Welcome To The Hotel Exaggeration

, , , , , | Working | June 27, 2017

(I used to work at a very prestigious five-star hotel in Central London. Naturally with the territory comes some guests who, in my experience, were impossible. This is however not that kind of story. I am currently an hour into the morning shift when my service phone rings. The call registers from the front desk.)

Me: “In-Room Dining. [My Name] speaking.”

Front Desk: “Hi, [My Name]. Can you go to [Guest Room] and help [Affluent Guest] out, please?”

(Note: Affluent Guest, as I would soon find out, was a regular at this hotel. She also established a reputation with most if not all the hotel staff as being incredibly demanding and impossible to please. This is the first time I am dealing with her.)

Me: “Sure. What is the problem, may I ask?”

Front Desk: “You know? I actually haven’t got a clue, mate. Is this your first time dealing with her?”

Me: “The guest? Yes. Yes, it’s the first time.”

Front Desk: “Okay, just to let you know she’s VERY impatient and extremely rude, so be careful, okay?”

Me: “Thanks for the heads up. I’m on my way to the room now.”

(I hang up and head up to the floor that Affluent Guest is on. On the way I cross paths with one of the housekeeping associates.)

Housekeeping Associate: “You going to [Affluent Guest]’s room?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Housekeeping Associate: *rolls eyes* “She’s craaaaazy. Don’t let her get her way!”

Me: “I won’t.”

(I’m a little bit concerned about how much of an issue this particular guest is perceived as, but for benefit of the doubt I just put it down to exaggerations on the hotel’s part. I find the room, knock, and then enter to see a frail, old Chinese lady sitting on the sofa.)

Me: “Good Morning, ma’am. My name is [My Name]; I understand you’re having some sort of issue with your room?”

Guest: “Hello, my dear. Yes, I cannot get the window to open, see? And it’s very hot in here!”

(From the moment I walked in I could feel the humidity. On this particular summer day in London, the heat was out in force.)

Me: “I see. Unfortunately, ma’am, because we are on the seventh floor, the windows are locked shut for your own safety. Have you tried your air conditioning?”

Guest: “I have, my dear. But I don’t know how to work it properly.”

Me: *starting to get a little bit concerned* “Okay… has anyone else came to the room to help you?”

Guest: “Yes, but they didn’t do as I asked. They thought I wanted to change rooms! All I want is to get the air conditioning working.”

Me: “Of course, I completely understand, ma’am. Let me see what I can do for you.”

Guest: “Thank you so much, young man.”

(I go over to the A/C unit and realise that not only is it not on, it’s also broken. In regards to the guest, the perception of her being anything but pleasant has completely faded away at this point, but I’m more so concerned that this elderly lady was allowed to sit in such heat for such a long time.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am. I realise what’s the problem. Your A/C unit here is not working for whatever reason. Did anyone else check the unit?”

Guest: “No, not at all!”

Me: *stunned at this* “Okay. Here’s what I’m going to do now for you. I will be calling the engineers to the room to see if they can fix the A/C. In the meantime, I would recommend you go down to the restaurant on the second floor. We have air conditioning down there so you can cool off and relax whilst the problem here is fixed. I’ll also ask the restaurant to have a cool drink waiting for you to make up for the issue. How does that sound, ma’am?”

Guest: “That sounds very nice! Thank you for your understanding. May I have your name?”

Me: “You certainly can. It’s [My Name].”

Guest: “Thank you, [My Name]. I will be leaving a message about your conduct tomorrow before I leave. Thank you so much for your time!”

Me: “It’s my pleasure, ma’am. Have a nice day!”

(I left, happy that I was able to resolve the guest’s problem AND shatter the pretensions of nearly everybody else about that guest, and all because I didn’t over exaggerate her issue, and instead treated her problem as something that was easy to fix in less than an hour. Never let other people’s perceptions cloud yours.)

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