Today’s travelers have high expectations when staying in hotels. I get it. There are so many brands and styles to choose from and with so many reviews, it’s fairly simple to figure out which one has the best value. However, with these high expectations it is easy to forget about etiquette. We all want to get those complimentary upgrades and personal service, but it is important to remember to not leave common courtesy behind at the hotel entrance. Working at hotels, I’ve noticed 10 types of behaviors you want to avoid.
1) Do not walk up to the front desk and introduce your rewards status before your actual name
The front desk agent really does not care whether you are a preferred member or a platinum member. When you walk up and immediately say ‘I am a platinum member’ we immediately think ‘Must be a tough life. Your company sends you on trips and pays for your rooms. Meanwhile, this is my 10th day working in a row and my feet are tired because I have to stand all day for my job.’ Our instinct is to upgrade you so that you don’t complain about whatever you can think of, but also to make sure you get the upgraded room (if available) next to the noisy ice machine or elevator. It’s simple. The front desk agent decides whether or not they like you in the first 10 seconds and if they like you, great room. If they don’t like you, not so great room. They are the ones who assign you a room so please treat them with courtesy.
2) Please do not get upset if your name is not on the reservation and the front desk will not issue you a key to the room your friend/spouse is staying in.
Think about it. Would you want somebody issuing a key to your room just because they said they are staying with you? Here is a true story about an agent who made a key for a wife whose name was not on the room. The wife walked up the desk and said that she was staying with her husband, but lost her keys and wanted a new key. The front desk agent verified the last name, but did not verify the first. The wife finds out which room her husband is staying in, uses the key to unlock the door, and shoots her husband and the woman he is having an affair with. Not the best day for the agent. The point is, there are security protocols for a reason so please stop yelling at the front desk agent who is getting paid $14 an hour because it’s truly your fault for losing the original key given to you.
3) Do not expect a 7AM check in time because your flight arrived super early.
If you want a guaranteed check in at 7AM, book the room for the night before your arrival. Typically, housekeepers don’t arrive to the hotel at 8AM to start cleaning rooms. Therefore, if the hotel is sold out the night before, logically it is not probable to have a clean room waiting for you 8 hours prior to your guaranteed check in time. This concept is surprisingly really hard for people to understand. I once had a woman who tried to check in at 6:30AM yell at me for half an hour because a room was not ready for her. She was actually upset that I did not kick out a guest from their room before dawn and clean it for her myself. She ended up on the manager report (which exists at every hotel) and when that woman booked a room for the following week, I kindly called her in advance and told her that I transferred her room to one of our sister properties and that check in time was 3PM.
4) Just because a hotel upgraded you at your last stay, does not mean you are granted upgrades for the rest of your life.
It’s awesome that you were given a complimentary upgrade. I hope you enjoyed it! When you book again at that hotel, please do not give attitude that you did not receive yet another upgrade. Upgrades occur when the hotel is sold out of standard rooms, but have upgraded rooms available. Upgrades are typically given to reward members first, but sometimes it also has to do with the timing of the check in. Again, the front desk agent decides who gets the upgrades so being nice to them is going to work wonders for you. Also, if you slide them a $10, that is a pretty sure fire way of getting something for free. Just a tip from me to you.
5) If your room is missing shampoo, do not walk outside and yell at the first housekeeper you see.
I used to be a housekeeping manager and let me tell you, their job is not easy. They work at least 8 hours a day on their feet doing physical labor cleaning up your mess. I was walking the halls one morning and witnessed a guest shouting at a housekeeper that their half bottle of conditioner was not replaced. The housekeeper was not even the one to service the room. If your room is missing shampoo, kindly call the front desk and ask them to deliver you a new bottle.
6) Do not ask the front desk which yoga studio in some bizarre part of the country that you are visiting next week is personally recommended.
I am not sure why, but there is a misconception that the front desk knows everything about everything. I can’t tell you how many times I have said ‘let me google that for you’ in my lifetime. Meanwhile, 8 times out of 10, the guest was standing right in front of me browsing Instagram with their own smartphone. Here are a few questions I have actually been asked.
- Do you speak Japanese?
- Which Marriott in Brazil do you recommend and does it come with complimentarybreakfast?
- What is the weather going to be like in Tulsa tomorrow? (The guest and I were both in NewHampshire)
- Are you able to book my flight for next week? (It’s amazing how many times I got asked this.I work at a hotel.)
- I have a pair of jeans put on the side for me at a True Religion only 25 minutes away. Canyou or somebody else go and get them for me before I check out? (I barely have time to step away from the desk for 20 seconds to go to the bathroom. Let alone run your errands for you.)
If you ask a ridiculous question, you can 100% guarantee that the front desk is going to joke about it with other staff members. The rest of your stay may involve hotel employees giving you the side eye and snickering, but you will never be sure they are actually talking about you (they are.)
7) Do not try to pull one over on the security team and tell them that somebody stole your Gucci handbag.
There are a surprising number of guests who try to get compensated for items they never owned in the first place. Hotel employees can tell when you are lying. If you are wearing crocs and $10 sunglasses, it is pretty obvious you did not have a designer purse. Sorry to judge, but seriously, you should be sorry for trying to get a housekeeper fired. You will end up on the manager report and we will pay extra attention to you next time you check in (and not in the good way.
8) Do not complain about your entire travel experience to the front desk agent checking you in.
Yes, it stinks that it’s raining outside and your flight was delayed by 3 hours and you were sat next to a screaming child. It also stinks that it was really hard to get a cab and that our hotel is located in the middle of the city with lots of traffic. The front desk agent has heard it all and none of it is their fault. The truth is, they probably were working until midnight last night and then got assigned to work at 7 am the next day. They have their own problems to complain about. We get that you had a tough time getting to the hotel, but a simple ‘Boy am I glad I am here’ will do. In fact, we will probably respect you more for it.
9) Please do not give a hotel a bad rating because you heard street noises outside while you were trying to sleep.
Those hotel ratings are something the hotel is measured against within their company. It gets addressed every day in staff meetings and the entire hotel is constantly doing whatever they can to improve their score. Therefore, if you give a hotel a 1 because of the firetrucks you heard in the middle of the night, perhaps book a hotel that is not located in downtown Chicago. It is not the hotels fault that street noises exist in the middle of a city. If you want great location, it comes with a price, but don’t take it out on the surveys.
10) Do not complain that your room was not serviced when you had a do not disturb sign on your door all day.
Avoid calling the front desk at 10PM saying that even though you put a do not disturb sign, you are shocked your room was not serviced. Also, do not ask for it to be serviced that late because more likely than not, the hotel does not have a 24 hour cleaning service. Housekeepers are trained to not disturb rooms with privacy signs. In fact, if they do, the guest will complain and the housekeeper will be reprimanded.
All said, the hotel staff truly wants you to enjoy your hotel experience. However, it does not mean that you get to exert your worst self. If you do find something you are not happy with, absolutely bring it to somebody’s attention. The hotel will do its very best to correct the situation, but most of the time, it is never the fault of the person you are yelling at. Also, the person you are talking to is the person that can fix your problem so treating them with kindness is only going to work in your favor. Life lesson – the more positive you are during your stay, the more positive your experience will be.