Posts Tagged 'hotel'

Bullet Thoughts // 12.19.08

It’s only 5 more days until Christmas and I haven’t done my gifts shopping yet.  It’s probably because, for a while now, I’ve been so over the whole gift-giving at Christmas thing.  I don’t see the point of it anymore, and am actually irritated when other people make such a big fuzz about it.  Some of my relatives go to great lengths to out-gift other people, and that annoys me the most.  This year, I’m going to go simple, not just for me to but my intended recipients.  In fact, I probably won’t shop until Monday or Tuesday and even then would not make a big deal about it.  The most important part for me is to be around family during Christmas.  If I have that, everything else becomes secondary.

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I went to the art museum today and forgot how awesome P-Town’s culture central truly is.  They featured an exhibit of photographs depicting the Columbia River Gorge over 80 years.  It was interesting to see history unfold in the photographic series, and it was great to also learn about the evolution of the art of photography.  I meandered through the other exhibits as well, all in all spending a couple of hours within its cultured halls.  For a measly ten-dollar ‘donation’, I feel like I’ve gained so much in terms of my art awareness.

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Today is Day 9 of my running moratorium and it’s driving me insane.  Of couse, the snow on the ground is making things less painful, but even the treadmills at the gym are taunting me.  It’s so much so that I haven’t stepped foot inside the gym in several days, and I can feel the calories setting up camp.  Sure, I’ve incorporated long walks, even in zero degree temperatures, but it pales in comparison to my long runs.  Those awesome, invigorating long runs.  O, how I miss them so!  The only thing keeping me from going berserk is that I just have to hold out till Wednesday, when my two weeks of ‘no running’ is officially over.  Only then did my doctor say I could begin running again.  He warned me to start slowly, however.  I’ll try.

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I had yet another hotel related dream last night, only this time, I was a hotel guest rather than an employee.  However, for some odd reason, I was also some sort of secret agent or something.  I can’t remember the details of the dream now, but I can vividly recall a scene where I used one of my suitcases as a weapon during an impromptu fight scene in the hotel lobby.  And, boy did I have some moves!  It was Jet Li-meets-Daniel Craig but had a sort of Die Hard feel to it.  I don’t remember what the hell the dream was all about, why I was at the hotel, or why I was a secret agent, but that was one awesome scene.

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I’m so tired of this snowy weather…

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WTF is My Subconscious Mind Telling Me?

So, last night, I had yet another dream in which I worked at a hotel. In my dream, the most vivid recollection was a scene in which I was assisting a husband-and-wife with an “issue” they were having over the “cleanliness” of their hotel room. I’ve noted the words in quotation marks because, in my dream, I had a feeling the couple was stretching the truth in order to get something for free. (This was an unfortunate normal occurrence especially at luxury resorts.) The curious part is that I accidentally happened upon the couple as they were discussion their “issue” in the hallway outside the room. For some reason, as they were talking, two of their neighbors were also there, but not for support. The neighbors– whom they didn’t know–  were actually calling the couple on lying about their complaint, and an argument ensued among them. That was when I stepped in and escorted the couple to another, more private spot of the hotel in order to discuss their “issue.” This was also when the dream ended because I suddenly heard my car alarm going off (at 5am!), which instantly jolted me out of my slumber.

Perhaps about a week ago, I’d had yet another hotel dream. In that dream, I was helping a “group check-in” and I was actively managing the flow. One of the guests approached me, saying that her luggage had not arrived with the rest of the group’s. I don’t recall much after that. I’m certain that I assisted her but I cannot remember in which way.

It’s been nearly three years since I walked away from the hotel industry, saying enough is enough. What are these recent dreams telling me? Do they have any literal connotations or are the settings being in a hotel purely coincidental, as if my brain needed to place me in ‘familiar environs’ in order to provide context to the situation? But, if that were the case, why couldn’t it be at my present workplace?

Dreams are strange sometimes– okay, nearly all the time– and it’s often frustrating trying to find meaning in them. But, then again, maybe they’re nothing more than a result of an active imagination.

Go Ahead, Punk. Make My Day.

Much like the airlines with their available seats, hotels generally sell more than their available inventory of rooms in order to ensure 100% occupancy.  This practice is industry-wide.  You would find even the swankiest of digs doing it.  And, why not?  Why would a hotelier want empty rooms?  “Heads in beds” is a mantra every hotelier is chanting, and overselling is one of the methods of achieving it.

How is this done? A hotel typically has cancellations or no-shows for their room reservations.  Hoteliers must look at historical data in order to “forecast” the number of expected cancellations and/or no-shows for any given date.  Then, the hotelier will “oversell” the hotel by or close to that number.  For example, if a 100 room hotel has shown an average cancellation of 10 rooms on the second Sunday of July, the hotelier will sell 110 rooms for that day, hoping that the same number of cancellations and/or no-shows occur.

What is the downside? Of course, this method can totally backfire if the forecast is wrong or the travel behavior suddenly changed for that year, which could end up with 10 people showing up at the hotel that is already fully booked.  This would generally result in those 10 people being “walked” to another hotel.  “Walking” or displacing a hotel guest is overall a discomforting experience both from the hotelier’s perspective and the guest’s.  There are plenty of reasons why hoteliers should never walk a guest inasmuch as there are reasons why they should.  And, if this experience is indeed bad for business, why hasn’t it ceased?

When is this not a good thing to you? “Walking” the guest often happens between midnight and 6am the following morning.  This means that you, the guest, have either been traveling all day or had to catch a red-eye flight to arrive where you did, which also means that you are already not in a great mood.  And, in spite of how beautifully that helpless third-shift Front Desk Agent or Manager describes the other hotel where you’ll be spending the night, all you want to do is get into bed.  This also does not benefit you if you were only in that city for that night and had to catch another early flight or make an early meeting at that hotel the following morning.  Being “walked” is also not a good thing to happen to guests who’ve saved up money and planned for months for their one night in a ultra phat joint.

How does this benefit you? If you happen to be one of those unlucky travelers who end up being walked, take heart.  Typically, you will be walked to another hotel of comparable value and it would often be for just one night.  Also, generally, the hotelier who has temporarily displaced you for that evening will pay for your accommodations at that other hotel, and would often include additional “bonuses” such as free breakfast, long-distance phone calls, etc.  They are, after all, trying to lessen the impact of the displacement.  Then, when you return to their hotel on the following day, you are often treated as royalty, sometimes given a room upgrade, welcome amenity, and other offerings.  After all, they are now trying to win you back.

Regardless of how may feel about it, “overselling” and “walking guests” will remain standard practices in the hotel industry.  If it happens to you, try not to view it too negatively and, instead, focus on the positives. 🙂

You Think That Bedspread Is Clean?

I was in the hotel industry for over 18 years before finally acknowledging that enough was enough. In the nearly two decades that I was immersed in the ins-and-outs of that industry, I discovered many aspects of its operation that the knowledge of which would make anyone outside of the industry cringe. Former industry colleagues of mine who read this blog may view this post as a betrayal of sorts. I would prefer to treat it as a PSA. Besides, some of the items I am about to reveal below have been included in past exposes by popular media, so it’s not like I’m sharing anything that may not have been shared before. Sadly, one post will not be sufficient to share all my findings (or it would be one very long post indeed). So, I’ll be sharing these facts with you in parts.

My first tidbit: Hotel bedspreads are not cleaned between guests.

After a long day of traveling, that hotel bed may seem like an oasis. But before you leap from the floor and allow yourself to dive into the soft fabric of the bedspread, keep in mind that someone else was in that room the night before, and G-d knows what they had done on/to/with that bedspread. Depending on hotel’s par levels and/or hotel rating, bedspreads are cleaned weekly or even monthly unless it has visible stains or some other indication (like odor or wetness) that would require it to be cleaned sooner.

For instance, a 600-room hotel at 80% average occupancy (which means 480 guest rooms are occupied nearly daily) that has heavy “transient” business (pertaining to a room turnover after only one or two nights) rarely has the capacity to be able to clean those bedspreads after each guest departure. To do so would mean that they would have to have at least a “four par” of bedspreads (one on the bed, one dirty, one clean, and one in storage) to be able to change them out daily or as frequently as every guest departure. This would mean having at least 1,900 bedspreads on hand at any given time. Plus, think about the labor, electricity, water, and chemicals (detergents) it would take to make that happen. They add up to one spendy venture. And, with profitability always being in the picture, hoteliers must keep their CPOR (cost per occupied room) at a reasonably low number.

Additionally, Housekeepers (or “Room Attendants” as they are called in the more swanky locales) are given anywhere between 16 to 18 guestrooms to process within an 8-hour period. Making those beds is hard enough–can you truly see them lugging 18 rooms worth of bedspreads around? Unlikely.

So, what do you do?

Remove that bedspread. Most newer hotels– and definitely the swankier ones– no longer provide bedspreads and have opted for the more “chic” look of a duvet. You truly don’t need it to sleep especially if the hotel room has individual climate control that you can adjust to keep yourself warm during your evening’s slumber.

However, if you must have a bedspread (due perhaps to some Linus complex), ask the staff to provide you a new or clean bedspread to replace the one that came with your room when you checked in. Expect to receive snide remarks uttered behind your back or eye-rolling on the other side of that telephone. But, at least you will have decreased your chances of having your cheeks meet the surface of a potentially dirty bedspread.

Granted, luxury hotels like the Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons might actually change their bedspreads after every guest, but I implore you to take no chances. And, while you’re at it, ask for a new, clean blanket to replace the one your bed was made with. Chances are that it wasn’t switched up from the previous guest’s use either.

There you have it. More to follow soon. 😉