Traditionally it’s the front desk clerk that asks the queries when a traveler approaches their desk, pulls out a credit card that will soon be smoking, and begins the laborious (and sometimes painful) check-in process.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not entirely, at least.
Sure, the front desk clerk (referred to as a Guest Service Agent in my neck of the woods) has a job to do, but so do you if you want your trip to be as successful – and as entertaining – as possible. So here are a few questions you may want to pose to the next lucky clerk you encounter in your travels.
ONE) “I see your property is under construction, something that wasn’t mentioned anywhere on your website. This is terribly inconvenient as my father was killed on a construction site; he fell into a vat of cement and is now part of the Long Island Expressway. We pull over to the side of the road and strap a wreath around his pillar every Christmas; it’s all very moving. So you can see why I prefer not to stay in a hotel under renovation. So what can you do for me?”
What are they gonna do, call you a liar?
TWO) “On average, how many dead hookers would you say your housekeeping staff discover in your guest rooms annually?”
FYI: Twenty-four is an acceptable number, as it works out to two a month, but once you start hearing triple digits you’ll need to get the hell out of Dodge. Those dead hookers spirits are bad for one’s mojo. And speaking of spirits…
THREE) “Are your ghosts of the rapey variety?”
At one point in time if you checked into an establishment and discovered it was home to the spirits of the deceased, well, you would’ve hit the ground running so fast you might’ve suffered from third-degree wind burn.
But this is 2018 and ghosts are cool, baby. We have ghost hunter reality shows, ghosts pop up in every other genre of pop culture and of course, Supernatural has been going strong for fourteen seasons now. So it won’t surprise you to learn that many guests I encounter will ask if the hotel I serve in is home to any wandering spirits.
But you have to draw the line somewhere, intrepid travelers. So figure out what type of spectral entity you’re dealing with before you hand over that credit card; your backside will thank you.
FOUR) “Which bellman can hook me up with whatever I might need?”
Every hotel or resort has an employee who can get you whatever you might require. You’ll have to exercise some discretion though; the Management will never acknowledge their existence but even they know the employee in question is invaluable to the joint’s success. Of course, in my home country of Canada the landscape has changed drastically thanks to Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s boy Justin, but even though weed is now legal travelers still need a bellman to secure them carnal delights, right?
Or they could just arrange something online. But there’s got to be something people still need from their local bellman, right? A new kidney perhaps? True story, a guest once asked me to put him in touch with a black market organ dealer.
Easiest hundred bucks I ever made.
FIVE) “I plan on having some mighty aggressive coitus with my partner. Do you have any suites in a corner that are soundproof or better yet, on an empty floor?”
There’s no point in mincing words when it comes to angry sex. After all, the last thing you want is security banging on your door while you’re doing the same on the other side of it.
SIX) “Can you point me in the direction of the one concierge in your establishment that knows everything?”
Again, every hotel has one; that staff member who has an encyclopedic knowledge of their surroundings. At my place of business it’s Frank. This guy can hook you up with the best wine tours, dinner reservations, zero gravity wrestling joints; you name it, Frank can find it for you.
Not every inn has a Frank but if they don’t have a reasonable facsimile they have no business being in the hospitality business.
SEVEN) “When can I expect your lobby, elevators and valet department to be overrun with chaos?”
Universal check-out time is eleven am but every joint has a different vibe when it comes time to depart, so do your homework and figure out exactly when the lobby is going to resemble the fall of Saigon. Unless you happen to like screaming kids, crotchety seniors, hungover bachelorettes and drunken nuns. In which case, have fun!
EIGHT) “Does your hotel recognize acolytes of Satan as an ethnic group worthy of a discount or special consideration? And if so, can I get a room as close to the ground as possible?
Don’t laugh; the Satanic Temple is a real thing and they’re suing Netflix and the producers of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for copyright infringement, so you never know what – or who – you’re going to encounter when you go outside these days.
NINE) “How legally binding are the extra charges I’m going to see on my bill?”
It’s not just airlines or the Girl Scouts that hit you with service charges these days; some hotels are out of control when it comes to dinging you for “Municipal Improvement Taxes” or “Vampire Defense Fees”.
But regardless of what the front desk clerk might tell you, you can fight these charges, especially since they’re not actually taxes or charges. Stand your ground and keep that cash where it belongs: in your Mickey Mouse piggy bank.
TEN) That one question you’ve always wanted to ask… But didn’t have the balls to do so.
I’ve seen the Grim Reaper’s handiwork a lot these past few years, so trust me when I tell you this: life’s too short to live in fear, friends. Let the words escape your lips, whatever those words may be.
You’re paying good money to sleep in a different bed, make sure you get everything you want and deserve from the experience. So ask those questions and remember that you’ll never see the clerk again, so be the Guest Without Fear!
And that, my friends, is all the damage I can do for one day. See you in the lobby, travelers…