In one of the existing accommodation forums on Facebook, where the tourism trade is a clear channel of opinion in which to consult or communicate union troubles, the following text jumped to my screen. It was published a few days ago and the author does not need to be disclosed:
A couple interns call around midnight to ask about availability and will be arriving at the hotel around 2 a.m. Russians. At 4:15 a.m., one called her from the room and it went like this:
– Reception, goodnight.
+ Hello, good evening, look, it’s that I have a female … hhhmmm … URGENCY and I need help.
– What is it? Can you be a little more specific about it so we can help?
+ How do you say … A female emergency, you know what I mean?
– Well, honestly, if you don’t specify the urgency, I cannot offer more help.
+ Hhhmmmm … An urgency on … hhhmmmmm, “the period.”
– OK, I understand, we could provide a towel in any case, if you want. Can you wait until tomorrow to buy tampons or pads in the nearest pharmacy?
+ And there is no woman that you can call or you can help me that’s awake at this hour?
– Well, honestly, it’s 4.15 in the morning and I don’t think I’m ready to wake anyone for that urgency.
+ Okay, and the closest pharmacy?
– Well, actually, you go there in any case.
And so, at 5 a.m. they went to the nearest pharmacy to buy tampons.
I don’t know if such situations occur repeatedly in hotels, but it has happened and its resolution should make us think very seriously about what you would expect from an emergency night experience at a hotel.
The receptionist showed a remarkable lack of reflexes, but concedes the benefit of their nocturnal biorhythms differing empirically from those who have daylight hours. Another obvious shortcoming is the receptionist’s limited empathy with women required by this particular urgency; I do not know if it is derived from a deficit in their education or lack of preparation on the material in general in hotel schools. They should perhaps include in their curriculum a course on the most common contingencies in the performance of a tourism profession, whether the receptionist, governance or management of homes, rooms, or at a restaurant. In many hotels, workers are hired with low profiles in relational skills, so their customer interaction is minimal. Apparently limited to audits tasks at night (following a checklist of tasks that takes several hours, and usually consists of closure boxes and reviewing staying listings, inputs and outputs, credit, etc.). And do not forget the lack of existing empowerment in many companies, for which nothing should be decided outside the supreme responsible of the Board of Directors.
The most sensible conclusion to be drawn from this episode is that the receptionist did not solve the problem, merely to responded and allowed the couple to leave the hotel looking for a pharmacy at five in the morning. Of course, I did not have to wake anyone at that time, or would it have been reasonable to do so on behalf a hotel guest. Of the most feasible alternatives, we could imagine he might have left his post in order to provide service to customers, which was urgently needed. But such behavior would have been rejected by the hotel management, because it would have put the safety of the other guests at risk. Another plausible initiative would have been to request the service of an emergency center and delivered a message without the guests being impelled to leave the hotel. Or contracted the services of a relative or friend who willfully, in a heroic act, fetched the required materials despite the lateness of the hour.
However, the most appropriate solution to this problem requires the anticipation of all problems that might occur in a hotel and to store materials on hand in the appropriate kit. Again, tourism is subject to excessive regulation in many European countries, and it’s feasible that a tourist establishment could keep oh-hand simple topical medications such as the humble aspirin. What could then be said of keeping a sanitary napkin?
Basically, the example described is a sign of the poor, uneducated and inhibited care of female customers present in most tourist establishments. It’s also a sign of an equally outdated idea that a hotel is a bed factory, whose production house is the dream of passengers and few more features. They are not realizing that the future of this industry is in creating good and unforgettable memories, and all new hospitality receptionists should be reading this in golden letters in his book header.
Fernando Gallardo |