Secrets of Working in Hospitality
Secrets of Working in Hospitality
Many hospitality workers live in staff housing. This was my home for a bit, and I can honestly say, it was a VERY interesting experience.
Sometimes, it’s the moments where comfort is abandoned, that the true beauty of a place shines. That is not to say that beauty doesn’t reside in comfort. On the contrary, a comfortable trip where your every whim is catered to can be just what you needed. Just don’t let the trappings of amenities and artificial hospitality limit your experiences.
The men and women that greet guests upon their arrival to a new destination can often be the gatekeepers to an authentic experience that would not, and could not, be unlocked by simply going through the tourist trapping motions. They offer spa treatments, fine dining, fluffed pillows and refilled shampoo and conditioner bottles, but that is just what pays their bills. They also go home at night and dine on food your taste buds couldn’t even imagine, and they live, laugh, and love what can never be captured in hotel brochures.
I have worked in the hospitality industry for several years, and I have experienced first hand this unique and challenging sector. Some tourists simply demand anonymous service, which is perfectly fine. That is your choice. All that is required from a tourist is respect. However, it is the travellers who arrive with an open heart and open mind that truly get to have an experience instead of just a trip.
Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing stories about hospitality workers, past and present, as well as some of their favorite moments, and the secrets that guests usually aren’t privy too.
Here are a few travel secrets to tide you over…..
I loved all of the properties that I worked at. But, after 3 or 4 site inspections a day, you know a special type of internal misery.
Travel Secret #1 - Your Secret is Safe With Us: While working in hospitality I saw a great deal. From special moments, to proposals, to bickering, and fights, to secret rendezvous, but none of that was any of my business. Working in the front of house, I saw a number of scandalous encounters, but your secrets were always safe with the staff. Apart from a sideways glance with a coworker, or maybe a giggle in the back office if something was particularly juicy – most hospitality workers are professionals. And, we see hundreds of guests come and go each year. Apart from the select few who were very kind and found a place in our hearts, or the horrible few who made us dread assisting them – we probably won’t even remember your comings and goings.
Travel Secret #2 - Detailed Customers: Just Stop: You may think getting a free fruit plate or bottle of wine because you threw a temper tantrum was a victory, but not really. We make notes about customers, especially their poor behavior. You get known as a ‘detailed’ customer in our systems. This may not seem like a bad thing, and chances are you will never know, but each staff is now on their guard about you, and your trickery will only go so far. You will also miss out on meaningful interactions with staff members because you chose to act like an idiot. And, stop lying about booking this and that. There are records. We know what you paid for.
Travel Secret #3 - There Are No Secret Room Sales: There are hotel promotions, yes, but there are no secret special discounts that the reservation teams are hoarding. Also, bartering doesn’t really work. While I worked in reservations, one customer tried to make a very aggressive ‘take it or leave it’ offer for a room during peak season, that was about 25% of what the room was going for. Needless to say he was not successful.
Travel Secret #4 - Shifts Can Be Long: Workers in hotels can work long hours, especially during peak season or special events. You might head out at 11am in the morning and return at 10pm that night, and meet the same workers. And, these people are human. They get tired. Sometimes, give them a little break on minor things. On particularly long shifts, I perfected the drive by smile, when I was truly tired. It was a trick that served me well.
Travel Secret #5 - We Are Not Superheroes: Hospitality workers will do their best to accommodate you, but there are certain things that are not possible. We also do not control when stores open or when restaurants start their service. We cannot make a restaurant open, or make all of the shops open during the off-season.
These are just some basic secrets of the industry. Next up are a few of the ‘best’ complaints that I ever heard from guests!