SURE, the service may come with a smile, but little do we really know what goes on behind-the-scenes at hotels. Now, insiders have revealed their top secrets.
MANY travellers dream of staying in a luxury resort, saving up for such a splurge on a special occasion such as a honeymoon or anniversary.
The beds are luxuriously soft, the food is mouth-watering, the service comes with a smile — and the hopes of a big tip. But little do we really know what goes on behind-the-scenes, according to a Quora discussion on the top secrets of 5-star hotels.
Now, insiders have spilled the beans on 11 things luxury hotels don’t want you to know.
1. They’re watching you like a hawk
Cameron Nezam, a business development leader who has worked at Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and Mandarin Oreintal Hotel Group, says you are being monitored closely.
“Everyone in the hotel coordinates and tracks your whereabouts at all times so they know when to catch you if something is needed or when to enter your room,” he said.
“ … They are discreetly recording your preferences and behaviour in a database. If you flip out at someone, that goes in your ‘profile’. If you make a big deal about being put in a room near an elevator, that gets recorded.
“This is so they can get better at anticipating your needs and providing intuitive service which is considered 5-star level. If you’re a troublemaker they may have a manager handle your check-in/check-out.”
2. They know who you are even before you check in
“They will try to internet search every single guest staying with them to get an idea of who they are, what they are like, and once again, rank the status of each,” Mr Nezam said. “This will determine how good a room they will get.”
3. They cannot enter the room while your Do Not Disturb sign is up
“Legally, no one can enter your room if you have a Do Not Disturb sign on. It’s a big deal if hotel staff enter your room while you have this on,” he said.
4. But they know exactly what you’re getting up to
Mr Nezam said: “If you are having an affair, the hotel staff will pick up on it but for professional reasons will protect your privacy. You will see people come with their side girlfriend/boyfriend one weekend and then with their family another.
“The staff will look the other way and will make sure they don’t accidentally mention something. This is all tracked in your profile.”
5. Death is not discussed
“Each and every reputed 5-star hotel property does not want you to know if there was a death in hotel or not because this affects the reputation of the brand,” Kishansingh Nathawat, who has stayed in and worked with 5-star hotels in the US, India, Australia, said.
“Hotels also do not want you to know if there is a cleanliness and maintenance issue in property.”
6. Yes, they are talking about you
“Staff will vent about you to others after they deal with your ‘rant’ or your flaunting of ego and money,” Mr Nezam said. “Lots of staff in these hotels aren’t from privileged backgrounds and when they are dealing with the rich and famous, they need an outlet to vent on what they see.
7. While you may not think to haggle at an expensive resort, you may actually get a great deal if you try
“The penthouse suite price is a bragging point for every 5-star hotel and they are negotiable,” Mr Nezam said.
“In NYC you’ll find some penthouse suites for $US30-40,000 ($40-53,000) per night! You’ll likely have to talk to the sales department so they can qualify you to see how serious you are. If you offer $US19-30,000 per night suite, they may take you on it depending on occupancy.”
8. But forget about hotel booking sites
Jim, founder of Jimsbreachdeals.com, travels the world visiting 5-star resort, said it’s best to call the hotel directly.
“Third party booking is usually not the best deal — 5-star hotels usually only use these sites when they have a large number of vacancies,” he said. “Instead of booking through a third party, call the hotel and ask for their base rates. You will most likely get a better price and your loyalty will be appreciated.”
9. Know the tricks to asking for an upgrade
“Reword your question — too shy or bashful to ask the front desk for a room upgrade?” Jim said. “Instead ask for a corner room. These rooms are almost always larger and have better views. It’s just as good as asking for an upgrade.”
10. Status matters even more than you may expect
Mr Nezam said: “If you are a high-profile guest, VIP guest, loyal guest, you provide value for them by staying there so they will most likely put you on the ‘special attention’ list.
“How special your experience turns out to be all depends on who you come across whether it’s a front desk agent, reservations agent, front office manager, sales manager, etc. They will all abide by the same guidelines for guest interaction but will treat you differently depending on ‘who you are’.
“Notice when that manager comes around the desk quickly when an A-list guest is in their periphery, they want to make sure everything is OK.”
11. They never kiss and tell
Bruce Claver, who has more than 25 years experience in luxury hospitality said privacy is so important.
“They do not want you to know anything concerning anybody famous or otherwise, currently staying in the hotel or who has ever stayed at the hotel, no matter how ‘juicy’ the story or facts are,” he said,
“They have a duty to maintain supreme secrecy in order to continually attract and maintain their designated market, the affluent guest. If the public really knew what these celebrities were up to, it would not only be a PR nightmare for the celebrity, but the hotel as well because it would highlight the lax security celebrities and affluent guests depend upon.
“For example, if Taylor Swift were staying at the hotel and someone came up to the front desk and asked, ‘Is Taylor Swift staying here? I’m pretty sure I just saw her!’ The standard answer would be (after looking in the computer), ‘I’m sorry, I do not have a guest registered under that name’.
“This would be the truth since famous people never stay under their real name and we allow people to be registered under an alias or as an NRG, non-registered guest, so their name does not pop up on the computer screen if the front desk agent types it in.
“Therefore, it is the secrets and names of guests that 5-star hotels do not want you to know. Oh … and even the best-maintained hotel kitchens have some roaches. That too.”