Proactive Hotel Front Office Phone Calls: Yay Or Nay?

I think any frequent hotel guest has pet peeves. Heck, over the past couple of years I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of nights in hotels, and I know I have a never ending list of them.

Most of my pet peeves involve laziness or bad technology in one form or another (like a front desk associate asking “have you stayed with us before?” when you’re a frequent guest). However, I have one pet peeve that involves hotels actually being proactive, which I appreciate in theory.

Specifically, you know when you check into a hotel, and just a few minutes after you get to your room they call you to see how everything is? Well, I’ve never really understood that:

  • When they call I’m usually not in the room long enough to actually know if anything is wrong (it’s like when you’re in a restaurant and they ask how your food is before you have a chance to try it)
  • If I have a problem shortly after checking into the hotel, I’ll call the front desk proactively to let them know of my issue; it’s rare, but it happens
  • A few minutes after you get into the room you’re usually checking out the view, unpacking, etc., so you don’t really want to have a conversation if the front office associate is chatty and asking if they can make food or activity suggestions

Sheraton-Fiji

Just to give an example, I checked into the Sheraton Fiji today, and five minutes after I got to the room I received the typical “is everything okay?” phone call.

But they took it a step further, because in the afternoon I was trying to take a nap (and had the “do not disturb” sign on the door), and the front office manager called to ask how my stay was going, since she saw I was only staying for one night (I was switching to another hotel for the rest of my time in Fiji).

I appreciate the intent, but I also wish hotels had a way of linking the do not disturb sign on the door with unnecessary phone calls. Or perhaps it’s time for a “do not call” button, much like the sign that exists for the door.

I’m curious what you guys think.

Are you a fan of proactive phone calls from the front desk after checking into a hotel, or do you find them annoying as well?

Comments

  1. I find the calls annoying. Slightly less annoying than the knock on the door after checking in to ask if everything is OK.

    Shortly after I check into a hotel I usually take a shower or have to use the bathroom, so the calls and visits are quite inconvenient.

  2. My peeve list is long, but at the very top are mis-directed wake up calls at ungodly hours. A couple of years ago, at a Level 7 Hyatt property, we got three of them. 5:00 a.m. wake up calls, bringing the whole family awake. Ten minutes later a follow-up from the same operator. And then ten minutes after that by a different operator. Needless to say, we were fully awake after that. Next on the list is alarm clocks that haven’t been turned off and sound in the middle of the night. I wish housekeeping would reset those. We try to remember but sometimes the clocks are too complicated for us. And third on our hotel peeve list are the flat bottom sheets just tucked under the mattress which come completely out when the top sheets are pulled back, which necessitates either re-making your bed or sleeping in a pile of loose sheets.

  3. I simply don’t answer the room phone if it rings. Anyone I want to speak with has my cell number. My beef is with the “message waiting” light on the room phone that won’t shut off.

  4. I find these calls annoying but more so I find early morning calls about almost any topic far worse. I have been woken up too many times to count by hotel staff calling my room. I put the do not disturb on the door but most of the staff doesn’t walk to the room and check for that before calling.

  5. Calls are very annoying BUT more annoying is to get late night to your room and there is a stupid voice mail waiting for you. Yes, you can ignore it but there is a freaking light blinking all the time until you check that message. Well, 100% of the time it is the hotel manager or someone on its crew welcoming you to the hotel and telling you can contact them anytime if needed. WTH!!!!!!

    Well, worst that that is to get a call early in the morning from the Time Sharing department offering you free donuts of you attend a 2 hour session to learn more about their program. WT….

  6. Totally agree – had this happen at at airport hotel last week at 8PM “We noticed you are checking out tomorrow, is there anything you need”.

    I had an early AM flight and was already sleeping – I was furious for being woken for a stupid call.

  7. Never thought to unplug the phone in the room before, but this would be a good reason to do that especially when you’re trying to sleep.

  8. I appreciate the call provided its 5-10 minutes after i’ve checked in and if i dont answer they leave a message and don’t call back.

    To me it shows that they want me to be happy and use it as an opportunity to ‘make things right’ if something is wrong with my room. These days everyone is a critic and i’m sure they’d much prefer i tell them ‘my room is dirty/smells like smoke/doesnt have a great ac, etc….’ and give them a chance to fix the problem. Otherwise the guest might not say anything, then take to yelp/tripadvisor/whatever to complain about the problem at the hotel.

    It’s no different then when a waiter checks on his table after you’ve gotten your meal. If there’s a problem or anything you need better to know immediately.

  9. Actually this is one of my pet peeves. It may be annoying to you, but every time I get in the room and before un packing and do anything else, I checked my room. If I am staying in a high rise hotel, I will check first the life safety feature of the hotel like the sprinkler system and smoke detectors are in good working condition, secondly how the room smell, is the bed spread fresh and has been changed?, will the curtain close?, door lock properly?, the phone works?, the t.v. remote is working and not snowy and so forth. That courtesy call save me a lot of time and actually get a room upgrade by moving me to another room if the room I am assign is not satisfactory to my liking. Just my thought!

  10. Amen to that Lucky. They tell me at front desk “Please, If you need ANYTHNG, if find any problem, if you’e missing anything, call #number and we take care of it right away.” I go up to room and the phone rings,, “Is everything OK with your room?”

  11. @Ray And how on earth are you able to tell if the fire sprinklers are working properly …. without getting wet?

  12. @Steve: “Next on the list is alarm clocks that haven’t been turned off and sound in the middle of the night.”

    Arrgh, I hate this one too. The clocks that Hilton has are particularly hard to figure out, and I refuse to waste any time doing so. I just routinely unplug any clock that doesn’t make is completely obvious whether the alarm is set or not.

    As for calls to check up on guests after check in – meh, whatever. At least they care enough to follow the script. And, for that matter, to HAVE a script.

  13. @RandyFlyer you seem a very smart guy. Go to your either one of nearest stairways ( there should be two as a loop) and check the sprinkler riser gauge. It should read 75 psi or higher. If the the gauge is not pressurize or read zero you should worry. By the way you do not need to be wet to know it is working. Oh by the way I work as a fire sprinkler pipe fitter.

  14. Most annoying? When you are checking out that day and housekeeping continually knocks on the door in the AM to see if you’re leaving yet. So frustrating when you’re trying to shower / get ready for a business meeting etc. Especially when it’s hours before the checkout time. I feel so hassled when that happens.

  15. I tell then upon checking in that I don’t want to be disturbed by phone or at the door. As a precaution, I unplug my phone after checking that the room is clear of critters.

  16. Haven’t travelled that much to get calls of the nature but can say this much. I think it has to do with not being well thought out at all or not trained the people enough.

    I certainly understand the intent of such a call but whoever came up with it never really “paced” it out in my opinion. At least a few hours are needed for a call like that to be of any value.

  17. There are days when I want to be left alone in my room to either work or nurse a hangover or just chill-out. I will put-up/turn-on the do not disturb sign. I will tell the front desk. I will call housekeeping to tell them that I will not be needing their services. Nonetheless, there have been too many times in too many hotels when, late in the afternoon, I get that stupid call asking if I would like my room serviced.

    Yeah, I guess I could unplug the phone but then housekeeping would probably think I had died.

  18. THANK YOU @Ray!! I truly appreciate it the info! I know I will be checking these every time from now on!

  19. It’s all a big nuisance including waiters who constantly and rudely interrupt your conversation in restaurants asking if you need anything. If I need something I’ll let them know. It’s just ridiculous.

  20. Do not call. Leave me alone. I was raised to know how a phone operates — I will call if I need something.

    Ditto.

    Repeat.

  21. I’ve some experience from few hotels that, after 30 minutes or so send a person to deliver cookies/cake/fruits and ask “is everything ok”. I find this a better way to do that as I may decline it by do not distrupt sign

  22. I don’t mind the calls, but I rarely answer. Of late, however, I’m growing very, very tired of the question “How’s your day so far?”
    After being asked how my day is so far a minimum of four times a day (breakfast, check-in, lunch, dinner, and any number of encounters with retail personnel) the quick “How is everything?” feels almost like genuine conversation. Almost.

  23. Some of my pet peeves in no particular order:
    1. Phones that take up the entire bedside table or desk. Or multiple phones (eg, one beside the bed, one on the desk, and a third in the bathroom!). Gee, I don’t even have a phone in my house other than my cell

    2. Clutter that takes up every available surface in the room: the hotel guide, the room service menu, pillow menu, the change sheets sign, the mini bar menu, the pen and paper, glasses, coasters, etc. Some hotels have 10+. The first thing I do when entering a hotel room is collect all this clutter and put it out of sight

    3. IT Admin problems: online check ins that don’t work, loyalty points that aren’t credited, incorrect bills

    4. The ‘do not disturb’ sign which falls off or spins around so it reads ‘make up my room’

    5. Credit card authorisations when checking in. What a waste of time. Few other businesses require this. You don’t go into a restaurant and get asked for a credit card swipe before you have even ordered food

    6. Elevators that require keys

    7. Fridges that are so filled with mini bar items that there is no room for the most basic items like milk or a piece of fruit. Or worse, very expensive hotels that actually put a sign on the mini fridge saying that the fridge is only for mini bar items (I am paying $300 a night and you can’t even provide a space to store some milk, especially when the $30 Ibis across the road has one). Or worse, very expensive hotels that have sensors in their fridges that automatically charge your room for any items moved inside the fridge. I had a frustrating experience recently where my room had a nespresso pod machine, but no milk was provided. So I went to the hotel bar and asked for some milk which they kindly put in a paper cup. I squeezed this into the mini fridge and when I checked out there were $60 worth of mini bar charges to my room!

  24. The heck with hotel calls – try getting up at 3 O’clock in the morning in Beijing because AT&T sends your cell phone a Message you that you can make cheap calls back to the USA ! Those AT&T idiots do have computers – and they know – or damn well should know what TIME it is where they are calling you!

  25. I can’t stand it. However, I love the effort of a handwritten note left for me in my room asking the same questions and providing contact info.

  26. Lucky – When you check in, please tell the desk that you do not want to be disturbed. We’re more than happy to leave you alone (heck, it saves me resources) and let you do your thing… but we’re not mind readers… so we’re gonna call because we’re usually required to unless you instruct us not to.

    Personally, I think it’s an extremely outdated process which should be run via SMS.

  27. I hate it when they call me, it’s usually when me or someone else in my family is sleeping.

    What I started doing years ago is immediately unplugging every single phone in the room. I only plug one back in when I need to make a call, and after that, I immediately unplug it again.

  28. 15 minutes after we checked into the Carmel Valley Ranch last weekend, we heard a knock on the door, the maids asked us if we wanted turn down. We were confused because we expected when we arrived in the late afternoon that the room already be turned down.

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