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When I started working in hotels the computer screens glowed in one color, alien green, and the monitors were the size of boulders. We used to confidently toss comment cards in the trash (or, as we referred to it, file them in the “T” file) making them disappear forever. I used to cash checks by picking up the phone and speaking to another human being. Music in the lobby was usually provided by a piano player, who would swivel his head at passing guests with a ridiculous, pasty-looking smile as he tapped out non-offensive cover songs played with a non-offensive classical flourish.
Now, mid-volume, beat-heavy techno seeps from recessed speakers built into the lobby’s crown molding. The screens are flat. You can’t manage to direct anything from Trip Advisor into the “T” file and all the guests want to hook up their iPad to the toilet or whatever. And if you pay with a check I still have to pick up the phone, which is extremely irritating because who pays with checks anymore? Stop it.
But all of that change means nothing. Because I’ll tell you what hasn’t changed: The front desk agents, the bellmen, the doormen, the housekeepers, the room service attendants, and the managers. Hotel employees are still version 1.0 and I guarantee if you brought me to a bar and sat me next to a front desk agent from 1897, we’d over-drink and swap the same type of hilarious stories about the same type of insane guests. Hospitality, no matter how slick it gets, will always be a business run by people who serve people. It will always be about service. It will always take a person to explain that, no, you cannot hook up your iPad to the toilet but you can use it to control the lights and wirelessly play music through the in-room speaker system. And guests still, and hopefully will forever, hand me physical comment cards, which I will continue to throw in the trash.
During all these renovations (while I said things like, “Wait, they made the internet wireless? It’s in the goddamn air now?”) I was always writing. I grew up reading novel after novel and that’s all I wanted from life, to give back and write something good. After years of hotel work and relocations that took me from New Orleans to Paris to Copenhagen and ultimately New York City, I finally conceived the idea for Heads in Beds. I put everything I had into it, all my knowledge of the industry and the writing skills I’d developed since I was a child. I truly hope you find it funny and informative and that it helps you navigate the crooked halls of hospitality. That has always been my goal, to write something good.
That and hang out with a front desk agent from 1897.
As a hotelier, I loved this book and read it in about two days because I just couldn't put it down.Published 1 day ago by Bonnie H.
What could have been a interesting and decent book turns out to be a total waste of time. It starts out kind of interesting but dies out fast. Read morePublished 12 days ago by hdtravel
Hilarious and eye opening. I really enjoy behind the scenes books like this, it is like having a secret peek at the things the industry doesn't want you to see.Published 18 days ago by Betty Freeman
It gave me a different perspective of working in the industry. I work at a small hotel so a lot of what he talks about I've not experienced.. but can see it happening. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Melissa
Very lame. A bitter rant about a loser that needs more ten dollar bills. Irrelevant, hotel staff does dick for tippers. I've tried. Good luck pal.Published 26 days ago by Jay Baglio
Great inside tales and tips to hotels! Total eye opener and now, I do my best to treat many hotel staff with respect and tip when I can. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Travis Scotka
It was a fun read over the New Year's holiday. It was an interesting perspective about the hotel industry and I think most of the negative reviews for this book are people taking... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Carl Engelking