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

Best Rated

Can you set the record straight on this: are we supposed to tip the maids?

Asked by brenda310 almost 10 years ago

My honest answer would be yes. Maids and housekeeping staff don't receive tips as often as bellhops and food and beverage staff, or even front desk staff, so giving them a pat on the back is nice, especially if you called for service more than is regularly provided. Typically $2 per day is the standard, but I throw down a $5 bill when checking out if they did a good job on each cleaning or did a special task for me. I leave it on the nightstand or give it to the front desk in a clearly marked envelope at checkout. At an honest hotel, 99% of the time that envelope will get to the housekeepers.

Am I really getting a better room rate when I book on Priceline / Travelocity / Hotels.com? Their rates are almost ALWAYS lower than what the hotel offers directly.

Asked by Bee almost 10 years ago

The easy answer is yes, my property may even be contractually obligated to give the website and in turn you up to 30% lower than my hotel's asking price for the room. That is a great deal, however think of yourself more as a guest of Travelocity, Orbitz, etc than a guest of the hotel once you've gone through one of these. Admitted or not, hotels will treat guests paying the full room rate directly to the hotel with more care than someone who bought their room online. One most important lesson regarding these bulk travel sites is that while you save money in the short run, making changes to or canceling your reservation is an absolute hassle! As a front desk agent I only want to help each guest, but when they decide that the deceptively alluring pictures and description of the property don't match what's actually there once they arrive, I have to nicely but firmly explain that I and my management have zero control over the third party website's content or frequency of communication to my hotel. I and management have made call after call and sent dozens of emails with updated photos and descriptions, but the regional rep from that site neglected to respond or update THEIR site, in turn giving the guest a flawed perception of what's really going on. In short, if you're not too particular, go ahead and book through a third party, but if it's your honeymoon or for your very picky boss, book direct and you'll be able to deal directly with the hotel, which is bound to give you updated, real-time information and preferred service. As cheesy as it may sound, being a rewards program member means something to me. Even though my property doesn't have one, I've been a member of several and it really does give you some extra weight when negotiating an upgrade or any other perk.

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

Asked by Sullyduzit almost 10 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!

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 almost 10 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.

Do you like your job?

Asked by samantha_paul almost 10 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.

Does it get boring behind the desk all day?

Asked by soma almost 10 years ago

There are definitely moments with "down time" but more often than not I've got a steady, constant stream of tasks. Down time is usually when you catch up on what you couldn't before, and get to know your co-workers. At larger corporate hotels, there seems to always be someone manning each station. In my experience at a smaller boutique hotel, there's usually fewer employees per department. That means if the reservationist calls in sick, I may have to check you in while simultaneously booking a room over the phone for someone calling from France with a thick accent that's hard to understand. There have been days like that where the bellman has called in sick too, so as soon as I'm done with the other two tasks, I'll be taking you and your bags up to the room, maybe after taking your keys to your car which I'll park in valet later ('cause he could have called in sick, too). The overall goal is not to let you notice how close to chaos it's become.

Have you ever had to tell a couple that their sex was too loud and to keep it down?

Asked by rosieperez almost 10 years ago

I have had to call security (or in the instance of working the PM shift on a short staff go up there with an earpiece and pretend to BE security) so many times I can't remember. Usually if one guest couldn't sleep because of the noise of their neighbor(s), it's due to partying, but I have received a call or two where the complainant says, "I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade here, but the people next door that are doing it are being really LOUD!" Sure, that does happen.