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.
My book club found it most enlightening - especially those who travel more frequently and stay in the more upscale, accommodating hotels. Read morePublished 3 days ago by William Hodgson
It's 4:35 a.m. and I just finished laughing and enjoying this very amusing book. Buy it, you will laugh, learn and enjoy.Published 11 days ago by Barney W.
Not as juicy as the title and blurbs imply. Greasing the desk agent to get better service seems to be the message of the book. Over and over.Published 12 days ago by Richard Lang
Entertaining read which opened up my views about the hotel industry. I will be using the $20 trick every time I check into a hotel.Published 13 days ago by Chris
I tried to finish this book as it kills me to leave a book unfinished but I could not stand his dark, vulgar language with a ton of dirty stories anymore... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Chris
Funny, engaging and interesting - and I also learned a few tips for hotel stays! Good insight into hotels - and several things I didn't really realize before. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Linda Straub
Well written, funny, great insight into the world of the front desk clerk.Published 21 days ago by Old Lucky
All you never knew you wanted to know about working in the hospitality industry! :) Tomsky writes an engaging memoir full of funny and touching stories while providing readers with... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Lisa South