Some people say we are in the era of post-COVID-19. That’s debatable, but what’s not debatable is that after being in lock-down or partial lockdown for over a year, people are now ready to stretch out and move about.
Americans are traveling again—booking cruises, scheduling vacations, and quick getaways, and attending weddings. That means people are booking hotel rooms. I think you know where I am going with this: hotel stay etiquette.
For this column, I spoke with a number of the hotel staff—from housekeepers to front desk personnel to management. I am pleased to say that overall, most people are well-behaved guests; however, there are times either out of ignorance, indifference, or inimical attitude when patrons go a bit far with their inappropriate behavior and end up in the rude zone.
Worse yet, they may be denied accommodations or asked to leave. During this era of COVID-19, respect and consideration for persons and property are more important than ever. Here are a few points to consider when planning your hotel visit.
Greet the person helping you
When you call the hotel or approach the front desk, take a moment to say hello. To launch directly into making requests and demands can appear short and dismissive. When this happens, the relationship can start off contentious, which is good for neither party.
It surprises me that some people still try to “sneak” a smoke. As recent as 2020, there have been reports of hotel fires due to cigarette smoke. If you are caught smoking, you may be asked to leave.
Things happen, technology fails, people call in sick. In our fast-moving, high-tech, high-efficiency world, we want it done and we want it done right now. Please understand that humans have limitations and technology sometimes fails.
Hotel owners and staff value your business. That is how they make a living. However, there are times when things may not move as quickly as you want them to. They appreciate your patience.
Understand service limitations
Two major changes have taken place since the advent of COVID-19, and hotels have had to change, alter, and even curtail some of their services. Please do not yell and scream and pout. Nothing good will come of it.
Currently many hotels clean rooms “upon request” and/or when patrons check out. In other words, if you expect your room to be cleaned every day, that is not likely to happen.
Going to a hotel used to be such a treat with clean rooms and clean towels every day, but times change. Nowadays, rooms are cleaned upon request, patrons are asked to conserve towels, and room service may be limited. The major reasons given are both COVID-related.
To reduce the spread of the virus, hotels strive to keep staff and patrons healthy and COVID-free by limiting contact among them. Additionally, businesses across America, hotels included, are short-staffed and simply do not have the personnel to accommodate speedy housekeeping and room service requests. Since your room service requests may be limited, slow, or non-existent, be mindful and be prepared to seek other sources for your meal.
Be prepared for additional fees
Parking fees, facility fees, pool fees, gym fees, and even early check-in fees may be required. Hotels try to make sure patrons are aware of these fees before booking and/or upon check-in. But there’s always that person who didn’t get the memo and then tries to raise a stink about it. We know where stinky behavior gets you.
I must admit my ignorance: When I first started traveling and staying in hotels, I didn’t know that you should tip the housekeeping staff. This, for many, is truly a faux pas borne out of ignorance. Now that I am enlightened, I build the tip into my travel budget.
It pays to behave
Do plan ahead for your stay and for your movement once you check in. Many hotels limit the number of occupants that can be in the hotel, and they may limit the number of occupants in common areas of the hotel such as the elevator, pool, or workout room.
Remember manners are memorable! You will remember how you were treated from booking to departure. To get the most from your trip, to have the most enjoyable and pleasurable experience, it pays to “be a good guest.” I’m sure the hotel staff will do their part. Will you do yours?
Juliet Mitchell welcomes readers’ responses to email@example.com. For more of her work, go to www.mannersarememorable.com.