You have just arrived at your destination, tired and bleary-eyed after a 20 hour flight. The airport was crowded, customs was a nightmare, and your luggage took forever to arrive. You would kill for a shower and a change of clothes, and your mouth feels like the bottom of a bird cage. Know the feeling? You arrive at your hotel, irritable and low on patience, only to be told by the fresh-as-a-daisy young lady at the front desk that your room isn’t ready yet. You could be forgiven for losing your cool and throwing a couple of expletives around. It may even be justified. But would you get the desired results? No.
The wise way to deal with this situation is to immediately do a check of the mental state that you are in. If your breathing is irregular, your heart is pounding, and you feel as though you could burst into tears at any moment, then you are in a state of high anxiety. Just take a moment to pause, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, and don’t speak until the feelings and emotions have passed. Then politely and assertively explain to the staff member that you are at the point of exhaustion, and could they suggest what would be the best way for you to get comfortable until your room is made available. It is at this point that you may be offered a complementary coffee or drink at the hotel bar/ restaurant. You may be lucky enough to get an upgrade. If it isn’t offered, then by all means ask for it. Staying respectful will ensure that the hotel front desk will empathise with your discomfort and will do what they can to rectify the situation in the quickest possible time. Becoming rude, loud or obnoxious will only alienate them and make them want to distance themselves from you.
A good idea is to advise the hotel reservation at the point of making the hotel booking of your requirements and room preferences (e.g. high floor, natural light, quiet, non-smoking), and the approximate time of your arrival. And if there has been a significant delay in your arrival time, do call the hotel reservation from the airport and notify them of your delay. This will ensure that your room is kept for you. These extra steps will keep the lines of communication with the hotel open, and enable them to serve you better.
Other great tips when dealing with Front of House staff is to find out who the front Duty Manager is when checking in/out so that you can make sure that they look after you and/or your tour group. Return your keys when asked, and give the front Desk reasonable notice of a late check out, so that their housekeeping staff do not plan their rooms and then change allocations at the last minute. Be cooperative when you are asked for your details, or when staff need a transaction authority.
Whether you are dealing with Front of House, the Concierge, Restaurant/ Bar staff or Housekeeping, learn their names and use them when communicating with them whenever possible. Maintain eye contact. Complement them on a job well done, and thank them for any extra effort they may have made on your behalf. It most certainly will be appreciated, and they will take more ownership over your comfort. A good tip shows that their hard work is appreciated.
At the hotel restaurants, treat all waiters and waitresses with respect. Should the food not be to your liking, report any problem with the food or beverage to the restaurant manager in a gracious and respectful manner, and he/she will communicate it to the Head Chef. You will not get better service by becoming angry. If you require special seating for a special occasion i.e. your birthday or anniversary, then book the restaurant when you make your hotel reservation. You will avoid disappointment by doing this. Mention what the special occasion is, and they may even do something a little special for you. It’s all about treating hotel staff like people rather than machines, and allowing them to do their jobs well. And if you want to be treated as a regular, then become a regular.
The Concierge can be like your best friend so treat him like gold. For you, he will attain the impossible, like those “sold out” theatre tickets, bookings to the best restaurants, and the best tips on what’s going on around town. Be charming, communicative, and don’t forget to leave a good tip.
In a nutshell, treat all hotel staff with respect and consideration. They meet travelers like you every single day, and if you happen to be the exception that makes their day, then they just might take the time to make yours.