pleasant." (which, it , definitely was not).
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Old Aug 4, 02, 10:47 pm
  #10  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by obscure2k:
--how much latitude does the front desk have in permitting a late check-out? --As we are, hopefully, anonymous here -- if one does want a late check-out, is a discreet gratuity, given, in person, more beneficial than the call to the front desk?
Also, would you recommend tipping the concierge upon arrival?
</font>
Late check-outs are admittedly very inconsistent. If for example you are checking out on a saturday and the hotel is going to be full that saturday night, you are very unlikely to get a late check out because the hotel wants to get those rooms turned over ASAP. Along the same lines if you are checking out on a sunday and there are very few people checking in that night, you should have good luck. Here's a hint: when you call to ask for late check-out, first ask "is the hotel going to be very full tonight?" If they say no, you've got leverage. Its sneaky, but it works. As far as tipping for the late check-out, most of the time its cut and dry whether or not the agent can extend your check-out time, so you will probably be tipping for something you could have got for free anyways.
On the other hand, you should definitely tip the concierge if they have made arrangements for you. Some people prefer to wait until after they see if they like the suggested restaurant or show and then tip accordingly.
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Old Aug 4, 02, 10:57 pm
  #11  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by obscure2k:
--How much weight is given to the "Guest Comment Cards?" Are they really read?
I can think of only a couple of times when a hotel manager wrote to me commenting on specific issues which I had raised--otherwise, generally, boilerplate responses. The most egregious one, was from the Hotel Bel Air where I listed a myriad of complaints and received a letter from the "manager' thanking me for my "kind comments."Morever, he was delighted that our stay was so "pleasant." (which, it , definitely was not).
</font>
I can't speak for every hotel, but the ones I worked for took comment cards very seriously. Every single one received a response. I apologize, but I can't help but be amused at your Hotel Bel Air experience - talk about adding insult to injury!
Comment cards should be used to find "holes" in the hotel's service. If 6 people complain about the same thing, the hotel WILL notice and if it has even halfway decent management, WILL fix it.
At the same time, comment cards should be used to reward GOOD service. If someone helped you out, write their name down. It is always appreciated! Serious hotel people LIVE for that sort of compliment.
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Old Aug 4, 02, 11:10 pm
  #12  
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g_leyser--Many thanks for your very informed and prompt comments. I knew this was going to be an instructive and interesting thread. Indeed, I am, truly, a better informed traveler, as a result of your input. I am pleased to know that the guest comments are taken seriously and, yes, I absolutely, write down the names of those who have given me outstanding service. It is nice to know that it does make a difference. Now--a question: how much do the hotels save by having those annoying non-removable hangers?
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Old Aug 4, 02, 11:29 pm
  #13  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by obscure2k:
g_leyser--Many thanks for your very informed and prompt comments. I knew this was going to be an instructive and interesting thread. Indeed, I am, truly, a better informed traveler, as a result of your input. I am pleased to know that the guest comments are taken seriously and, yes, I absolutely, write down the names of those who have given me outstanding service. It is nice to know that it does make a difference. Now--a question: how much do the hotels save by having those annoying non-removable hangers? </font>
Hahaha, great question ! I don't know, but I imagine its roughly the same amount the airlines save by not giving you the entire can of pop.

I'm glad I could help in your hotel education, and that you feel better informed. Its interesting for me as well to see what people are wondering about. By the way I always bring my own hangers with me now.

[This message has been edited by g_leyser (edited 08-04-2002).]
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Old Aug 5, 02, 2:12 am
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First of all I would like to join the others in thanking you for being willing to share your expertise and knowledge with the rest of us. My questions are:
1. What is an effective way to complain about room conditions and/or service? As an example, I was at a Ritz Carlton property recently and found the bathroom to be in very unhygenic condition. When I called front desk and informed them of this they first put me on hold for 5 minutes and then came back and said someone would be up to take care of it soon. Half an hour later someone did come to clean the bathroom. That was not a very pleasant way to start a relaxing weekend. Any suggestions.

Also in the same vein, I have read many times that one should ask for upgrades but I never know quite how to put it. My concern is always that I don't want to tick the front desk personnel off. Any advice on how to approach asking for an upgrade without seeming pushy???

Thanks in advance
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Old Aug 5, 02, 4:56 am
  #15  
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Two questions for you:

1) How much are chambermaids supposed to be tipped, if anything? Also, is the rate at the five stars (i.e., $200 or $300 per night) inclusive of chambermaid gratuities? And is an additional gratuity obligatory for room service above the 18% added automatically?

2) Who is typically the best paid staff person, including tips?

Thanks!

[This message has been edited by anonplz (edited 08-05-2002).]
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