Business

“How’s business?” you might wonder.

Well it sucks.  A big cock.  That being said, it could be a lot worse.  Some hotels are downright suffering.  Ours is shaping up to emerge relatively unscathed, but that is really only by comparison (i.e. no massive layoffs or furlows, no ghost town occupancies for months at a time, etc.).  The truth is, as a “luxury” hotel, we’ve gotten a little skanky.  Well we haven’t – we’re still running around in our ostentatious costumes, exhibiting our hospitality pedigrees, and “anticipating guest needs”.  But it turns out that years of high expectations of employees from guests, has in turn cultivated high expections of guests from employees.  And let me just tell you – these motherfuckers are not living up to their end of the deal.

You see, the suits that sit for long hours in dark rooms that stir witches’ brews and cast spells to come up with a magic concoction that is a room rate have decided that rather than keep prices high when times are tough, it’s best to lower the rate and at least keep a revenue stream flowing.  Makes enough sense, right?  The problem, of course, that as a “luxury” property (i.e. 4 star hotel), part of the charade is the exalted company you keep as a guest.  And should you drop the rate too low, you bring in the sort of shitheads that make your target clientele realize they’ve just been fleeced for the last 6 years.  When the rates go back up again, your problem is twofold – hillbilly shitheads want to come back at bargain rates, and hifalutin twats think you’ve become a Motel 6.

I’m glad it’s someone elses job to endlessly pour over numbers to figure out what the perfect balance is, but I do have a message for that person based on recent experience:

RAISE THE FUCKING RATES.

I realize the thrust of this blog has long been my constant whinging about the unbearable cuntiness of the overpriveleged.  But when the shit really hits the fan, it turns out they may be much easier to deal with than Ma and Pa Slackjawedyokel who are living it up at the insistence of that cocksucker William Shatner and his blasted priceline.com.  We’re taught not to disdain the .com booking channels in the hotel biz (expedia.com, priceline.com, hotwire.com, hotghettotrashoutforanightonthetown.com, etc.), but fuck all that noise.  It’s more or less a knee jerk to pull up someone’s reservation for a looksee when they’re being a real fucker, and chances are it’s going to have a nasty little .com attached to it.

FULL DISCLOSURE TIME:  I, too, am admittedly and unashamedly part of the proletariate that books through these same discount channels.  It’s just a tool, and a nice one at that.  Guns, after all, do not kill people.  Hillbillies do.

This past Sunday was a great opportunity for me to murmur the RAISE THE FUCKING RATES mantra under my breath.  The lobby was looking like a fucking daycare – kids climing the walls, screeching, crying, moving at high rates of speed toward finely crafted Italian furniture with sharp, angular edges, while their parents – well I don’t know where the fuck their parents were.  Trying to find out where to watch the fucking hockey game?  Some shit.

It was about 10am when, in the midst of a really groovy space out, staring out the front doors, I watched a college aged kid stumble and fall down right at the hotel’s front entrance.  He looked like he wanted to pass out for a second, but then he lit a cigarette and his friend came over and started tugging on his hoodie.  Luxury abounds!  I called security, but when it took them forfucking ever to get there, I just asked our biggest, baddest, blackest bellman (RESPECT) to kindly have a word with these two bumbling, stumbling fucks.  He shooed them off real quick like, but they were back in about two minutes, and this time the drunker of the two started coming inside.  He made it through the revolving door but was centrifugally spun into a wall and subsequently slammed into a guest sitting on a bench.  I’ve never slept in a gutter after a meth binge, but I have to imagine this is what you look like afterward.  It was if he was suspended from above and dipped lengthwise into a sewer, the entire left half of his body covered in filth.  And his eyes were like two crusty used coffee filters – no pupil, no eyelids, just dark, zombie-like circles.  Security finally arrived on the scene to give the bum his bum’s rush, but alas – he’s a registered guest!  Luxury!!!  Security puts him on the elevator and escorts him back to the room he booked on hotwire.com at an obscenely low rate and our Sunday marches on.

Yes sir, right this way sir.  Your suite is ready.

Yes sir, right this way sir. Your suite is ready.

I was mortified for the next guest to come to the desk and rue what a circus our clientele has turned into.  But then I didn’t expect the next guest to come to the desk and impress upon me a reminder of the Chicago to Cincinatti schedule on the………MEGABUS.  Huh?  Megabus?  At first I thought she was just really primeval and was referring to a full size charter Greyhound bus as a “megabus”, like she called commercial jets “megaplanes”.  No she said.  Then I asked her if she was referring to the super skanky bus that people used to ask me about at my previous (and super skanky) hotel that runs regular routes between Chicago and Madison and God knows where else.  Nope.  The name of this fucking operation is actually MEGABUS.  Apparently it’s some sort of outfit that shuttles white trash throughout the Midwest for shockingly low fares.  Luxury!

Next was the college aged girl in gym shorts and a t-shirt that asked me for “like, a couple trash bags?”  Great.  Need to pile in all your Natty Light empties so as not to give the housekeeper you’re unsophisticated once you check out?  Nope.  Need a poncho for the Cubs game?  Nope.  What did this girl need trash bags for?  LUGGAGE.  She and her school emblazoned sweats wearing dormmates came down an hour later, trash bags filled with clothes in tow, to gather themselve in the lobby, too unsavvy to request an hour late check out.

I half expected the next guest that approached the desk to have me point them to the monster truck show, or pitbull fight.  But sprinkled amongst the hood rats in search of Michael Jordan’s restaurant that closed 7 years ago (“Dats OK.  We’ll go to Weber’s Grill.”) are our regular guests, finely knit Marino cotton sweaters draped over their shoulders, asking which way to Tods.  How do I balance the two?  When someone asks me for a “good” restaurant (and it turns out that unbelievably shitty descriptive powers can be attributed to all classes and income levels), are they thinking of Outback or Blackbird?  Is Blackbird even nice enough for them?  Is Outback too nice?

Just raise the fucking rates already.

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