Hotel Front Desk Agent

Hotel Front Desk Agent

Hotel Front Desk

Los Angeles, CA

Male, 27

For the past two years I've worked the front desk at a boutique luxury beachfront hotel in Southern California. My job can range from simply checking guests in & out to many other duties, including: pretending I work in different departments so that behind-the-scenes chaos is never seen by a guest, shielding guests from stalkers that come looking for them, and picking up used drug paraphernalia from a trashed room. Ask me anything.

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Last Answer on November 24, 2013

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Why do hotels ask how many guests will be staying in the room? What difference does it make to the hotel whether it's 1, 2, or 5? It's still just one room.

Asked by biggz over 6 years ago

As far as I know we have to for a variety of reasons: 1. Fire code in each locality specifies how many people can occupy a room in a building, this is specified when the building is inspected and brought up to code. 2. Hotel policy - A. To make sure that each occupant is paying their fair share to stay which protects the hotel's bottom line. B. To make sure that the likelihood of a party or other potential disturbance or unsafe event is decreased. Do people get around this policy by just putting "1" on the number of occupants and then bringing in six friends through the back door? Of course! But if they create a disturbance, I have that reservation stating it's only for 1, and our security officer can reference that when he knocks on the door to investigate.

How much of a hotel’s revenue comes from the $9 chocolate bars and other overpriced in-room snacks & minibar?

Asked by lolwut over 6 years ago

Depending on the financial structure of the hotel and whether or not the food and beverage operation is wholly owned by hotel or a separate entity (say, for instance, just renting the space within the hotel), it could range from $0 income to a decent profit. At my property it's a separate entity from the hotel but a profit-sharing agreement is in place. One problem you will see with "honor bars" or minibars without any direct tracking of items is that guests seem to have very little "honor" when it comes to what was taken and what wasn't. Parents, if you brought your kids on your business trip, PLEASE explain to them why they should NEVER think everything in the room is free. And if they do go nuts on the minibar snacks, don't lie to me and say that the items weren't there in the first place, especially when I've come up to your room prior to checkout and seen the kids eating it or the wrappers are all over the room. For larger corporate hotels, the minibar must retain a profit because business travelers who aren't always footing the entire bill are okay with expensing the costs, and the costs are inflated but necessary considering how many items go missing and unaccounted for. To be honest, if a guest checking out says they didn't eat the item or drink the item, 9 times out of 10 I am going to waive the charge, so that's why they have to be so expensive, to account for all those charge adjustments.

I’ve been bitten twice by what I’m positive were bedbugs, but the hotel wrote me letters saying they’d inspected the room and found nothing. Is it just standard practice to say that, even when they DO find an infestation?

Asked by lormon3 over 6 years ago

I wouldn't think it's standard practice to lie to you. Bed bugs as you know can seriously impact the reputation, rating, profitability, and overall health of a hotel, so good management takes them very seriously. They aren't difficult to treat, however they are persistent and take time. What likely happened when you received the letter is you had some persistent bed bugs and you also had a manager inspecting who wasn't properly trained in how to look for the signs of bed bugs. Most good hotel chains will require professional training for all of their management in how to do this and already have the exterminator on call for if bed bugs be detected. At the end of the day, the hotel should take your word for it and offer to seal your bags, move you to another room, while they spray your current room.

Do you like your job?

Asked by samantha_paul about 6 years ago

Absolutely. If you like helping people, and you like taking ownership of a problem from start to finish, this is the job for you. Sure, it has its challenges, like strange working hours, confrontations with guests and others that are difficult to resolve, and sometimes having to magically make something out of nothing, but it can be very rewarding when I am able to be a good host and make people feel at home.

At this point, why don't hotels just make Internet access available to all and just bake the cost into the room pricing? Instead of this "pay an additional $9.95/day" nonsense...

Asked by Kermudge over 6 years ago

This I am in 100% agreement on with you. Wi-fi is such a necessity to function in this world that it is very frustrating to pay for a hotel room and then have to pay for wi-fi on top of that. However, I see where some of the larger hotels are coming from on this. They often depend on corporate or business travelers for such a large percentage of their income that they know the likelihood of that corporate traveler paying for these fees directly is low, so they can get away with it. At a boutique hotel, I just don't see how it makes sense. It is just another fee that will end up getting waived when the guest is upset about something. My property happens to have free wi-fi, but I would hate to have to disclose to guests they're getting charged for it.

Has anyone ever committed suicide in one of your hotel's rooms?

Asked by Sullyduzit over 6 years ago

I've come up with a theory: people generally fall into three categories of guests. 1. Getting room due to happy reason 2. Getting room because of bad reason 3. Getting room because job requires them to. Guest category # 2 is the scary one because for some reason people think it's okay to take out their frustrations on a place that isn't theirs. While I am thankful to say that no suicides or deaths have happened on my watch, there have been people who have passed away, including one suicide by gun, since the hotel was built. I have had close calls like a drug overdose, and I have found rooms so trashed and littered with blood stains (one time we had to throw out the sheets because they were so soaked in blood) that I could swear they WERE suicide attempts that just failed, and the guest was too embarrassed to admit what they did. We did charge all these people for the damages, by the way, and none of them called to complain about the charges, which leads me to believe they didn't want to draw attention to their situation. It's very sad, but from my perspective I just don't want it happening on my watch or affecting other guests who are category # 1 or # 3!

What's the policy when guests leave money in the room after they check out? Do the maids get to keep it if it goes unclaimed?

Asked by babinaux80 about 6 years ago

Like leaving an envelope at the front desk that's labeled for a specific person, there's a large likelihood that honesty will prevail and it will get to the right person. There's an unspoken code of honor, but that's just where I work. I couldn't tell you what it's like at every hotel. In most cases if the amount exceeds anything that would normally be considered a housekeeping gratuity, like it's $50 or $100, then it would probably be brought down to the security department and the former guest would be contacted to verify if they actually wanted to leave it as gratuity or they left it behind on accident. Unclaimed items after a period of I believe 6-8 months for which all the former guests of the room it had been found in were contacted, but none were willing to claim it, these items would typically be donated to charity or given to another guest in need (think: power outlet adapter, not anything of great value). Cash though if unclaimed would go as gratuity to housekeeping staff as an even split. If it's hundreds upon hundreds ("racks on racks"), then there's usually a bigger story behind it so security would likely do a whole investigation.