Whether it is business or pleasure or somewhere along that spectrum, you’ll want your stay to be smooth from beginning to end. You deserve, and rightfully so, to have an experience worthy of your investment. To ensure your stay lives up to your expectations, I have decided to share a few suggestions. These suggestions range from housekeeping tips, check-in directions or billing concerns, just to name a few.
1. BECOME A SPELLING BEE CHAMPION
When conversing with the room reservation department, the front desk department or any other hotel department that accepts calls from guests as not all of them do, please practice spelling, if it’s A is Alpha, if it’s R it’s Romeo or if it’s Z it’s Zebra. When spelling out your name do it slow and enunciate, if reservation already made and speaking with the front desk spell the first few letters of your last name and the first few letters of your first name, most systems while quite a bit antiqued, are able to pull the right results where the person you’re speaking with, can easily spot it by verifying a few pieces of information with you.
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2. ENSURE A COMPLETE PERSONAL PROFILE
Make sure you have an up to date phone number, to be contacted when you’re in a queue and your room becomes ready, email address or two, one as a backup, for when a final receipt has not been emailed to you, believe me that will happen, a home address for when you leave items behind and need them mailed to you, just make sure you don’t leave jockstraps behinds, it’s pretty humiliating thinking about the person handling them to send them to you, I’m not a freak, I promise. If you’re using a travel agent have them add your loyalty membership number onto your reservation so that you could add names to the reservation sans the help of the travel agent, again, believe that will happen and it will be too late, as long as you have your membership information on your reservation you’ll be able to make certain modifications sometimes last minute, while not always guaranteed sometimes it can be a life saver when you’re still in the air and the rest of your party just arrived at the hotel and need to get into the room.
This one will be broken up into three suggestions.
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3. PLEASE BE PATIENT
From this point forward please proceed with patience, if anything it will be a great exercise for when you commence a hotel stay, these are unusual times, a vast majority of establishment are not sufficiently staffed due to a variety of valid reasons given the current circumstances, if you know what I mean. Please plan accordingly as having your luggage delivered, providing you with amenities, placing an order for in room dining or anything else for that matter might take more time than it normally would, I can personally assure you that everyone I speak with on a daily basis, the bell desk department, the PBX department, the housekeeping department and a few others, are doing their best to assist every single guest in a timely manner to the best of their ability. Being patient or not could make all the difference for some to avoid a complete meltdown at the end of the day and find the energy to do the same dance all over again the next day, service industry is not an easy industry, those working in it need some understanding and care as well, this is a two way street, take care of us and we will knock your socks off by taking care of you. It would be nice to not be in the vicinity of our breaking points for once and actually enjoy what we love doing the most.
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4. PLAN YOUR HOUSEKEEPING NEEDS
Since this once in a lifetime event rolled into town, housekeeping protocols have changed. Nothing is what it used to be anymore. In the interest of reopening to full capacity for most establishments it was imperative to adjust and adapt new protocols to ensure utmost cleanliness and safety for hotel guest to reside in and enjoy their stay in a safe manner. What I advised a few of my twitter family members is, do not assume housekeeping will have you on their radar every single day, be inquisitive and ask questions about frequency and thoroughness. Fine tune your stay by informing the hotel about your hotel needs with as much notice as possible, most instances of immediate guest room cleaning needs will not be granted for reasons mentioned in the previous suggestion. Whether having set up daily service at a certain time or declining it for the entire duration altogether it’s important you keep the housekeeping department in the loop. In the instance where your room was not serviced at desired time please consider showing you understand and are empathetic rather than frustrated and aggressive with personnel that had no control or whatsoever over how the events have played out that led to certain tasks being missed. Being kind goes a long way, allow the hotel to be apologetic and look into rectifying the situation in a timely manner. I can assure you most individuals are doing their absolute best but often times feel overwhelmed due to a sheer number of requests.
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5. CREDIT CARD AUTHORIZATION FORMS
There will be instances when business managers will need to cover the lodging costs for some of your employees that travel while representing the company, while some have their own credit cards, pay on their own and submit their final invoices for expenses but in cases employees don’t have cards with high spending limits a credit card authorization form. A few things to keep in mind. One, not all properties accepted them, before booking call and inquire if such forms are accepted and which charges can be covered with it. Two, some properties may not accept them if they’re not submitted within a certain time window, such windows have been established to give enough time to process the payment and ensure fraud is not committed in the process.
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6. METHODS OF PAYMENT
Would highly advise using a credit card for hotel stays as opposed to using a debit card. For one, the transactions that occur from using credits cards are processed rather quicker and generous spending limits could ensure a certain ease when extending your stay if and when needed. Generous spending limits will also come in handy to cushion you against incidental holds/security deposit that depending on each property can vary in amount and quantity. If you have certain spending limits inquire within the front desk department with enough advance notice about the total cost of your stay and the necessary holds in addition to it. The amount that will be placed on hold at check in more often than not is not the final amount you will be charged. If you have an email on file reach out to the front desk to send you a preview of your current charges and inquire if more room, tax or other fees will occur before the check out time. After checking out make sure you obtain a final bill with all of your charges. Depending on your bank, it may take a few business days for anything outside the cost printed on your bill to return back to the card on file.
Using credit cards also makes for correcting billing inaccuracies much more simpler and faster. I cannot recommend using a credit card for hotel stays enough. In fact, if you have good credit, consider applying for a good credit card that offers good hotel perks, one of them being American Express.
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7. CHECK IN TIME
For most establishments, check in time starts at 3 in the afternoon but keep in mind that it’s not guaranteed. Given the sheer number of late check out requests and insufficient housekeeping staff to counteract that, at times it may take a little longer to prepare most guestrooms for the guests arriving that afternoon. I will mention the following aspect a lot, considering the disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic this might be the new reality for the foreseeable future, please plan accordingly. Call in advance to request an early check if necessary, but as always, keep in mind it’s not guaranteed, in the hotel industry very few things are. Some properties have paid options for early check in, you can submit a request for one and are subject to approval based on availability. If approved your card will be charged in advance and an email confirmation will be sent out, if denied a notification in that regard will be emailed as well. The latter is valid if the hotel uses a third party vendor for it, if not it will be added to your reservation and authorized for at the time of check in.
If it happens that the room is not ready just yet, get processed and store your luggage with the bell desk, if such department does not exist ask the front desk attendant if they have a good place for storing your personal belongings in a safe manner, more often than not it could be stored in a conference room. It’s not guaranteed but it’s worth the opportunity to ask. While waiting for your room explore the hotel premises, familiarize yourself with the environment and strike a conversation with the front desk associate or consider having a drink at the hotel bar while waiting, just a few suggestions. Rest assured, an associate worth their salt will do everything they can to get you accommodated into a guestroom as soon as the circumstances allow. I, if I can say so myself, have performed a few miracles in partnership with the amazing housekeeping supervisors and their fantastic housekeeping staff.
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8. LATE CHECK OUT OPTIONS
Often times before departing you may need a little bit of extra time perhaps to sleep in a little, to take a refreshing shower before boarding a five hour flight or simply soak in the last moments of a great stay. Every establishment has its own late check out policy and such options are never guaranteed. They’re subject to availability where often times the occupancy levels of the previous and current day may play a big role in determining if some or any will be granted. More often than not late check out requests will not be granted in advance unless they are baked in into the offer the guest has booked. Otherwise please call early morning on the day of your departure. If you wanna get a visual of potential options don’t hesitate to inquire at the front desk but to know for a fact which ones are available, and I can’t stress this enough, please call on the morning of your departure day.
Some properties may offer free options, paid options or a combination of the two. If, for example, an option of a 2pm for a cost of 50 dollars has been offered the guest can either accept, decline or weigh on other options. Negotiating, bargaining and pushing for an option that has not been offered puts the associate in a very difficult position and more likely will not yield the desired outcome.
A good suggestion on my part is, sign up for the loyalty program the hotel offers, with enough long term spending you may qualify for guaranteed late check out options due to membership status.
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MORE COMING …
Thank you for sharing this list of suggestions, because you did that for me, it helped grow it by another two in just one hour and I got a lot more left over the next few days so please know this, you’re helping me more than you know, you’re helping me change my whole life.