To read more from this series, start with our first post of the Secrets of a Front Desk Agent.
Group Travel Edition:
If you are travelling in a group there are endless things to think about in preparation for the big trip. As a front desk agent, I’ve encountered a few issues that group travelers were not prepared for. Many things can go wrong or be forgotten when planning a trip and with adding many people into the mix, it is easy to over-look some planning aspects. Here are some things I recommend looking into to make your trip unforgettable in the most positive way possible!
Getting rooms nearby or connecting rooms.
If you are travelling with friends or new acquaintances you all may wish to have rooms nearby. Being in close proximity to the rest of the group makes coordinating easier when meeting up for the trip itinerary, but also a fun excuse to have the entire group nearby for more of the trip. Sometimes you want to enjoy the hotel room after a long day of venturing the foreign lands. You can make the group trip even better by requesting connecting rooms to make the most of group travel. Connecting rooms are great because it turns 2 ordinary rooms into one big suite for your entire party. Some people have strong opinions against connecting doors because if it adjoins rooms with strangers they feel a little of a luxury is taken away. However, they are completely lockable on you side, and if your group will occupy more than one room, why not adjoin? You can still have your privacy if you want, but you could also have the doors open and interact with everyone more. Connecting rooms don’t have to just be for families and bachelorette parties. If you decide that having the rooms as close as possible is the way to go, plan ahead but not too far in advance.
Call the hotel at least a week in advance AND the morning you will arrive.
This goes for more than just a request for rooms to be close or connecting. Having a reservation months in advanced doesn’t guarantee having things the way you and your group planned. The front desk hears all the time, “But I’ve had these reservations for MONTHS!”
I’m sorry, sir. Sometimes things get lost in communication, last minute changes happen up in the sales department, and it all trickles down to a mistake with your reservation. I recommend that once you have made your reservation, call back a week in advance to make your special requests to get the notes on the reservation and reserve the combination of rooms before anyone else does. Then make sure to call again closer to the day you and your party will arrive to ensure that nothing has changed and that the staff communicated with each other properly. But don’t expect results when requesting it for the first time on the day of your arrival either.
Make sure everyone is on the Reservation
Whether you are the one who booked the reservation or not, the only person allowed to check into the room is the person whose name the room is under. The front desk of any hotel must request to see the ID of a person checking in to keep in mind the privacy and safety of the guest. So, if you have plans on someone else in the group checking in, the person who made the reservation must add their group member’s name on as well. The more names added with not conflict with payment issues at the end or beginning of the stay. It will simply make it easier for anyone in the group to be able to handle issues at the front desk. It is especially important to add group members in case anyone gets separated. If your friend can’t remember the number of their room number that they are sharing with you or the room number of the other members, the front desk cannot disclose any of that information to them without a photo ID and their name attached to the room. Another thing is if someone in the group loses their room key. If their name is on the reservation then the front desk will have no problem creating another key to be able to let them in.
Contact the Sales department
The Sales department is different than just calling the front desk or the reservations department because they book larger scale income for the hotel. This includes events, weddings, corporate accounts, and large groups. Even if your group isn’t quite the size of a wedding, try giving the sales department a call if you and your group will be booking more than one room. As a hotel employee, I always would recommend booking directly through the hotel anyway. That said, if you have a group, the sales department may be able to offer a better deal to accommodate everyone comfortably. When visiting Orlando, I encountered cheap hotel rooms which were a short drive away from Disney World which could accommodate 6 people in one giant room.
Sometimes even with all the planning you may not have the rooms exactly as you like. Use all your heads together to plan the best trip you can, and if a few things go wrong, keep your cool. Remember to be kind to your front desk agent, communicate clearly and in a timely manner, but treat them as you would like to be treated. Happy travels!