Hotel Operations: Behind the Scenes

If you don’t work in hotels, there are probably couple of really annoying things about them that you don’t understand. In this post I will share some of the hotel operations rules and explain why some of the things are done in that way.

Disclaimer: These are the observations and thoughts that I have from my experiences of working in hotels. I am not sharing it to make hotelier lives more difficult but to explain why some things are done in a certain way. This post is based on the questions that I have often received from my guests.

Check out  12pm / Check in 3pm

Sometimes your flight is really quite late in the evening and you do not understand why hotel does not accept your request to extend it just for an hour.

In five-star hotel operations it has been recorded that it takes 45 minutes (on average) to clean one room. Apart from that, sometimes some rooms need anti-smoking treatment, which takes another hour. After that 2-3 people have to check any room. Sometimes, there are also amenities required to be ready – all in all it really needs some time to be ready.

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But the next question is why then sometimes hotels can accept paid late check out? The answer is easy – the person who was assigned into your room was probably upgraded to another class to have the room ready… Both rooms are now out of sale, so the fee for late check out partially compensates the loss. 

How are the upgrades granted?

If you are lucky sometime, to your surprise you will be upgraded to a higher class upon arrival. You want to know how it is happening?

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In the Emirates Palace of Abu Dhabi

In each hotel operations we have person responsible for room assignment. That person actually decides who gets upgraded based on a few conditions and characteristics. Firstly, your membership – if you are a participant your chances to get upgraded are way higher. Also, you VIP level is taken in consideration.

Secondly, the length of stay determines if you get upgraded or not. Normally, longer staying guests are less likely to be upgraded, just for a reason that the higher class room might be eventually sold for a higher rate.

Next reason for an upgrade is the rate you pay. Here it is extremely easy, the higher you pay, the higher are chances.

Your likelihood to come back also plays a big role – guests can be easily attracted by another good offer in the region. When you are a corporate client – you are likely to be upgraded as you have higher chance to return to the hotel as normally the choice is more limited than for OTA (online travel agencies) guests.

Finally, personal attitude sometimes also might play a role. In my experience, I have seen some situations when people get upgraded despite any logic. This really happens if you are nice and treat hotel employees respectfully.

Dietary requirements.

As many people on our planet as many diet requirements are out there. It is very important to inform the hotel. However, if you tell when you are in-house already, there are fewer options that can be offered. Did you know that if you let the hotel know about your gluten-free diet, you can actually get a really nice choice of bread, pastries and dishes to choose from.

When we are caught last-minute with special requests, it is still possible but more challenging to have special arrangement. Regardless how you book the hotel, your requirements will be passed on to the related people and departments. So take a minute and let us know to make sure we tailor your choices and help us to simplify hotel operations.

Lunch and Dinner Menu.

In the kitchen there is a term “mise en place” which means preparing the ingredients and set up for cooking later. The kitchen normally starts working in the morning to prepare for lunch. And in the break time after lunch, it is the time when they prepare for dinner.

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In many restaurants food choice for lunch and dinner is different. There were many times when the guests were asking and complaining about not being able or taking long time to deliver lunch dish for dinner.

The reason behind is that lunch “mise en place” has to be either fully used during this meal or thrown away due to hygienic restrictions. Therefore, if you order dish not from the existing menu it takes longer to prepare.  Also, in that case, on person has to be spared to focus on this dish. which slows entire process overall.

Special request for celebrations.

In the hotels we are really keen on making your stay special. When it is for your celebration – even more. Actually, as hoteliers are in general very people oriented, we are very happy to make your stay memorable. Even if it requires extra personal efforts and challenges hotel operations, we will do the best.

When you come to a hotel for an actual celebration, do not hesitate to tell us about it. It is actually a pleasure for us to know and do something, and not finding out when you are in the hotel already and feel embarrassed.

These were five tips, suggestions and explanations on hotel operations. I will be sharing more and explaining how hotels work in future posts.