How To…. Be A Good Hotel Guest

We hear a lot about what makes a great hotel. But what makes a great hotel guest? Here is a twenty-point plan on how to be a 5* customer in a hotel.

  • Book online. It takes ages to take a reservation over the phone and a long line will be building up in reception while you decide what you want. You will always get a better deal by booking with the hotel website directly. While other sites may offer lower prices, nothing extra will be included and you will likely get the terrible rooms.
  • Don’t arrive too early. Find out the arrival time and be around an hour later than that. There is always a huge queue at check in time and many of the rooms won’t be ready. Just wait.
  • Don’t arrive too late. The rooms are allocated as people arrive. The worst ones will be left until last (hoping the people in them will be so late they won’t notice the lack of hot water or the weird smell).
  • If your query is not important come back later. The other guests won’t thank you for holding up the line while you try and remember the name of somebody who used to work there years ago.
  • Pick your time wisely to pop into reception. First thing in the morning, middle of the day and during the evenings are all good times. The staff will be happy to chat to you and help with whatever you need.
  • The reason that check-in takes ages is because of mystery shoppers. They dictate a long list of near pointless questions that must be asked. Of course, you don’t want fresh flowers or a Sunday newspaper (nobody ever does) but we have to ask. Particularly if you are a solo traveller of working age. Mystery shoppers are always solo travellers of working age.
  • Check when the school holidays are, particularly if you hate children. It isn’t the hotel’s fault if there are children in the swimming pool when you wanted a quiet swim during a bank holiday weekend you hadn’t realised was on.
  • The question “what would you recommend” will cause alarm bells to ring. Nobody will have been there long enough to recommend anything. It would be much easier to google it. That is what the staff member you just asked has rushed into the back room to do.
  • If asked to make reservations for the restaurant, please do. It will be because they are short staffed – like every other hospitality business. Yes, there are loads of tables but there is only one waiter (and it is his first day). Please book even if it is just a few hours before.
  • Absolutely nobody has any idea why dishes or wines are numbered. If you order a 37, a 81 and a 12 to share, your order will be much slower as the waiter has to go and find a menu and look up what the dishes are. The kitchen staff won’t know either (they will be new too). Everyone will thank you for ordering the food by name. If you can’t pronounce it just point.
  • The croissants ‘delivered straight to you room from the local bakery’ are almost certainly frozen and purchased in bulk from Lidl. It won’t be worth the bother.
  • Before ringing to say you are missing something from your room, check the letter they gave you at check in. 90% of so called missing items turn up in the place it said they would be on the letter. Usually that place is in the wardrobe.
  • Overly tidying your room before the housekeepers arrive is very suspicious and will make people wonder what you have been doing to require all that tidying.
  • A particularly time consuming bit of a housekeepers duty is washing up the cups and glasses. If you don’t use them, the cleaning staff will love you. The stories about people washing their underwear in hotel kettles are spread widely but largely untrue. However, if it makes people use fewer cups, the cleaners won’t mind.
  •  This is an important one. If there is something you are not happy with, please let somebody know before leaving. There is nothing more frustrating that people moaning online that their easily solved issues were not easily solved because nobody said it was a problem.
  • Always ask. Unless the hotel is packed, it isn’t that hard to get that window seat or a better room. If you are a nice person, you will be rewarded. If you are not, you will get the minimum. Just ask (nicely). On that topic, it is very easy to get a gift if you say it is your birthday (don’t worry, they won’t check).
  • Check out is simple, just drop the keys in the box. If there is an outstanding balance, the hotel can charge it after you leave to the card on file. There is no need to queue up at reception unless you have something critical to say at that moment. Note: remembering the name of the person who worked there years ago doesn’t count as critical.
  • Please make sure you have everything before you go. Hotels get so many lost property enquiries it could be a full-time job. Many of the ‘missing items’ reported won’t ever turn up (presumably because they were not lost at all). At least 50% of them are regarding phone chargers. Also, nobody wants to put your half-used bottle of shampoo in the post.
  • After you leave, you will inevitably get a survey sent to your email. The results of all of these surveys are more carefully analysed than you think, the comments will be widely read. If somebody has done a great job, put their name in the survey for the managers to see. A description of what they look like and when you met them should be enough.
  • The hotel will do the best they can to give everyone a wonderful holiday. So, pick your moments and have a great stay!

3 thoughts on “How To…. Be A Good Hotel Guest

  1. I never worked in a hotel but I did several years in retail. I dreaded being asked by customers for restaurant recommendations. I hardly ever eat out – and only when someone else has invited me along and then I ask them to make all the decisions. One day, I fixed the customer squarely in the eye and asked if them if they would seriously expect an English person (I am in the USA) to know about good food. That shut down the conversation pretty easily. A coworker was a bit more caustic — and told customer that she couldn’t afford to eat at any of the nearby restaurants. Perhaps that was a bit inappropriate, indirectly suggesting she wasn’t paid enough. But it is a valid point in a way. Why would you ask someone who’s obviously in a lowly-paid job for restaurant recommendations when it’s quite likely that they probably can’t afford anything more than fast food?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having worked in Reception and Housekeeping over the years I found myself nodding away has I read this treat of a blog. Should be added on the reservation email of every hotel booking. Five stars to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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