Oversold and Undertrained

, , , , | Working | April 4, 2018

In the hotel business, it’s fairly well understood that overselling happens. No one likes it, but corporate will always have a bug up its butt about selling out — and when no-shows don’t count towards your occupancy, often the only way to be sure of a sell-out is to oversell.

However, when this happens and other accommodations need to be found for a guest, most decent hotels will pay for their night at the other hotel as compensation for the inconvenience. It’s pretty standard operating procedure: If you don’t get to stay where you booked, you don’t have to pay for your relocated room.

One night my hotel gets a call from another hotel in our family of brands in town; they’ve oversold and need to relocate a guest to us. We say that’s fine. The first red flag comes when the agent calling doesn’t know what we need from them in this process. When advised to ask her Front Desk Manager, the second red flag appears: she is the Front Desk Manager. I explain to her that we just need a signed letter stating that their hotel consents to be billed for the guest’s stay. She says okay, and I give her our fax number.

The fax is yet another red flag: it’s handwritten, and comes through on 8.5” by 14” paper rather than normal letter size, even though it was clearly written on letter-sized paper — meaning their manager doesn’t even know how to properly send a fax.

At this point, my shift is over, but once I’m home I get a call from my night auditor. She was called by the other hotel’s night auditor, who informed her that they actually won’t be paying for the guest’s room. Further, even though the guest has not arrived at our property yet, the other hotel refuses to call him to inform him of this because “it’s too late at night.”

I tell my night auditor to comp the poor guy’s room when he gets there — none of this nonsense is his fault — but be sure to tell him exactly what the other hotel did. If they want to make a problem for us, we can make one for them right back.

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