I’ve had difficult guests in the past, but yesterday’s guest is STILL bothering me today.
She was in town for a conference being held in the hotel next to us, but had opted to stay with us based on our reviews. My first contact with her was when she asked me where she should park. I explained where the garage was, but told her she would need to check in first, since her room key would open the gate. She thanked me and went to stand in line behind my other co-worker, who was already checking in a guest.
I thought that odd, and asked her if she was ready to check in, I could help her.
We made some small talk and I asked her for her credit card and ID. She handed over her debit card. I explained that I would charge the card right away for the amount needed, and she looked at me like I was crazy. “Oh, well that’s not the card I want to use to pay for the room. I want to use the credit card on file.”
“OK. Do you have that card with you?”
For the next 10 minutes I tried to explain to her, that for the card holder’s security, we do not charge credit cards without obtaining an electronic swipe or without a signed authorization form. I offered options on how I could help her obtain an authorization form, but she would hear nothing of it.
“What’s the purpose of asking for all my credit card information at the time of reservation, if I was going to need it when I got here?”
I patiently explained we ask for a credit card at the time of reservation to guarantee the room, but it’s not charged at that time. We collect payment at check in.
Again, she would hear nothing of it, and loudly proclaimed she should have stayed at the other hotel. Twice she went to my co-worker, a male who has been there all of 6 months, and explained to him that I was making things difficult and she needed to get over to her conference.
The second time she went to him, I said “Ma’am, I am his supervisor, and if you have an issue with me I would prefer you take it up with me.”
“She’s YOUR supervisor?!” she looked at him not quite believing it.
He replied, “Yes, and she’s right. She’s got it.”
So she relented and came back to me. With more patience than I felt, I offered to let her fill out an authorization form at the desk, since the card had her name on it, and that way, if there was any dispute later on, we would have the necessary paperwork.
As she was filling it out, I apologized for the rough start. I offered to comp her parking charges, and informed her I had given her a free upgrade to a corner room viewing the arch.
She told me to wait, and then looked up and said, “Ok, what?” very condescendingly. Like I was bothering her again.
I took a breath, forced the smile back on my face, and repeated myself. “I sure didn’t mean to make things difficult for you, and I’m sorry.”
To my surprise, she apologized too. She’d just come off of 8 hours on the road, and was feeling rushed to get over to her conference. We shook hands, and off she went.
I went to the back and nearly cried.
I pride myself on making things easy for people, and doing everything in my power to make their time away from home as hassle free as possible, and yet SHE felt hassled.
While she was at her conference, I left her a very friendly voice mail, inquiring about the room, making sure she would be comfortable, apologizing once again for the rough start, and advising her to please call down if there was anything we could do to make her stay better.
I was checking in a different guest when she came down for her free drinks. She interrupted, and thanked me whole-heartedly. She said the room was beautiful and everything was great. I responded with a big smile and a warm thank you.
Perhaps I turned her around. Only time will tell. I still don’t feel at ease, and I’m hoping to be able to check her out on Sunday morning giving me one more chance to make things right.
On the bright side, the anxiety flowing through me helped me to run 7 miles today. My longest since coming back from my injury.
I suppose that’s worth something.
But I’d rather just turn back time and provide my guest with an easy check in right from the beginning. And if I’m allowed to do that, I’ll make sure she brings her d@mn credit card with her.