Linda Martinez, of Rome’s The Beehive hotel, clarifies some Dos and Don’ts as a hotel guest.
Close your eyes and imagine 5,000 consecutive days of house guests, but not just one or two, more like fifty guests at any one time. That’s just a glimpse into the past thirteen years of my husband Steve and my adventures in the hospitality business. If you want to know what makes or breaks our day in our work, here’s a few Dos and Don’ts:
- Do follow up to e-mails and reservation requests. If you haven’t heard from us, it doesn’t mean we didn’t respond. SPAM filters are a necessity, but a nuisance.
- Do let us know if there are any problems. We aren’t mind readers. If you don’t tell us something is broken, we can’t fix it.
- Do turn off lights and fans/ac when not in the room. Multiply the high cost of utilities by a business that remains open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year and you’ll discover why many hotels have an array of waste-saving devices and measures in place, and yes, if your hotel provides AC they will justifiably turn it off while you are out.
- Do give advance notice for changes. Don’t reserve 14 nights, 6 months in advance if there’s any chance that when you arrive you’ll actually only stay 2.
- Do ask questions. Whether it’s where to have dinner or how to purchase train tickets, a hotel with good customer service will have the answers or be able or willing to help find out.
- Do write a review. Do provide useful commentary with thorough, honest and factual details, give praise where praise is due and avoid backhanded compliments.
- Don’t submit your credit card details without first reading the reservation/cancellation policies. For all the concern about privacy and security, many people still input their information onto a form without reading the policies before sending it out into the abyss.
- Don’t haggle. Contrary to some popular travel guides, we think trying to negotiate a lower rate if you’ve already been quoted a price is awkward. We’re not selling Turkish rugs.
- Don’t ask if you can come back to take a shower after you’ve already checked out.
- Don’t complain about free amenities. It never ceases to amaze me how many people complain about the fact that the computer with free Internet is too slow, too old or that the free wi-fi is spotty.
- Don’t be a know it all. We appreciate constructive criticism (really we do), but please don’t tell us in arrogant tones about your years of experience in the hospitality industry and how we should do things differently.
- Don’t equate good customer service with getting everything you want. You’ve accepted our policies so please respect them too.
Strive to be the kind of guest you would want in your own home. Kindness, graciousness and respect go both ways in the hospitality business. If you treat your host in this manner, you will undoubtedly receive the same in kind.
Linda, with husband Steve, is the owner of The Beehive, Rome’s favorite ecological and budget hotel and cafe. In addition and together, they are the brain-power behind Cross Pollinate, a holiday accommodation agency with personally selected private apartments, B&Bs and guesthouses in Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Barcelona and London.