We’ve all had to stay somewhere other than the comfort of our own home before, whether it be at a friend’s place, an Airbnb rental or a nice hotel. So we all know the feeling of being slightly displaced, dealing with impossible shower gadgets and freezing air conditioners, wondering if we’ll get woken up by a random guest busting into our room in the middle of the night or a fire alarm going off. After studying Hotel and Tourism Management at University, and having worked in the hotel industry for 4 years now, I can’t exactly call myself a veteran – but trust me, I’ve seen some things. From the lady who left her personal toy in the room and actually came back to collect it (seriously, just go buy another one!), to the obvious one-night stands and hookers dressed as cowgirls, to the oldies who just love a good chat, it’s certainly been an eye-opening experience.
Something that I’ll always remember was the day MH370 went missing. We had the Malaysian Air Crew stay with us every day, and I remember them arriving at the hotel that night after being briefed on the situation. They huddled in the foyer in a small circle, all holding hands and said a solemn prayer. It was very eerie and quite moving. We were obviously told not to mention it to them and to maintain our professionalism, but looking into their crying eyes was extremely difficult, for they had most likely lost friends and colleagues. Another interesting experience was working through the G20 Summit, where our hotel hosted the Japanese Prime Minister – Shinzo Abe. As police and security forces descended on the city and hotels went into extreme lockdown, whispers of who was staying where became the talk of the town. Of course we were disappointed not to get POTUS himself, the one and only Barack Obama, but it was still a great experience overall.
These examples were just the big things, but the mundane day-to-day stuff could get pretty hilarious as well. From redneck weekend guests trying to get EVERYTHING for free, to the arrogant business men from fancier places like Melbourne who couldn’t even show decency by ending their phone calls to check in, to inter-department ‘relationships’ (hello hot foreigners working in the bar), I have a lifetime of memories to tide me over. Now that I’m working in a much smaller hotel for the time being, it’s all flooding back to me. You have to be constantly ‘on’ as the face of a hotel brand, smiling through your frustration and finding the yes in every situation. Yes Ma’am, I’ll arrange for your dirty knickers to be express-posted back home. Sure Sir, I’d love to book your international flight right here and now whilst I’ve got a line of people waiting to check in. YES YES YES.
So next time you’re staying in a hotel, spare a thought for the people on the other side of the desk working tirelessly to ensure your ‘home away from home’ is a delightful experience. Cheers 🙂
Photo credits – acottagegirl & ratedmodernart