The Dirtiest Word in the Hotel Biz is….

Anyone care to hazard a guess?

I’ll give you a hint: It’s not “cockroach” or “bed bug” (yes, that’s technically two words, but go easy on me, I’m tired.) or any sort of insect, for that matter.

And it’s not “filth”. Although, a mess is a byproduct of this word.

Give up?

Here it is, the word guaranteed to inspire terror in the hearts of travelers everywhere…


Yes, the hotel is under construction.

Pray for The Hook.

All a front desk agent has to do is utter this dreaded word and he can watch the color literally drain from a guest’s face. Nothing – and I mean nothing inspires white-hot rage and anxiety in a guest like this combination of vowels and consonants.

If you check into a hotel and an employee uses this word, your world trembles and shakes. Renovations mean:

  • No pool, gym or fine dining.
  • Construction workers straight from the bowels of Hell lurking in the lobby and halls.
  • Jackhammers and drills at 5 a.m.
  • An earth-shattering absence of fun.


  1.  “Renovations? Why would you do something so stupid?
  2.  “Am I going to be charged extra for this?”
  3.  “Can’t they wait until we leave?”
  5.   “Renovations?” I don’t even know what that words means, but I’m guessing it’s not good!”

I sympathize with guests who are inconvenienced by the hotel’s construction schedule, but they fail to acknowledge a few irrefutable truths. Such as:

1)  No one – and I mean no one – is more put out than hotel staff when it comes to renovations. We have to share our elevators and resources with construction workers, some of whom are rude, belligerent and just plain stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for anyone who can swing a sledgehammer or knows their way around a construction site, but there is no excuse for harassing housekeepers in the elevators or using $3,000 luggage carts to haul supplies around.

2)  The end result of renovations is an upgraded hotel. Who wants to stay in a place that looks like time passed it by?

3)  Renovation projects pump much-needed funds back into the economy, which benefits everyone on some level. For example, based on what I’ve seen in the last few weeks, the local liquor/beer stores are enjoying a bump in business….


I’m overwhelmed with the book writin’ thing right now, but fortunately WordPress is populated by hundreds of talented bloggers I can poach from, promote.

Such as:



About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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62 Responses to The Dirtiest Word in the Hotel Biz is….

  1. HA! Nothing like a renovation surprise at a hotel (hmmm sounds like a book – or movie)
    You have my complete sympathy. (and such an astute observation about the improving business for near by liquor stores.)
    Never forget the time when a “Miss I. Noah All” take over all the arrangements for a important conference…people flew in from across the country only to find lots of construction dust – the hotel had told her…but she thought it wouldn’t be a problem with the meeting on upper floors…Honey, sound travels up open atriums…and jackhammers?
    The hotel staff was wonderful and did what they could – relocated us in a cavern area – but it was quieter.
    And little Miss has moved on…so not missed.
    Thanks for the memories, Hook…now off to cut holes in sheetrock for recessed light
    Hoppy on to Easter.

  2. Kimm says:

    They really ask if the renovations can wait until they leave??? Wow.

  3. I travel a lot with my work, I’m not usually bothered with the R word, however, do not mess with the Internet, that really messes up with me.
    Nice blogs you recommended.

  4. Katie says:


    …Oh wait, all that means is something better is on the way. Calm restored.

  5. Cakes McCain says:

    Tx so much for the plug!!!
    I feel your pain. I used to work at a 4-star in downtown TO, then did the B&B thing in Italy. But I gotta say I love the biz, and can’t wait to get back into it doing something fabulous in some far-away land! 😉

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    As long as they’re not hammering outside my hotel room at 5 am, they can renovate to their hearts’ content. It’s amazing how much I can tune stuff like that out. I never have been very good at recognizing my surroundings. Good thing I’m not a detective doing surveillance.

  7. robincoyle says:

    I rather enjoy the sound of jackhammers at 6 in the morning. Beats a wake-up call.

  8. Tom Merriman says:

    Am I going to be charged extra for this? An amazing response.
    I may use it at some inappropriate time in the near future, Hook… thanks for the idea! 😀

  9. I feel so fancy to be linked in your post! And seriously… sometimes things need to be renovated, in a few months people will be commenting how fresh and lovely the hotel looks. I work in the part of the industry that does renovations, usually for universities. It’s so hard to tell people that the place they function is is going to be all turned upside down! Also I must say our office is in construction and we haven’t had a working fridge in 2 months OR a place to eat for the last month.

  10. The Hook says:

    You should feel fancy; you rock! As for your lack of refrigeration, I feel for you.
    You deserve far better, pretty lady!

  11. Jo Bryant says:

    can’t they just walk around the mess…people worry about such unimportant stuff. Overwhelmed Hook…not good but I know how that feels.

  12. Dave says:

    Interesting. I never would have guessed that. People are strange.

  13. List of X says:

    I could live with renovation. My apartment almost always looks as though I’m in the process of renovating.

  14. tteclod says:

    Arrange behind-the-scenes construction tours with hotel-branded hard hats. Charge $20 a head.

  15. Cameron says:

    “Renovation” isn’t nearly as bad as “gone out of business.” Buck up, little campers, and tip your bellman. 🙂

  16. Jennifer says:

    That’s the dirtiest word you can come up with? First world problems. Too concerned about their own shit to realise its all for them anyway. Hope it goes smoothly for you. But I do see some interesting posts on their way soon.

  17. Normally I’d be opposed to jackhammers at 5am, but since I became a mom that sounds downright pleasant. Gotta be better than 3am hysterics. Haha

  18. The Waiting says:

    This is TRUTH. When I worked at an older hotel, we would tell guests months in advance that we would be doing fairly major maintenance at the time of their visit and offer them freebies and discounts in advance to at least get them to stay with us instead of at the other evil hotel down the road. But that was never enough. It’s never enough. I guess the place was just supposed to cave in on itself?

  19. Purnimodo says:

    True.. true the. dirtiest. ‘Pure evil’ we save for the cockroaches 😉 Hate them.. deep, thoroughly and with a passion!

  20. Cayman Thorn says:

    I agree. Not much good comes after RE……Think about it….you have re-runs, regurgitation, repugnant, repulsive, recount. Okay, that last one scares me most of all. I’ll stop there.

  21. Could you please start charging guests extra for the renovations! That’s a great reaction. Think about how many new guests your hotel will attract when it’s all done. I hope it goes quickly!

  22. Wow. The things people say! I still feel that hotel stays are a luxury; renovations don’t take away from that.

  23. >The Dirtiest Word in the Hotel Biz is….
    >Anyone care to hazard a guess?
    – Bankruptcy?

    (I typed out this comment before I read the others. My answer is similar to Cameron’s above.)

    – For real? Okay, I know the answer to that. But really, did educated (formally or otherwise) people ask you all this? Okay, I know the answer to this one, too. *still shaking head*

    >I sympathize with guests who are inconvenienced by the hotel’s construction schedule, but they fail to acknowledge a few irrefutable truths. Such as:
    – I nodded sagely as I read along until I got to:

    >For example, based on what I’ve seen in the last few weeks, the local liquor/beer stores are enjoying a bump in business….
    – You can never stay serious for long, Hook. I should have known. Dang!


  24. The amount of tired hotels I’ve stayed in where everything comes away in your hand, clanks at 3 am and smells of aged pee means I am all for renovation. If I was religous I would also see your post as an Easter allegory! Chintz, plenty of chintz.

  25. Lady Lovely says:

    I actually don’t care when a company is doing reno’s. In my mind, it’s a good thing, update right! It only bothers me in grocery stores cause I HATE shopping. So when it’s takes me an extra 10 mins to find my food, then I get pissed.

  26. Hahaha.. that is precisely the question I had for every hotel we’ve book on our next trip! I wouldn’t blame you though:D

  27. renxkyoko says:

    We stayed in one hotel in Europe where the street in front was being renovated and the staff didn’t inform the tour manager. We had to haul our luggages about one block away . There was nowhere to park our huge tour bus.

  28. Any time I have stayed at a place that was under renovations if there was an inconvenience to me the hotel compensated me for that. You may get a few bucks of the bill, a nice breakfast, have your room upgraded or moved, or even an alternate place to swim. I have even had hotels say they would help me find another place to stay if I wanted to. The hotel staff has no choice they are stuck there. I hope it is sorted before peak season starts or you are in for a long summer.

  29. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Oh god, I’m much better now (virtually no symptoms unless under A LOT of stress) but no one is more put out by renovations that those with OCD (sorry to go all serious lol). The idea of dust, dirt, and contamination is enough to put most OCDers of their food and sleep. Just think of all that cement powder and aspesdos fibers flying around the place! AAAAHH 🙂

    Well I hope the place looks great once everything’s done! And who doesn’t know what renovations means? Really?!

    All the best!


  30. TBM says:

    I’ve been living with perpetual construction since I moved into my flat in London a year and a half ago. Each time I think it’s over, another flat in my building starts the whole process. Good luck Hook.

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