Hotels 101.

We’re your home away from home. Understanding how hotels work can make your vacation or business trip go so much smoother. There are so many articles floating around about “things hotels don’t want you to know”, but I’m going to share some things that I do want you to know.

Book Direct

Everyone and their mother will tell you to book on Expedia or some other third-party site. I’m here to tell you that this is terrible advice. Booking third-party often makes you last priority. Now, I would never treat any guest any worse or better than the next, but this is just how some hotels are. You might think you’re getting a great rate with Expedia or any other site, but you’re not. Hotels have to pay commission to OTAs (online travel agents), so the hotel is not receiving everything you pay. Because of this, some hotels might treat your reservation as less of a priority.

Say you booked a room with two beds, but something happened and the hotel oversold that room type. Guess whose reservation is first to get switched? Yours. So now you get to the hotel with your family of four, and it turns out you were moved to a single room. Better get cozy with the kids! Since the hotel is not profiting as much off of your reservation as they would from someone who booked direct, your booking is deemed “acceptable” to adjust if need be. You’ll also be the first to be walked if a hotel is overall oversold. Another thing to note is that if you wish to cancel or change dates on your OTA reservation, you can’t call the hotel to make these changes. We are technically not allowed to touch dates and rates on third-party bookings, so you’ll have to call the 1-800 number and wait to reach a representative. If you have an billing discrepancies or any other issues, we can’t help you.

You also will not be earning hotel loyalty points. These points can add up very quickly, so it’s silly to not take advantage of the membership programs. My particular hotel’s program give you 10 points per USD spent, and free nights start at just 6,000 points. Most hotels now allow you to route points to a frequent flier account. I have my Marriott account set to send all my points to my Delta Skymiles accounts.

The best way to make sure your reservation is always guaranteed exactly how you want it is to book direct. And don’t mess with the central reservation department. Call the hotel you wish to stay at and talk with the actual front desk. We have more power than you think to get you a good rate. We’d rather cut you a deal than lose the entire sale. You matter to us, and we want to make sure you have a great experience with us – all you have to do is let us!

Requests Cannot be Guaranteed

I know you want to have adjoining rooms with your sister’s family. We want to do our best to honor your wishes, but sometimes it just can’t happen that way. Please understand that a request is exactly that – just a request.

The front desk has control over most of your stay. If you wish to have two room reservations close to each other or on the same floor, you have to let us know. 99% of the time, we can make that happen, but we can’t promise anything. Room location requests depend entirely on how the hotel filled up the night before, room type booked, and availability. Look, we want you to be happy and enjoy your stay, but we can’t grant every wish.

Early check-ins and late check-outs. Sigh. Early check-ins are harder to allow than late check-outs. Take my hotel for example. Our check-out time is noon, and guaranteed check-in starts at 3:00 pm. You can’t come to the desk at 10:00 am on a Saturday in July and expect to be checked in. It won’t happen. It all depends on the same things I mentioned before…how the hotel filled up, which room type you booked, and availability. We always, always, always do our best to honor special requests, and again, we are not miracle workers (though, when we make the impossible happen, that’s exactly how we feel), but we do care about you and we do our absolute best.

Incidental Deposits

I’m not sure which type of hotel doesn’t have an incidental hold in 2019. I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve heard from guests, “I’ve never stayed anywhere that required an incidental deposit”. What kinds of hotels are you staying in????? Everywhere I have ever been has had some sort of hold.

Why do we do this? Well, because we don’t trust you. Just kidding, kind of. If you destroy the room or steal a pillow, we need to protect ourselves and be sure you have the funds in case we need to charge you. These holds also exist to allow you to charge things to your room. If it’s 2:00 am and you’re craving a Klondike bar, you can just get one from our marketplace, say, “Charge this to 201, Mr. Smith”, and be on your merry way. We know you have the funds, so we are comfortable adding that charge to your account.

This policy is mainly to protect ourselves, and it ensures that we are only renting to reputable guests, which in turn keeps you safe and comfortable. You also need to understand that holds don’t just drop immediately. When I check you out of my system, we release the incidental hold on our end. Once you leave the hotel, it’s up to your bank to return that money to your account. It can take 3-10 business days, depending on when you stay. We encourage guests to put the hold on credit cards rather than debit cards, just so your money isn’t tied up.

Housekeepers Aren’t Paid Enough 

Have you ever seen a hotel room the morning after a bachelor party spends the night? No? Consider yourself lucky. Housekeepers do not get paid enough to put up with half the things they see. They are hardworking individuals doing back-breaking work (almost literally), so please, be respectful, and TIP YOUR HOUSEKEEPER.

We Want to Help You

Seriously. We want you to enjoy your stay. We want you to enjoy our city and leave with a great memories. If there is an issue with your room or reservation, speak up. Tell the front desk. Let us fix the problem before it blows up unnecessarily and has the potential to ruin your trip. You just checked in to your room and the PTAC doesn’t work? Say something. The room next door is noisy? Say something. You were double charged? SAY SOMETHING. Help us help you. We want to. We’re here for you. We’re nice people! Hospitality is the “friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers”. Our only job is to make you happy. Let us.

 

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I adore this industry. I love meeting so many different people from different places. I love being a part of someone’s vacation stories and having a positive impact on someone’s experience in my city. I love making people happy. Most hotels hire the right people. We truly want you to be happy and have a great time. Be mindful of the topics I discussed, and you should be able to have positive experiences at each hotel you visit.

Happy travels.

-H

 

2018, Please Exit.

This year feels like it both lasted forever and sped by. I remember exactly what I did on January 1, but when I think of the entire year, it feels so long. 2018 was a mess of a year, but I’m still alive and thriving (or trying to), and that counts for something, right?

So what the heck did I do all year?

January

One of my greatest friends visited for NYE and stayed into January. Shyan and I have so much fun together, it’s ridiculous. She’s the kind of friend where no matter how long it’s been since we’ve talked or seen each other, we pick up as if no time has passed. I’m glad she was here in Seattle to bring in 2018.

February

The shortest month of the year, but it was a crazy one. I visited Lake Crescent (again) and I’m pretty sure I went to the Hoh Rainforest.

My dog, Luna, and I played outside in the snow. I enjoyed it more than she did. See how annoyed she looks? 😝

This month I was delivering flowers for a local floral shop chain. Valentine’s Day was INSANE, but it was a fun little gig.

This month I started my current job at the Comfort Suites in Tukwila. I left my job as AGM at Extended Stay at the end of 2017, and it was a struggle trying to find work. I applied for all kinds of positions all over the place. I applied for a front desk position at this hotel, and walked out as a Sales Coordinator. How that happened – I have no idea. But it did, and I’ve been in hotel sales since. I am not a sales person. I have never been a sales person. But I’ve learned a great deal from my amazing supervisor. This position forces me out of my comfort zone every single day, and my confidence has increased as a result. Sales is tough, I admire any of you who do this for a living.

I’ve met the best people at this hotel. Some of my greatest friends right now are coworkers. I’m so grateful to work at a place where I get along with everyone.

March

Baseball is back. There are no sweeter words… I went to the third game of the Mariners’ opening series. Don’t for a second think I’m letting go of my Brewers. Seattle and Milwaukee are in different leagues, so it’s acceptable to like both!

April

I don’t have any pictures for this month. It must have been pretty insignificant, because I don’t remember anything from April…I probably went to more baseball games.

May

In May, I (finally) finished my associate’s degree in Business Management. I know there is no timeline for life, but I felt like I was so behind on everything. When I finished my last assignments, I was over the moon. If you know me, you know I’ve been all over the place in regards to school and majors. This is huge.

I finished a certificate from Cornell University in March, but I framed it in May, so here we are. This was an opportunity I will forever be thankful for. Cornell has one of the best hospitality schools, and I was lucky enough to learn from some of the best hotel professionals. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but this was so amazing for me.

I visited Idaho over Memorial Day weekend. I’ve wanted to ride in a seaplane for years, and I was finally able to at Coeur D’Alene. It was incredible.

I got my hospitality/pineapple tattoo in Idaho.

June

I don’t have pictures for this month either. I know I went to a party at a friend’s house, but I think that was the only big thing?

July

My birthday month!

My friends took me out in Seattle for my birthday. We had so much fun! We got ready at the brand new Hotel Interurban in Tukwila. That was a good way to bring in year 24. I know I had tacos that night too, so it was obviously a great time.

I went home for a few days in July.

I didn’t take any good pictures with my family, so here is a portrait mode picture of my favorite Wisconsin beer.

August

In August, I saw my favorite band. I’ve wanted to see Pearl Jam for over 10 years. When they announced the Home Shows, I knew I had to go. On the day of ticket sales, I had alarms set so I would be on the website the minute it opened. I do that a lot – that’s how I bought my Cirez D tickets and my Steelyard London tickets. I had originally only bought tickets to Night 1, but it was so incredible, I took myself to Night 2. I saw my favorite band in their home city twice. Amazing. There aren’t words to explain how it felt to hear my most favorite song live, after 10 years of listening to it repeatedly.

This month I went to Mount Rainier for the first time.

September

This month I visited Mount St. Helens. To prepare for the visit, I watched one of my favorite movies, Dante’s Peak, because I have this morbid fascination with the eruption. It was really neat to see what’s left of the volcano.

Packers football was back! There’s a group here called the Northwest Packer Backers, and they get together to watch games. This day, I went to a German restaurant and they had a pop-up Wisconsin themed menu. I nearly cried. Cheese curds, brandy old fashioneds, and Oostburgers. Only a Wisconsinite can appreciate that holy trinity.

October

This month was emotional. Has your team ever played October baseball??? STRESSFUL. Unfortunately, the Brewers lost to L.A. in the NLCS. I’m not even going to pretend like I didn’t cry a little bit. At work. No big deal.

This month I went to Maris Farms for the third year in a row. I celebrated Halloween with my friends Lena and Amy. They dressed their kids as M&Ms. Look how cute they were!

November

My first big event of November was my trip to Vancouver. The next big thing was Santa Barbara!

My THIRD big event of November was New York City.

November was a busy travel month for me. I’m so thankful I was able to take all that vacation time. Since then, I’ve been itching to just go. I want to be on constant adventures and experiencing life.

December

This picture is from Enchant at Safeco. It was so neat! I loved the big maze of lights.

I went to Mount Rainier in search of a White Christmas. I found it!

I wasn’t able to make it home for Christmas, but I still made it into a family photo! Isn’t technology amazing?

What a year.

It was a wild ride. I went a lot of places, met a lot of people, and learned a lot of lessons. I feel I’m a completely different person now than I was at the beginning of the year. I’m looking forward to making a list of everything that I accomplished this year. I’m also excited to sit down and write my 2019 goals and plans.

I hope you all had a blessed year, and I wish you the best going into 2019.

Until next time,

-H

Who is She?

My friends, welcome to Heaven on Earth.

My name is Heaven (not Heather!) and I like doing things. Okay, I can be more specific. I love to drink coffee, eat tacos, pet puppies, and visit pretty places. That sums me up.

Everyone loves travelling, so I’ll skip that spiel. More about me… I’m 24 and originally from Wisconsin. Currently, I live in Washington State, and work in Seattle. I’ve also lived in Florida and South Carolina.

I’m in the hospitality industry, and I could not have stumbled into a better field. It’s exhilarating meeting people from all over the globe. I enjoy having an impact on my guests’ Seattle experience, and I go above and beyond to ensure that’s a positive impact.

If you have any questions about hotels or the hospitality industry, I would love to talk with you about it! I intend to share hotel tips throughout my journey on this site, so stay tuned to learn my secrets.

I can’t wait to share my thoughts and adventure stories with all of you.

Until next time,

-H