I've done this for 5 years now.

I've learned lots of things about people, and seen lots more things.

Proof provided to mods.

Ask me absolutely anything!

Comments: 341 • Responses: 91  • Date: 

eyesearskneesandtoes40 karma

What do you have to do in order to be a five star hotel ? Why not go the extra distance and be a five star ?

Are there options for free breakfast ? what are they? do you do free breakfast ?

Saturday Night Bonus material : https://youtu.be/EKue7O_xGFw?t=1h35m56s

zariex70 karma

Really good question.

There's a lot of differences between that 4th and 5th star. Simply, that 5th star is consistency. Having that emotional connection, and deep service committment to each and every guest, 100% of the time.

We do not offer free breakfast, except to Platinum guests, who stay over 50 nights a year at our properties.

We charge crazy amounts for breakfast! $30 for an omelet! (a really good omelet!)

EDIT:

I also should add that Forbes audits 5 star properties. Think secret shopper. They book usually 2-3 nights, go to every single outlet, and interact with every guest facing staff member. They're checking consistency, and guest skills. The morning of their departure, they email the GM and ask for a meeting, to which the GM will make himself/herself available. They are very hard to spot, they're good at what they do.

Extra edit for clarity:

Hotel stars are achieved based on amenities provided. E.g.. 24-room service, concierge services, etc.

MjrMjr8 karma

What if the GM doesn't take the meeting?

Three star rating?

zariex36 karma

If the GM wants to keep being the GM, he takes the meeting.

MjrMjr7 karma

What happens if the secret shopper gets walked upon arrival?

I know this might sound like a smart ass question, but surely sometime, somewhere, this must have happened.

zariex2 karma

There's almost always a 'better' guest to walk. The Forbes agents typically book multiple nights in an upper category room, and have status with the company. Guests with this profile are very rarely walked.

It's a good question.

CPTLoggie37 karma

How can the lowest cheapest motel have free wifi but the ritz makes you pay?

zariex38 karma

I've worked for ritz carlton, they charge for everything.

Refill on your water? That'll be $9 sir.

CPTLoggie14 karma

Stayed there one time, dont know what people think the differnce is, it was no nicer than a hotel 1/3 the price

zariex28 karma

That's often the case. You have to understand too that there is a diminishing return with the hotel price.

At that point, you are paying for the brand, and the truth in saying that you stayed at a Ritz Carlton. There are so many brands that aren't as huge, that are just as good, if not better. I've worked for way lesser known brands that surpass Ritz Carlton.

AbuHureyra7 karma

[deleted]

zariex22 karma

St Regis is my personal favorite. W is a great brand too.

AbuHureyra2 karma

[deleted]

zariex6 karma

I completely agree on your St. Regis opinion, the NY and SF properties are my favorites. I've loved every Westin I've been to, their Villas are awesome!

Tezot33 karma

Funniest thing you have seen?

zariex326 karma

A WHILE ago, in san francisco.

It was halloween night, a couple of years ago. I was a night manager at a 5 star property.

This guy comes in the door at like 3am, no reservation. Swear to god, the guy is dressed like Neo from the Matrix. Black shades, trenchcoat, everything.

He drops the black amex on the table and says give me the best suite you have in the hotel, and it has to have a jacuzzi.

In my head I'm tired and I'm like, dude I don't have time for this.. But I look at the name on the Amex -- 'Elon Musk', I'm like who the heck is this guy.

I check him into the suite, its like $11k a night or something, to have it til noon.

Like 20 minutes later, the valet calls me and they can't figure out how to start this guys car. So I say okay, I'll call the guest. So I call him, and he answers and I ask how to start his car. (One of the teslas, before they were stock). He literally said "Just sit on the seat" and hung up.

It worked. Funniest thing I'd ever seen.

LondonBobo89 karma

we need a subreddit about the public's interactions with elon musk

kidcrumb21 karma

Reminds me of JP from Grandma's boy.

zariex3 karma

Was pretty close.

cyclicamp30 karma

What on earth could the valet have tried beforehand that didn't involve sitting on the seat?

zariex63 karma

There was no key slot, or push to start. And when the car starts, it's electric so it makes no noise. They couldn't even tell when the engine was on, because it was silent.

They just weren't used to it.

FullyWoodenUsername32 karma

Hello! Where I'm from, asking for an upgrade, a discount or things like that is considered as (very) rude / impolite. However, in every post about hotels and stuff, employees are like "yes just ask nicely, we often do it". Is it a cultural difference? Do you provide such offers? How is it perceived?

zariex53 karma

Hello!

It's in the way you ask, not what you ask.

"Hey I was just curious, I don't travel often, this is what I booked, any chance of a tiny upgrade? If not no worries."

And mean it. Don't be disappointed when you don't get it. My team(And most teams) are very good people readers, and have high empathy levels. They know when you're up to no good. :)

Good luck!

LikeableAssholeBro29 karma

What happens to the stuff that people forget in their rooms and don't claim?

What is the most memorable of such things?

zariex50 karma

Lost and found for 30 days, then we let the housekeepers have at it. When a staff member turns in an item, their name goes on it. At the end of 30 days, if no claims, that employee gets it.

FanOfTamago17 karma

Serious question...it seems like that policy provides an incentive to steal (turning in something nice but plausibly lost as "lost"). Is that a concern at all?

zariex32 karma

Ontop of us having cameras everywhere, the staff we choose to hire are very honest, good people.

When we have guests calling insisting that, "I know I left my macbook pro in my room, how did you not find it?" -- it's really not much of an incentive.

Honesty and selflessness are rewarded. They have to be, or we wouldn't grow as a hospitality company.

Dragonnidh6 karma

Interesting. I am working in a 4* hotel and we actually send theim their items back. Given that we ask their home address at the check in, we are able to return around 80-90% of all the items lost.

zariex3 karma

I've worked at properties that do that.

I've also had one of our l&f reps call a guest to let him know he forgot his watch. His wife answered and thought her husband was on a business trip somewhere else. He got in trouble with her. We got yelled at by him. Sad story.

bepseh20 karma

How can we (customers) make you guys and the staff in general like us more? I travel a lot for business and mostly stay in 5*. Reception and staff are very friendly but i always have the feelings their smiles and over friendliness is fake. I'm not an ass at all and always am very polite with everyone but i really want them to like me for real and not becausr the "customer is always right" sort of behavior?

zariex25 karma

Thanks for asking this question!

People(hotel staff and guests alike) can usually sense genuineness. People know when people are being fake.

First know, that smiling and being friendly is expected of them. A lot of them take pride in their work(I've worked with veteran doormen-30+ years). Treat them like people, and you will get the genuine respect you are looking for, then that smile will actually feel like a real smile, not staged.

If you want people to be real with you, be real with them. We're in hospitality because we like people. :)

Ideclareathumbwar12320 karma

Any tips to get free upgrades?

zariex37 karma

Totally!

Be friendly with everybody! The bell staff, the doormen, the front desk and the concierge!

They deal with a lot of turmoil, and they are very good hearted people. Give a little, get a lot. :)

Ps. Sometimes it helps just to ask. Don't be that guy who complains that "Well, the room is just going to be empty anyway..."

Ideclareathumbwar12317 karma

Do you always keep at least 1 room available?

zariex26 karma

Ha! No, but...

At my property, we will often sell out. And with our ambassador guests and VIP platinum guests, we are obligated to guarantee them a room at the drop of a hat.

There have been instances where I have been sold out, and I get a call that says so-and-so is going to be there in an hour, book him a room and upgrade him.

We will walk a 'regular' guest to make that room available. Not my favorite part of the job haha.

Davidss100019 karma

What do you mean by 'walk' them?

zariex49 karma

'Walking' a guest is:

Sending them to another hotel property(usually of similar caliber) when you do not have a room available for them.

Last week I had to walk someone to a ritz carlton. We pay for their accommodation, transportation there, and breakfast. We also invite them back to the property with an upgrade on a future stay.

Getting walked isn't so bad, you get a free night out of it. It can suck when you've been travelling all day though and walk up to the desk to find out they gave your room away.

MjrMjr6 karma

Has anyone realized their leverage in a situation like this and needed extra persuasion to put on their walking shoes?

zariex12 karma

There is no leverage. I have the keys to the room? Remember?

MjrMjr9 karma

Ah, maybe I misunderstood. I thought the scenario was... hotel is full. VIP is coming. Need to walk an already checked in guest. In that case, doesn't the already checked in guest have the keys?

Does that ever happen and if so, wouldn't the already checked in guest have a metric shit ton of leverage?

zariex8 karma

We only walk people that haven't arrived yet. Otherwise I would need to get real crafty with a solution. Luckily I haven't been placed in that situation... yet.

kyleb3506 karma

As a checked in guest, I obviously can refuse the "walk" though, right?

zariex3 karma

If you're already checked in, you can refuse, yes.

Lint0073 karma

I don't think you can legally kick someone out of a room they've already booked just because you need it for someone else. Or, if you did that despite their objections, there would be media hell to pay.

zariex3 karma

It gets contractual. Reservations holds the room until you get here to check into it. Checking into the room guarantees you the room until departure. We can't break the contract, and neither can you.

redct2 karma

Getting walked isn't so bad, you get a free night out of it. It can suck when you've been travelling all day though and walk up to the desk to find out they gave your room away.

Do you have any legal obligations like airlines do when the plane is oversold? Or is this just a courtesy thing?

zariex7 karma

Legally? We owe you the cost of the room, which we cover through the walk. Legally we're clean. It's your future business we care about.

PlainShadz1217 karma

What's the worst condition you've known a room to be left in?

zariex45 karma

Easy.. My very first hotel.

I started in housekeeping, I must have been like 2 months into the job.

Room 417, dear lord. When you walked into the patio, there was easily +100 empty crushed beer cans, spills all over the patio, all sticky. You could tell they had some people over.

Inside the room, the entire floor was sticky, to this day I still don't know why. There was blood on the sheets, blankets were ripped, the TV was on and had a huge crater in the middle as if someone punched it. There was birthday cake on the walls, the entire mini bar was emptied($300+), and the bed frame was broken.

Damage bill passed $10k. And it was a smaller 2 star hotel, so that was a ton. I think I still have pictures somewhere. We made a super funny book detailing the great legend of room 417. We used to laugh anytime someone checked in there.

Ideclareathumbwar12316 karma

How can you get away with eating from the mini bar for free?

zariex38 karma

More people need to ask this. $8 for a coca cola!?

Just take the stuff from the mini bar, then dispute it at checkout, or a day or two after you leave. Hotels rarely have deep tracking systems for their mini bars. And if you call and dispute the charge, 95% of the time, I'm just gonna take your word for it and take it off.

AbuHureyra14 karma

Please don't encourage this. Why are you encouraging theft?

Source: I did my time at 4 and 5* properties.

zariex34 karma

Why am I encouraging theft? Loaded question, I'm not.

I am providing insight into the processes of a system. Are there people that will take advantage of it? Of course. Are there more good people than bad? I believe so.

Me personally? I'm the guy that lets the desk know if something isn't on my bill that should be.

"Hey guys, don't forget to add that case of champagne I got through room service. Cc on file is fine!"

stugots16 karma

There's a lot of fear of bedbugs in hotels. How serious a problem have you found them to be?

zariex29 karma

We have a codename for bed bugs. 'Pixies'

We, like any 4 star property, take these claims extraordinarily seriously. I've worked in a property where we had them take over 4 rooms.

At my current property, I have never seen them. It's not in their optimal environment, which can eliminate a lot of the fear. Generally though, when people come to a 4 star property, that's not really a fear they have. Now the motel 6 a couple blocks over...

BoredHobbes15 karma

I hide dollar bills all over the room when I leave, does the maid get that ? I hope so.

zariex17 karma

Me too!

That's hilarious.

Williosa15 karma

What's your educational background? What does it take to become a hotel manager?

zariex31 karma

My background is a bit mismatched, I come from software development. Sitting in front of a computer, coding for 10 hours a day eats at you after a while.

This career is highly rewarding. The people you meet, the connections you develop, that means much more to me.

What does it take to become a hotel manager? Learn everything. Go into work with two goals in mind: Work hard, learn. The best hotel managers I have worked with have been the people that had true connections with every person on the team, real leaders.

If your goals are to learn, and work hard. The rest will come to you. I love my job.

E-sharp3 karma

What was your gateway into the hotel industry? Did you start out totally entry level or something higher?

zariex3 karma

I started in housekeeping, then worked in bell, door, front office, concierge, sales, conference services.

stugots14 karma

What's your opinion of the major high-end hotel companies? E.g., which ones are fading? On the upswing? Overrated or underrated? Have scumbag management?

zariex33 karma

I am a man of many opinions, since the Marriott and Starwood merger, the company has been growing.

The best companies will be the companies that know how to treat their employees. If you treat your employee's like they are gold(they are), that will trickle to your guests, and your guests will be well taken care of.

I won't name names, but I would stay think twice about companies that manage hundreds of properties, the employee-care philosophy can get lost in the money. :)

wazzle1314 karma

What's weirdest request you've fulfilled?

zariex66 karma

One of my other properties.

This guy booked the penthouse for like 4 or 5 nights. Something like $25k a night.

He wanted us to turn the entire suite into a discotec, so we did. He paid for everything. The floor, the lights, the DJ, the authentic disco ball. His bill broke $250k at the end of his stay.

I also had a sultan stay with us. He could not(did not) bathe in 'regular' water. He had to bathe in Evian water. So we would bring up cases of evian water, and fill his bathtub with evian water, like twice a day.

We charged him $600 a case. They probably cost us like $30.

ChristheGreek7 karma

So how did you warm the water up?

zariex27 karma

His servants(?) heated it up on the stove. All we did was deliver the cases.

AndreaDTX12 karma

What's the most memorable reason first responders (cops, fire, emt) have had to come your hotel?

zariex55 karma

I had to evict a guest around 1am one night. He was threatening one of the restaurant managers. He was super calm until the police showed up. He told me that I had to refund his room "or else" right in front of the cops too... I didn't press charges, I just wanted him out. Oh, and we didn't refund his room, fyi.

Not me, but one of my colleagues. Years ago in the hotel I was working at, in one of the restaurants. A gentleman came into the fine dining outlet. Sat down, ate a nice meal, nice bottle of wine, took his time. Pulled the restaurant manager over and told the manager to call the cops, as he couldn't pay for his meal.

Turns out the guy just had his wife leave him and take everything, and wanted one last good meal. The guy ended up doing like 3 months or something, then we hired him as a dishwasher. He ended up becoming a server a couple months down the road, he was a good guy.

SkintyMcFlinty12 karma

How do you deal with a guest dying on the premises?

zariex15 karma

None of us have medical degrees. We call paramedics, we don't mess around.

If someone is found dead? Never had that happen to me thankfully, but I call the police. They deal with it.

suchamumbore11 karma

Have you had guests stay for months / years? If so, can you tell us a little about them (situation / demands etc)

zariex48 karma

Rarely but it happens. Because of occupancy taxes, we cannot have a guest stay with us for more than 29 days. So what we'll do is we'll just make a new reservation for them on the 30th day.

There is this one lady that will stay at our property for 14-21 days at least 4-5 times a year. Her bill regularly breaks 30k$ everytime she stays.

They just grow attached, they like the people, that's what they come back for.

People don't pay for products, people pay for feelings.

CommonShank11 karma

Worst thing you have ever seen happen?

zariex55 karma

Worst?

There was the last of a wedding party hanging out in the lobby bar and the lounge area. You know, the folks still awake at like 2am, not wanting to leave.

They shattered a $4k glass table by one of the girls drunkenly falling on it. She then proceeded to throw up all over it.

Her husband came up and asked for a manager, I was nearby so I approached. He discreetly slipped me a $100 bill, and confidently let me know that he was a Platinum member, and it would be great if we could 'forget' this happened.

I politely returned the bill to him, and had to inform him he would be receiving an invoice.

We only charged him $2k.

davidfdm11 karma

How often are mattresses replaced?

zariex23 karma

Mattresses are expensive!

3~ years is normal, but we do a deep cleaning twice a year.

Do not trust hotel mattresses... even in 5 star properties.

rr9001310 karma

What do you mean do not trust? Like I shouldn't feel safe and clean sleeping in a hotel anywhere ever?

zariex20 karma

Hotels will use those mattresses til their last legs. But we do keep the guests comfort as a priority. We'll use the mattress as long as we can.

4 and 5 star, you should feel safe. Any lower, it just doesn't match up.

We have to stay the night here at least once a year. It's like the best night of sleep I have every year. We don't eff around when it comes to investing in good mattresses.

I'm saying keep in mind, there are hundreds of people that have slept on that mattress. We clean and bleach all of our linens everyday, cleanliness is no worry.

redhotchiliguy8 karma

I'm sorry but first you said:

Do not trust hotel mattresses... even in 5 star properties.

then you said

4 and 5 star, you should feel safe.

I'm confused

zariex7 karma

I guess I mean: keep in mind many people use that mattress. Just remember that. But in hotels that are about quality, they keep that in mind too, and that should provide comfort.

I can see how that's unclear

WindWalkerWhoosh4 karma

So what brand do you use then?

zariex11 karma

Check your PM.

hoho200011 karma

Can you tell when someone comes in with an escort/is there to cheat on their spouse?

zariex24 karma

For sure.

Checking in twice a month for a night, the address on your ID is in this town, you always pay in cash, and only list yourself on the res. Doesn't take a rocket scientist.

It can be interesting watching the walks of shame early in the morning.

hoho20003 karma

Ouuuu must have been interesting! Thanks for answering!

zariex7 karma

My pleasure!

themortiestmorty210 karma

Craziest request from a visitor?

zariex15 karma

I gave a couple of interesting stories in some of the other replies.

The sultan one was interesting. The discotec guy takes the cake, he was an oddball for sure. But with money.

MandlaEffect10 karma

What is the most disgusting thing you ever have seen/heared when working?

zariex24 karma

Some guests are really creepy. They have money but they're creepy.

I've had a complaint of a guest trying to invite kids into his room. I found him and spoke to him immediately. The second you start making other guests feel uncomfortable, regardless of circumstance, I take that very seriously.

cheechawcheechaw10 karma

Do you know where to get the best hookers/escort services in your town? Do you have their numbers on hand?

zariex12 karma

No idea, the guy in 812 might know though.

MagicNoodle10 karma

How often do you see the "$20 Trick"? Is it allowed at your hotel?

zariex26 karma

My front desk staff are very empowered, purposefully so. However, they're paid well enough that the $20 trick could work or could not. It has more to do with how you interact. They are very good people readers.

If you want an upgrade, just ask.

My best advice on the $20 trick. Just politely come to the front desk, don't force yourself up there, let the front desk agent lead. Have your ID and credit card ready, and place the bill on the counter and just say, this is for you. Don't expect anything, cause it's possible you might not get anything. But it does increase your chances, and hey, it probably will make you feel pretty good too.

If you want to tip them, go ahead. They'll decline the first time, but if you insist, it is rude to decline.

milo194815 karma

i thought he was referring to a prostitute...

zariex17 karma

We see those too.

The classy ones.

trailertrash693 karma

Is there no auditing of room class booked vs room class stayed?

zariex8 karma

There is, they know their limits.

I wouldn't empower them if I didn't trust them.

trailertrash695 karma

Which are what? Say i booked a standard king. At what point would an upgrade throw up a red flag. Let's assume this particular property has significant suite product.

zariex14 karma

If a guest is paying like $300-400(low end for my property), and I see them in the top suite($1400++) with not a single note, it'll red flag and I'll question it.

I give them a lot of leeway. Some would argue too much, meh.

trireme322 karma

For any hotel worth its salt, the front office agents and any member of the management staff should be empowered to upgrade room status, no questions asked.

zariex7 karma

Any upgrades have reasons added to the notes.

I don't question anything they do, as long as it's not illegal, or excessive.

Thesaxony10 karma

Ever been aware of a strange sexual occurrence taking place in a room?

zariex19 karma

Only when I get noise complaints.

ElectricInstinct9 karma

Hello! I also manage a hotel!

Do your guests also slowly suck out your soul, making you despise every moment you spend on this earth? Mine too!

zariex18 karma

Hello colleague!

My soul remains strong.

Don't sweat the small stuff. And PS... it's all small stuff. :)

Stay strong, friend.

ElectricInstinct6 karma

I've had a guy fighting with me over the last two weeks because he did not receive a second free water bottle at check-in. He wants his entire stay refunded over it. Every time he emails me, he makes up another lie about his stay, some of which contradict what he said in earlier emails.

The worst part, the incompetent people in corporate will likely just end up giving him his full refund.

zariex18 karma

Every hotel has people like that.

The back and forth emails tend to be(ARE) are huge waste of time. Apologize, give him the second bottle the next time he comes back.

Refunds and compensation can work sometimes, but more often than not it can be a lot better for the guest and for your business to add value instead.

Mr. Guest, I do apologize that you were under the impression the second water bottle was free. I have gone ahead and waived the fee for this error on our behalf. In addition, please allow me to personally handle your booking for future reservations, I'd like to ensure you receive a proper experience. Thank you, and looking forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

  1. Acknowledge the guests point of view
  2. Understand, and apologize. They look to you as a leader.
  3. Offer an alternative solution if applicable.
  4. *Be calm, but assertive. People can tell if they can tilt you, don't be tilted.
  5. Offer an instance of a 'next time' -- eg. Looking forward to speaking with you, welcoming you back, connecting next visit.
  6. Add value, don't take it away.

ElectricInstinct5 karma

Oh, if only corporate thought like you, maybe things would get better.

Of course, I've started where you posted. I wouldn't have made it this far up the chain if didn't do that sort of thing. Honestly, I'm not specifically bothered about this guy as by the trend he's a part of.

The main problem I have is that someone with a fancy MBA but no idea how to actually run a hotel decided to try to copy the Hilton by implementing a 100% guest satisfaction policy, where if the guest complains about anything, they get their entire stay refunded. Sure, this is great for corporate, but it stinks here at the hotel level (franchise).

Actual example:

A guest complained to me personally about a dog barking. I called the owner, who was outside at the pool, who came in five minutes later to calm their dog. The rest of the night proceeded smoothly.

Unfortunately, this event turned into two complaints and two free rooms. Dog lover is bothered that he had to come in to take care of his dog, and silence lover complained that he heard five minutes of barking.

At the property level, we've been thrust into a no-win situation and are forced to hemorrhage money. As a franchise this is killing our profits. Worse, guests have been making up things and posting them all over social media in attempts to get their free nights. This has been killing our bookings. If not for the fact that we are along the I-95 corridor in a very traveled section of Florida, we'd be dead in the water. (In fact, corporate has already closed down many corporate-owned locations with plans to close down several more this year.)

So yeah, it's not so much this one guest, but the fact that I have to deal with so, so, so many guests like this who know that they will ultimately get their rooms for free, and a corporate office who will gladly give the guests anything they ask for.

zariex7 karma

If it's any consolation, branding is more difficult than it sounds. "Hey, think of how many people would spend money here if we guarantee their satisfaction or their money back!". Sounds good, tough to implement.

Don't get yourself down over the pile-up.

Try to remember why you got in the business in the first place. Sometimes corporate is going to slap your hand, they slap my hand all the time.

I try to stop as many things from getting to them as possible. Think of someone you look to as a rolemodel, think of what they would do in your shoes.

There's things you have power over, which is a lot. And there's things you don't have power over. Usually it's better to focus on the things you do have power over, and that you can affect change in. Remember when you started, the reason you're doing this. It always helps me.

Edit: One last thing. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received: Nothing. Absolutely Nothing, is more important than your staff.

SarcastasticJenn9 karma

What's the scariest situation you've had to handle?

zariex46 karma

Scariest situation...

I don't really get scared, there have been situations where I've been like: "Oh yeesh, how am I going to explain this one.."

There was this one lady, she was the granddaughter of the founder of a very big magazine(vague on purpose, she's easily googled). Billionare lady, she has a long list of requests(demands), and one of them is that no males be present in the lobby while she checks in. So I had to have my male doormen, my concierge staff, and hosts take a 5 minute break when she arrived.

When the bellstaff escorted her to her room, she went around the suite ordering them to remove pieces of art and furniture. They called me to go up, but by the time I got there, she had already had them move like $25k in art and furniture outside in the hallway...

I had to call my boss right there and try my hardest to explain..

Clovus_Maximus8 karma

How often do you do deep cleans of the rooms?

zariex7 karma

Twice a year! Minimum.

aGeordie7 karma

If I book a double room that 3 people share because we like 3sums. Is that bad?

Like there's never an option on a hotel website to order a room for 3 people that doesn't involve paying for an extra bed and I don't want to call up and explain.

zariex7 karma

I don't know close the three of you are...

I don't care either. Max occupancy is 5 for a double bed room. :)

justapoorcollegekid7 karma

how much of a difference is there between the hotel you manage and a motel 8 in terms of cleanliness?

Obviously it will probably look a lot nicer in the lobby, but behind the scenes, is it really any better than any other joint?

zariex14 karma

In terms of cleanliness, you can actually feel it.

Think about when you go to your friends house for the first time. And right before you walk in the front door, you see a dead cockroach on the doormat. What's your initial thought of the rest of the house--does it give you that good, nice, clean feeling? That's the difference, it's a feeling.

Behind the scenes, we're as organized as we can be.

One of my favorite parts of working in hotels is that you can start each day in your morning stand up meeting, plan everything out. Today we're going to focus on this, we're going to improve on this, and really nail down this, ok go. -- Almost assuredly, by 5pm that same day, we have ended up in a completely different spot :P I love it.

mintyguava6 karma

Know any stories of cleaning services trying to get even on customers? Like if the room is a super mess they might give you dirty sheets and you wouldn't even know.

Do they peek at people's belongings? I know it isn't right to do so but I usually never have anything important inside the duffle bags.

zariex17 karma

Some housekeepers at lower end properties, I've heard of fishy things.

In general though: housekeepers are among the hardest working people I have met in my life, truly. They're like my family, we look for honest, good natured, empathetic souls to be on our team.

They won't touch your belongings or even enter your room if your dnd sign is on. But if you make a hell of a mess, they may talk some smack with us in the cafeteria. :)

commissar06176 karma

So, my only experience with a higher end hotel, was a gaming convention at the Hilton Anatole... re convention hotels generally operated different than other's, and what sort of unique challenges do such things present?

zariex6 karma

Oh my gosh I love big events!

Planning everything out, coordinating and making sure every cog in the machine is oiled and everything goes fluidly, is amazing.(If it works like it should)

They typically require a lot of planning, lots of manpower and foresight. We just finished a pretty big convention event, I love it. I can't wait for the one next week!

We have just as much fun as you do, to be honest.

commissar06172 karma

Well, the Hilton doesn't seem to agree... Lol... But apparently, someone poisoned the koi one year...

zariex3 karma

I have fun in whatever I do, you have to.

GenericUsemame5 karma

[deleted]

zariex6 karma

No one is ever in trouble.

They would be talked to, bodily hair on any guest furniture is unacceptable.

pensrock87115 karma

So how does one work their way to becoming a hotel manager, if you haven't already gone to school for it?

zariex9 karma

Work hard. Learn. At some point, a financial acumen comes important.

The rest just comes with experience. I promise.

jaxreeves4 karma

do you guys ever have available rooms and tell customers that you dont?

zariex4 karma

Sometimes we don't have the room you are looking for available. But the hotel is oversold and we still haven't sold the most expensive suite.

Hopefully that answers the question?

AstroZombie1384 karma

Are you on the Marriott or SPG side of the merger?

What can you see on my profile when I am checking in if I am platinum (i.e. number of $ spent, number of nights, number of nights at this property, etc.)

Are you doing keyless checkin? If so what do you think about it?

zariex8 karma

SPG.

I can see your status, how much money you've spent, how many nights you've stayed across starwood properties, how many nights you've stayed at our property, how many points you have.

I can also see every note from every single rep you've ever interacted with. They record phone conversations, they note literally everything. Literally. We know a lot.

Keyless checkin is fine with me. I'm kinda giddy about the Botler, I think the Botler is the shiz.

AstroZombie1382 karma

Well thanks for all of your work - I've stayed 700+ nights with SPG all over the world and it is my go to brand. I also love using botler. I remember when they were first rolling it out and I got to watch them test it.

I do love the keyless checkin also. If it is a property that I stay at frequently then I don't need any info and would rather bypass the front desk. The only downside is sometimes the splash screen takes too long and I can't get the elevator authorization in time.

zariex6 karma

Thank you for your loyalty! We're always looking for feedback to improve your travel experience!

zariex4 karma

If the rooms been empty more than a day they're re cleaned and replaced.

Bolasti3 karma

Hi There, thanks for the AMA. After seeing you're part of the SPG/Mariott merger have the rewards programs integrated? I travel for business and typically stay in basic corporate hotels Platinum with Mariott and IHG. Will Platinum status at Mariott be seen if I check in at SPG? Thanks!

zariex3 karma

Hello!

Thanks for being one of our platinum guests, our most loyal!

Very good question. Our systems have not been completely merged. (Some properties have, ours hasn't). If you link your spg and Marriott accounts some of your benefits include: status carryover(platinum at Marriott counts at Starwood now), you can transfer your points, perks carry over with status. You don't have one account just yet, but your two accounts can be linked to each other. Front office management checks the Starwood master arrivals report daily, which will include your status at Marriott if you have one. So yes, we will know. :)

theguybesideyou3 karma

I have had items go missing at the same hotel. What's the best way of dealing with this?

zariex3 karma

No bueno, sorry to hear that.

Most hotels assume no liability for lost/damaged/stolen items. If that hotel has that protection, there's little you can do to them.

Ask to check cameras, report to the police. Stop going there. That's about it, unfortunately. :/ sorry!

dangerousthrill3 karma

Hello there, hopefully you're still answering questions. I currently work as a front office manager at a high end private club, and have worked at a Marriott property before. Most places I've worked have been small (Marriott was 126 rooms, the club is 59) and I feel like it takes forever to move up in management in these properties. I've been at the private club for 3 years having started as a doorman. Do you have any suggestions for moving up in the hospitality industry? Should I try working at a larger property? I feel like if I wanted to move up to senior management where I'm at it'll take 20+ years, because that's how long all of them have been working here.

zariex5 karma

Sometimes you need to move around properties and expand your experience to move up. Sometimes you have to know people higher up that can 'vouch' for you. Getting a 'pull up' is fine, if you know you can do the job.

If your goal is to ascend, moving properties and expanding your circle could be the best way.

Work on your financial acumen. Senior management is training people to train people. Work on your relationship building. The rest follows.

Good luck, you'll get there.

Edit: big properties, small properties, different cultures and locations. That's what builds your experience, your resume, and your acumen.

dangerousthrill5 karma

Thank you, also it's encouraging to see someone else who likes this field so much.

zariex5 karma

Love what you do. And love the people you work with. Treat your staff like gold. Nobody is more important than them.

I'm tagging you so I can hold you accountable a year from now.

Avatar15553 karma

how many times have the walls of a room been covered in human feces?

zariex5 karma

Completely covered? Zero.

chemgeek333 karma

I'm in the process of booking a room for a conference and this made me think - one of the things I look at when choosing a hotel is free wifi because I'm deaf and use a videophone to make calls (data doesn't work, it actually has to be internet access). Paying extra for wifi rubs me the wrong way because while yes I might use it to check my email, I really want it so I can contact people (like my SO!) while I'm gone and it's disappointing that I would have to pay to do so if I stayed at nicer places.

After reading many of your responses about how customer service is more important at nicer hotels, I'm very curious - how would a 4/5 star hotel handle this? I wouldn't consider one for a conference, but would for significant things like a honeymoon/anniversary trip. I'm always super friendly to everyone, and I don't want to seem entitled or anything, I just want to make phone calls!

zariex6 karma

If you need it for your disability, we almost always make an exception. I always do. I don't mess around with ADA compliance.

Noticeably2 karma

How can you guys not afford good quality toilet paper? Why is the toilet paper always so bad at these hotels??

zariex5 karma

I dunno man. Our tp is like 9/10. Even guests take it with them when they leave.

urielsalis6 karma

You have rooms with bidet?

zariex4 karma

We do!

i-yodel2 karma

You said you were once a housekeeper. How much time did they give you to do a room?

zariex3 karma

I wasn't ever a housekeeper, I was a houseman. We needed to assist housekeepers with stripping rooms, running supplies, etc. they get about 15-25min a room - based on its state. Could be more could be less. Then a supervisor has to inspect the room and sign off on it, then they put it in the front desk inventory as a sellable room.

dreamspeed012 karma

Rate and occupancy last night?

zariex5 karma

I dunno, I was off the last two days. 95%+, probably 695$+

Invert122 karma

How do I get out of paying if I throw up in the room?

zariex3 karma

Don't throw up on anything that can stain. Best way.

Invert122 karma

If I tip the maid will they tell you guys or just clean it? Like a $50 tip

zariex2 karma

*the maid has to spend extra time cleaning your yakk.

*the hotel has to spend money to replace the linens you soiled.

They'll tell us either way, how much you think the tip should be is up to you.

missblackeyeliner2 karma

Favorite Starwood hotel in the US that isn't yours? Favorite hotel in US that isn't Starwood?

zariex2 karma

St Regis.

Amangiri. So cool.

Reddit_User4792 karma

What was your worst experience with a customer?

zariex3 karma

Don't even remember. I don't sweat the small stuff.

ramU582 karma

Do you ever room upgrade a SPG gold? I was briefly platinum (thanks to the challenge) and was treated on a whole different level compared to my gold status now. I think gold status states room upgrades when available but I've never gotten one while gold...Also, does booking with a AMEX platinum help with room upgrades? I've heard good things about that CC and curious if it's true. Thanks for doing this, big fan of SPG properties!

zariex4 karma

First of all thank you for your loyalty with Starwood, gold or platinum!

Gold status upgrades are not obligatory by the hotel like Platinum status upgrades are, SPG properties are more likely to upgrade you than SPG affiliates are. Gold status upgrades are upon availability.

AMEX platinum does not really help if I am telling the truth, the CC has decent rewards though.

SPG recognition is big. Our entire staff has access to the master list of guests inhouse and arrivals that display status. Many gold & plats will go out of their way to,"Just so you know.. I'm gold.. I'm plat... I stay x nights a year". Yes.. we know... in fact we can see down to the digit how many nights and down to the cent how much you've spent. We appreciate it, we do, but we have some bounds!

I think the CC is worth it, be be careful! Not every property participates! The amount of nights you are staying / the avenue you booked(via points/room rate) / and your stays with the property can often play a bigger factor in you getting upgraded. eg. if you are staying for 1 night, in a king bed room, booked at a high rate = way more likely to be upgraded when we're going over our arrivals list in our operations meeting.

Jim_and_sixes0 karma

Do you think that after what Maria Carey went through with New Years and all that maybe I'd have a chance with her now?

zariex2 karma

Any things possible man.

kingohara0 karma

Hello, my sister and her new husband are visiting. They booked a stay at a comfort inn around midnight because of a delayed flight. I offered to pick them up so they could save money on the room, so they immediately called back to cancel but the employee said she would have to call back in the morning to speak with the manager. When she called He claimed it was too long for his cancellation policy. This is after I drove 4 hours in extremely dangerous terrain during a snowstorm to pick them up.. Is there anything I can do that would persuade him to refund her? If not, what can I do to make him really regret not refunding her? Thanks for your time

zariex2 karma

Is there anything you can do to persuade him to refund her?

-- there's obligations with the reservation, like the obligation that if you don't show up, and it's literally within your control, you still have to pay for it. I mean, we took it out of our inventory to hold it for you.

What can you do to make him regret not refunding her?

-- please re read this question back to yourself and speak aloud that this is not petty. He's not going to regret it. He's holding up his end of the contract. Your sister isn't. Come on now.