Tag Archives: work

What I’ve Learned from Working in a Motel.

2 Sep

I’ve had my job as a motel front desk clerk for just over two years now. It’s not a job I’m anticipating holding onto for the rest of my life, nor is it the career path I’m choosing to pursue. That being said, if you’re a college student looking for a job, I highly recommend trying to get work at a motel front desk. Not a hotel desk, and not at one of those motel chains. We’re talking local, family owned motels, like the one I’m working at. Chances are they’ll be very lenient on rules, very nice to you, and treat you well as an employee. This is what I’ve found, at least.

I really like my job at the motel I work at. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my ups and downs with it along the way, but it’s a job I fully intend on keeping until I graduate from college this upcoming June and get out of town. Hell, I might even try to get another motel job elsewhere once I’m out of Ashland, just until I can save enough money to do whatever the hell it is I want to do with my future.

Anyway, I’ve come to realize this morning that I’ve learned quite a lot from my two years of working here, and I thought I’d share a little advice with anyone who might be going into the motel front desk business anytime soon.

  • Look presentable. I mean, I’ve had days where I’ve gone to work not looking my best, which is fine. Hell, I’m at the point where if I have nothing else going on for the day, except work, I won’t bother to put makeup on. I’ve found though that on days where I’m dressed nicely and look presentable, I’m much more likely to be chipper with the guests. This could just pertain to me (aka people who aren’t exactly the most confident), but I find it’s the little things that help.
  • People like to be talked to. Okay, maybe not all people, but most do. I try to ask questions like “long drive?” or “any fun plans in [city]?” when I’m doing the check in process. I find most people like this, though, if I had to stereotype, usually middle aged women, older men, and elderly couples like this best (oh man, especially elderly couples). It’s sometimes a really nice transition for them after a long trip. It’s also a nice way to welcome them.
  • Give the customer your full undivided attention. The best perk, in my opinion, of working at a motel is that I get to sit in front of a computer screen the whole time I’m there. This means I get to go on Facebook, work on my writing, do homework, and watch tons of Netflix. Hell, I’m writing this entry up at work right now. That being said, the second I see someone approaching the front door, I pause whatever it is I’m watching, minimize Facebook, or put my homework aside. While a guest is there they become your number one priority.
  • Don’t be afraid to turn people away. I haven’t done this many times, but it has happened once or twice. I only do it if the person tells me they “don’t have the cash on them” at the time and “will pay the next morning”. I’ve made more than one mistake in the past in believing these statements, and the motel pays the price by that person running out before paying their bill. So at this point if the person can’t pay upfront or doesn’t have a credit card to put on file, I turn them down. This usually leads to people pleading with me (which has gotten me in the past, and then gotten me in trouble because they lied and didn’t pay). The best way I handle this is by saying, “Sorry, I can’t. If it were up to me I would, but my boss would kill me.” It takes the blame off of you, and since your boss isn’t there you’re directing the blame at an invisible entity. It’s a pretty good tactic to use.
  • There’s no such a thing as a stupid question. That’s a lie. Of course there are stupid questions and, chances are, you’ll be asked the same stupid questions repeatedly. But it’s your job to  make the guests feel like their questions are not stupid and that it’s no big deal.
  • There’s no such thing as a repetitive question. Again, lie. Stupid or not stupid, you’re going to be asked the same questions over and over and over and OVER again. Some questions I’ve learned to address head on. After working here a couple months I found that people were always going to come back to the office after checking in to ask for the wifi password, so now during the check in process I ask them if they’d like the code. Besides wifi, the number one question I get asked is where to eat. This is kind of a shitty question for me because I don’t eat out much, and when I do it’s usually at the same four or five restaurants. But I try to give recommendations as best I can.
  • Be honest. Sometimes people just don’t want to stay at your motel/hotel because of a number of reasons. Price, location, size of rooms, could be anything. In handling this, I’m usually asked for my recommendation of other places to stay in Ashland. I don’t really know any of the other motels, which I explain to them, but I do try to give them advice. I tell them the places by the freeway are most likely cheaper, I tell them the places that are closer into town, and sometimes even where the hostel is. I do attempt to persuade them at first to stay at our motel, but if that fails then I do give my honest opinions about other places to stay.
  • Sometimes you have to threaten to call the cops. I can’t really write more on this one, since I’ve never actually had to call the cops. But I’ve threatened, and luckily that’s worked well for me in the past so far. If someone is causing a disturbance or scene, saying the words “if you do not stop and leave our facility I’ll have to call 911” tends to work great.
  • Act like you give a shit. Or, do one better, and actually give a shit. People respond well when you respond well to their issues. Today two women came in and were in a grumpy mood about a couple issues about their room. I listened tentatively, waited until they were done, and told them everything I could do to fix their problems. I took care of the only problem I knew how to, and for the others I made sure they knew I was going to tell my bosses about their room issues. I even wrote down a note for my bosses in front of them so they knew I’d tell them about their problems. By the time they left they were all smiles and very chipper.
  • Not every guest is a peach. Sometimes guests are just shitty. Maybe something bad happened on the way there. Maybe they were stuck in a car or on a bus or plane for the last ten hours (sometimes more). Or sometimes they’re just awful people. I’ve only ever once snapped back at a guest (I don’t remember the circumstance, but I do remember it was very much deserved). Chances are if they’re taking their anger out on you, there’s usually a reason. Just remember it’s professional to answer in a neutral manner when this happens. I usually just nod, attempt to provide a solution if there’s a complaint, and try to not take anything they’re saying personally.

some reasons I am happy.

17 Aug

— I started writing for the web-site Buzz Patrol yesterday. Today I wrote five articles for the site in one sitting, and I am getting paid per article.

— I officially can fit in a pair of size six pants for the first time since, Jesus, I don’t even know when.

— The adorable backpack and shirt I ordered came in the mail.

— I’ve only got ten more episodes until I’m done watching the entirety of The Muppet Show in under two weeks.

— My online Web Development course is complete, at long last!

— Grabbing coffee with Beckah tomorrow morning.

— I’m probably gonna go see Ruby Sparks on Sunday, either by myself or with Martin.

— Tomorrow I’m finally going to be through with my first draft of Obsessed, my screenplay, and then I’ll send it on it’s way to Aileen to be read.

— I’m going to start working on my next Cool Gizmo Toys featured article tonight.

— An associate producer over at the Don Bluth company read my wordpress entry on The Secret of Nimh and liked it.

— I went grocery shopping today and am all set on food until my next paycheck.

— My security deposit check from my last house is on its way in the mail.

— Hamburger for dinner, then a late night run once I get off of work.

More proof that I am the most AWKWARD human ever

17 Mar

It’s another awkward story that takes place at work.

The motel closes at 10pm every night, so when people have yet to check in I call them a half hour beforehand to let them know our policy about late check ins. And there was one tonight which is usually, y’know, not a big deal. Except I know this name. It is the name of an actor who used to perform over at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival here in Ashland, and I may or may not have had a massive crush on him a couple years ago. So, I pick up the courage and give him a call, and am relieved when it goes to voice mail. I ten proceeded to leave the most awkward message of my life. It included a lot of “um”s, ridiculously long pauses, repeating information, and, oh god, it was just bad. I ended the message by saying, “So that’s that and I hope everything… is… fine… Goodbye.”

But the message has been left and I’m calming down, since I wont have to interact with him and make an even bigger fool of myself. Then the phone rings. It’s him, of course, and he’s about five minutes away. I then get to be even more ridiculously awkward via the phone, which he didn’t seem to notice. Thank goodness.

Five minutes later he comes into the office and, oh god, he’s even more gorgeous than I remembered (y’know, I wasn’t gonna identify him, but here’s a picture. He’s done some TV/movies as well as theatre). It only then occurs to me that my hair is atrocious from going to the gym, I’m wearing no make up, and I’m wearing my dorky Doctor Who T-shirt. So I then get to check him in while diverting my gaze the entire time. After he was all checked in I then got to bury my face in my hands and commend myself for sinking to new lows of awkwardness.

Blerg.