After working at a hotel front desk for almost two years, I’ve learned some things that I do and do not like that people do. Of course, some things will be dependent on the type of hotel/resort as well as the locations. Others, though, will be universal. For example, I do like when people don’t interrupt me. I don’t like when people yell at me because they booked the wrong room. There are things that will make me go “ugh!” and complain when you walk away and others will make me tell everyone how nice you were. These are the things you should (and shouldn’t) do to be a better hotel guest and get hotel staff to love you.
Have your ID and credit card ready
When you check in, no matter where you are, they are going to ask for ID and a credit (or debit) card. I don’t care who you are or where you are, you need these at check-in, even if it’s already paid for. This is something you can’t get around.
The front desk staff will love you if you have it ready when you walk up, especially if you’ve been waiting in line and hear them ask other people for it. It makes the process go a lot faster if you have it ready and don’t have to dig around for it. I would also recommend calling ahead if you’re going to have someone else check in so they can make a note of that.
Don’t interrupt them
UGH! This is literally, the worst. I have my check in spiel down to nothing. I tell you what you’re signing for, where your room is, and the one restaurant’s hours. Save your jokes and questions for the end of the spiel. And if you accidentally interrupt, don’t worry, it happens. Just apologize and let them finish. I even do that sometimes.
This goes for the front desk agent being on the phone or with another guest, too. Let them finish and don’t try to ask questions and talk to them while they’re busy. I usually try and say “I’ll be with you shortly” or at least acknowledge them and smile if I can’t say anything. I will help you, don’t worry.
I remember the people that bring treats and I’ll do pretty much anything I can to make their stay better because they’re also super nice and friendly. Don’t just bring candy, but like, chips or those peanut butter pretzel things. A mix of salty and sweet is good so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Everytime I see snacks in the back office, I say Oh, is Mr. Always Brings Snacks here?
In the same vein, if you bring food and won’t be able to finish it, leave it in the room for housekeeping or ask at the front desk if anyone would want it, especially at seasonal type places in or around national parks. I know we always appreciate it where I am because we’re so far from grocery stores, so produce is always super awesome to have left behind. In the middle of a city leftover food may not be as appreciated, I don’t know, but in the middle of nowhere, someone will probably take it.
Tip them if they were really helpful
You should just tip housekeeping because they work really hard (unless they did a terrible job on your room or skipped stay over service, then let the front desk know), but the front desk rarely gets tipped and they tend to deal with the worst of the worst. If your front desk agent was super awesome and helpful, don’t be afraid to tip them!
I don’t get tips very often, but whenever I do, whether it’s $5 or $50 (only once) I get super excited and tell everyone. It makes my day. Don’t get me wrong, everyone appreciates tips, but some positions get overlooked when it comes to tips. Of course, it’s not necessary, but a tip will go a long way. I’ll make sure if I know who tipped me to do whatever I can for them in the future.
Don’t be demanding
Instead of demanding a different room (that you may or may not have booked wrong) ask politely if there is any possibility that you can switch. Now, I know it’s not always user error in booking the wrong room. I know our reservation line is terrible about getting the right room, but if you need a specific room, like ADA or downstairs or pet free, call the hotel directly after you book it to see if that is what you got and if you can change it if it was wrong.
Asking politely for things to be done makes it a lot more likely that that thing can be done or fixed if it’s in their power. Yelling might get you there, but it won’t get you any further. I know I would be less likely to go out of my way for you after fixing that one problem. If you got nicer I would, but not if you stay mean.
Thank them if they’re helpful
A nice “thank you!” or “I appreciate you” goes a long way! If someone was super helpful with directions or recommendations on things to do or see, let them know! That kind of thing can make someone’s day, especially if they’ve had some less than savory encounters before you. This could also be a good time to tip.
Another great thing to do is ask for their manager or supervisors email and let them know how great their staff was. Don’t forget to include the awesome persons name. If the hotel has some kind of online feedback system, drop their name on there, too so the higher up management can see it. At the same time, if you had a terrible experience, let them know so they can try to improve.
Book through the hotel directly
I hate third party booking sites. Like, really hate them. I’ve had one bad experience booking through them, but that was my fault, but after being on the other side and having to deal with wrong room, wrong day, or canceled reservations, I refuse to use them. You’ll also never see an affiliate link on here from any of them for this reason. If I won’t use it, I can’t justify promoting it to you guys. I just hate dealing with the third parties. I always make a face and groan when I answer and hear “this is Brenda from Expedia calling, how are you today?” It’s automatic now, I can’t help it.
What I do instead is go to Booking, TripAdvisor, Google, Expedia, whatever, to look at what hotels are available, then go to the official hotel website to book there or call the hotel directly. I might not get the great rate on HotWire, but I’ll pay a little more to have more confidence in my reservation.
Don’t get mad if your room isn’t ready before check-in
Check-in is at 4 PM, not 9 AM. I get going in early to see if it happens to be ready, because sometimes it will be, but it most likely won’t. Don’t get mad that it isn’t and ask when it will be ready. We don’t know. That depends on when the people in it leave and when housekeeping gets to it. We will do our best to accommodate an early check-in, especially if you’re nice, but it’s not always possible.
Your chance of checking in early is better after lunch, but it’s still not always possible. Just ask nicely. If it’s not ready, don’t come back every half hour to check again. Yes, people do that and I hate it. It’s annoying and I almost want to tell them no even if it is ready. I don’t but I want to.
Don’t complain just to get some kind of compensation
I actually saw this on a list of hotel hacks. Complain. That’s not a hack, it’s just mean! More on that in another post. Yes, if something goes wrong, nicely complain. The keyword here is nicely. Yes, certain issues warrant a discount, but not all of them do.
Again, if you have a complaint, be nice about it. I’m much more likely to give a discount if you’re nice about it than if you yell. Of course, if it’s something big like a leaky ceiling, I’ll give you a discount either way, but a hair in the bathtub, on the other hand, I’d most likely apologize and maybe offer to get rid of it for you.
Last, but not least, be nice! If you haven’t figured that out from this post yet, well, here you go. The best way to get hotel staff to love you is to be nice to them! They are human beings and can only do so much. Being demeaning and demanding won’t get you anywhere. No one likes getting yelled at, ok, I’m sure some people do, but most people don’t.
If you want to have a more enjoyable hotel experience, even when things go wrong, being nice to the staff will get you a long way. I’ll bend over backward for people that are nice, friendly, tip, or bring treats. The moral of this story, be nice!
Do you work in a hotel? Would you add anything to this? What can someone do to make you really like them?