Over and over again, the most bitter of all hotel experiences is the moment of arrival. When everything should suggest opening the doors of imagination and hospitality, we usually see something like a wall barring the way to happiness: the reception desk, the final frontier. No way to find the way! The Iron Curtain falls. So, “what can I do?”, wonders any innovative hotelier; perhaps it is the most convenient way to welcome the customers; maybe it is the most useful method to take their ID; surely it is the most practicable place from which to control visitors. Others, owners of small charming hotels, claim that furniture like this helps the communication with the newcomer, and no digital check-in could replace the warmth of human contact. Continue reading
The use of the landline phones in the hotel rooms has dropped significantly since the popularization of the mobile phone. That non-negligible complement of the hotel business —easier to manage than the mini bar goods— is going through its hardest times, and there is no evidence of it getting any better. On the contrary, the tendency leads to its extinction for all travelers have been provided with their small device.
Only provided with that? It is well-known that nobody travels with a trunk anymore. Not even the Saudi sheikhs, oblige to feed their harem, they carry with them or get someone to carry those heavy chests which used to show the pedigree of the old travelers. Today he will only carry a suitcase, the more practical the better, and since airports started being impossible when it comes to safety, the smaller and lighter the better. Continue reading
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 Continue reading
I arrived very late at night. From the outside the hotel looked closed, inhospitable. The lights were off. The night shift employee was lying on a couch. I opened the sliding glass doors, and glanced over to see a monolithic figure of a uniformed person behind a dark service desk. The person didn’t look up. He just gestured in the comfort of his usual position. If anything, he only gave me formal greeting as I approached him, carrying my bags. His eyes were hidden behind thick lenses, inscrutable in the gloom. His breathing, even thicker than his glasses, evidenced the nocturnal condition. He accomplished his work with merit from the first moment, when he asked for my passport, the three mandatory signatures and a credit card… «As a guarantee that you will not leave without paying,» he added, with the courtesy he learned at the hospitality school. That was the receptionist.
That was last week. But it could have happened any night last month, last year, or at the end of the millennium. Or at any other time in my childhood when the kindness of the agent was complimented with a «May God be with you for many years.» The reception has always been the sanctum sanctorum of the bureaucracy in the hotel industry. That strange job where, instead of welcoming guests and helping to relieve them from the inconvenience of traveling, they are hindered with the regular processing of their registration and assurance of their purchasing power. An instant hold in that travel momentum, the memory of which always reminds me of a teller window of the treasury or the lottery office, without the urgency of the first or the exciting disorder of the second. Continue reading