online hotel booking site

How to Stay at a Hotel

Now that I’m leaving my front desk position for greener pastures, I thought I’d put together a list of the dos and don’ts of staying at a hotel.

  • If you’re coming in to to town for a big event, try to book at least 6 months in advance. If you’re not sure how many nights or rooms you’ll need, book more. They will be gone quicker than you think.
  • PSA: if you book online through Expedia, Priceline, et. al, we can’t do a goddamn thing about your rate. We charge them and they charge you. Something wrong with the room? Be prepared to play phone tag with Expedia and our hotel for the next month trying to get that money back.
  • And for the love of God, if you book online please pay attention to what site it is. It is disturbing how many people will blindly enter their credit card information in the first thing they see on Google.
  • On that note, hotels lose money when you book online. We hate third party booking sites. If the time you’re coming in for isn’t busy, you can usually negotiate your way to a similar rate over the phone. Hotels can’t match online prices, but they can get pretty close. And it’s a hell of a lot easier to fix if there’s an issue with the room or billing.
  • Rates change. Rates can change from day to day, from week to week, from month to month. Busier the hotel, higher the rates. So it’s entirely reasonable that you could’ve stayed at a hotel a year ago and paid $79 a night, and the rate jumps up to $110 for a busy weekend. Not much we can do about it. 
  • If you’re coming in to town for a hospital visit, mention that over the phone when you make the reservation! Most hotels have deals with local hospitals.
  • If we’re sold out, we’re sold out. We can’t make rooms appear. Being a member doesn’t make rooms appear. If there’s a big event in town, don’t hold your breath for a cancelation. Find alternative lodgings.
  • Special requests? Let us know BEFORE you check in. Keep in mind that we can’t guarantee anything, especially if the hotel is full during that time.
  • There are different classes of hotels. The stars refer to the amount of amenities, quality, and services. Less stars = less services; more stars = more services. A 1, 2 or 3 star hotel is not a “bad hotel,” just expect less frills.
  • When you call to reserve a room and we take your credit card information, that does not pay for the room then and there, that just guarantees the reservation.
  • If you want to use your credit card to pay for someone else’s room, you need to communicate that clearly to the hotel. Because anyone who checks into a room won’t be let in without an ID and a matching credit card on the spot unless you’ve set up something in advance.
  • You need a valid credit card to check in. This is 2015. No checks. No prepaid cards. A card with your name on it, that matches the name on your ID. 
  • Make sure you tell your bank before you travel. This will prevent your credit card from declining when you try to check in.
  • Please, please read the registration card thoroughly before you get to your room. Yes, I know it’s boring, but those words you’re putting your initials and signature next to are you agreeing to certain things that you will be held accountable for later. It’s also easier to fix incorrect dates on a reservation at check in then it is once you’re already here.
  • If you sign the agreement not to smoke in the hotel and you smoke in the hotel, you’re getting charged. “I didn’t read the thing” isn’t a valid excuse.
  • While the front desk person is explaining things on the registration card, please, please, please don’t grab the pen out of their hands. This is so rude.
  • If you notice something wrong with the room, don’t wait until checkout to report it. We can’t do anything about it when you’re leaving. Something doesn’t look right? Don’t put up with it! Tell the front desk right away and we’ll fix it for you.
  • Don’t ask for the room “for just a few hours.” Not gonna happen. You’re paying full price. Get your sex freak on and stay the whole night. You’ll get free breakfast in the morning.
  • Your phone and credit cards demagnetize your room keys. Don’t put them next to each other.
  • If you lose your room key and need a new one, you will be asked to prove your identity at the front desk. We don’t do this to be difficult – it’s a security issue.
  • You will receive better service the better you treat the hotel employees. If you’re an asshole, staff is going to be less willing to go out of their way to help you. And we will talk about you behind your back. And give you a shitty room. 
  • Looking for something to do or good places to eat? Ask the front desk! We’re local, we know where to go. You’ll get better recommendations than searching online. 
  • Also, don’t try and hide your weed under the mattress. I don’t know why people think we won’t look there. And you will be charged for smoking in the room.
  • PSA: Dirtiest thing in the room is the remote. It gets cleaned in between guests, but depending on the hotel sometimes it gets overlooked. It happens. But use a tissue to touch the buttons.
  • If you need a late checkout, let the front desk staff know. If your stuff is in the room after checkout time, we’ll assume you’re staying another night and will charge you for it.
  • If something was wrong with the room and you couldn’t let staff know until checkout, calmly explain why it was a problem and you’ll likely get a discount. Don’t yell or scream or immediately ask to speak to the manager (see point about assholes, above).
  • READ THE BILL BEFORE YOU LEAVE. I can’t stress this enough. It’s infinitely easier to fix a bill when you’re there in person. 
  • If the bill looks higher than what you thought, did you include taxes in your estimate? Consider this before anything else.
  • And for the record, yes you have to pay taxes and no I can’t lower how high the taxes are. That’s a federal crime. Stop asking.
  • If you enjoyed your stay, please fill out the online survey we send to you! People often only respond to negative stays, and we really need the positive responses as well! It helps the employees. 

There you be! Now you know how to stay at a hotel without pissing off every single employee you come into contact with. Enjoy your stay!