I often get asked about my job by people. They ask me to give them an example of A Day in The Life of a Hotel Duty Manager.
So, this is just one example of A day in the life of a hotel Duty Manager.
A day in the life of a hotel Duty Manager
I had arrived at work earlier and, a few minutes before 2PM, I’ve put on my suit, double-checked my hair and make-up and I am now ready to proceed to the back office. I see the morning shift Duty Manager. She’s looking disheveled, and I think to myself,
“It’s going to be another long day!”
On a good day, a Duty Manager can get through an entire shift without any complaints or emergencies. However, that’s a rarity. On most days, it’s one crisis after another, and we just never know what sort of craziness awaits us when we ‘punch in’.
That morning the morning shift Duty Manager tells me all about her day. The complaints she had to handle and the resolutions. And she lets me know which issues she needs to turn over to me. It’s a long list. She hands over the Duty Manager master keys, the radio and the duty phone.
My shift officially starts.
I read through the Duty Manager’s log from the day before and check the system for the basic information I will need for the day. I check for Arrivals, Departures, VIPs Arriving, Groups Arriving, and any other important endorsements.
When you go into battle, you must be prepared, and these details are my greatest weapons.
I position myself in the lobby. I make sure that I am visible in case an employee needs my assistance. Or a guest needs to speak to a manager. I look around the lobby for anything amiss; busted light bulbs, trash, throw pillows in disarray, unattended bags or any staff chit-chatting.
The phone rings. It’s the Front Desk. A guest is complaining because they were checked into a dirty room. I do a quick investigation and discover that the room status was changed from dirty to clean by mistake.
I brace myself and speak to the guest.
He is understandably furious. After a whole lot of apologizing, an upgrade to a suite and complimentary transportation to the airport, the guest is finally pacified.
I still have to deal with the staff who made the mistake. But first things first, of course.
Complaint number one, check!
I proceed to do my rounds to make sure everything is in order within the hotel. Since I became Duty Manager my feet have grown calluses from having to walk all over the entire property, to check every nook and cranny.
I spot a few busted lights, some room service trays outside hotel room doors, a leaky faucet in the lobby bathroom and some kids running near the pool. I call these issues to the attention of Housekeeping, Engineering, Room Service and the Lifeguard, to make sure they are addressed.
The phone rings again. This time the safety deposit boxes in a few of the guest rooms need to be manually opened. It’s one of the more tedious tasks of a Duty Manager. Often, people forget their combinations, or a kid plays around with the safe and accidentally locks it. I go to the rooms, which happen to be on the opposite sides of the hotel this time.
My feet are throbbing by the time I’m done with my rounds and I need a break. Thankfully, it’s already dinnertime. The hotel seems quiet, so I proceed to the employee cafeteria.
The food looks great and I am starving. I fill up my plate, find a seat and start eating. Not even one bite in to my meal and the phone rings again. I groan to myself because I know what that means; the food on my plate will never get eaten.
This time it’s the telephone operator.
A guest had just called, saying there’s a naked man in the hallway. I look longingly at the almost-full plate of food and ask the cafeteria staff to keep it for me. I hope that I will be able to come back for it later.
I call Security and ask them to send someone to meet me upstairs to assist me. I also call Housekeeping and ask them to prepare a bathrobe.
Once I arrive on the 9th floor, sure enough, a naked man is standing in the corridoor, in front of room 910. First things first; let’s cover him up.
My colleague from Security offers him the bathrobe. He accepts it gratefully, thankfully. I breathe a sigh of relief that he’s not drunk or crazy, and ask him what happened.
The guest explains that he had been sleeping and got up to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, in his sleepy state, he mistook the door out to the hallway as the bathroom door. He had already allowed the door to close, locking himself out of his room.
Obviously, being naked, he had nothing with him to get himself out of the situation; no room card, no mobile phone and no identification.
Before opening the door to let him back into his room, I have to make sure that he is the rightful occupant of the room. I call down to the Front Desk and ask for the guests details; name and date of birth. I then ask the guest to verify this information and they match. He seems to be telling the truth.
I ask him where in the room we will find his passport or ID, and explain that we first need to verify his identity before we can let him back in the room. He tells me it’s on the writing desk. I go inside and inspect the passport. Pictures match. Guest information is correct. I thank the guest and allow him back into his room.
The guest apologizes for any trouble he has caused. I tell him that all is well and to give us a call should he need anything.
I then proceed to the room of the guest who reported the naked man.
I apologize and assure her that she is safe and that the matter has been taken care of. She looks a bit shaken, by what she saw, but is grateful for the quick action. I ask if she wants to be transferred to another floor, for her peace of mind, but she declines.
I thank her and offer her my business card and ask her to give me a call should she change her mind or need anything else. I make the decision to send her a bottle of wine to apologize for the hitch in her stay.
I return to the Front Desk and see that the lobby is full and there is a long queue at Front Desk. The three agents have their hands full and guests are looking impatient. I take the fourth station and proceed to help check guests in.
When all the guests have been assisted, I feel my stomach grumble and remember that I didn’t get to finish my food. I start to head back to the cafeteria when my phone rings.
“Code 1, room 2230,” says the operator.
A suspected fire.
So much for going back to finish my dinner.
I go up to the 22nd floor and see the Security personnel waiting for me. Room 2230 is occupied, so I knock on the door. “Duty Manager, good evening.” A guest answers, wearing only a towel covering the lower half of his body.
I tell him that the smoke alarm has been activated in his room, and that we just want to check to see if everything is alright. He says he was just taking a hot shower and left the bathroom door open. The steam must have set off the alarm.
I thank the guest and confirm that Code 1 was a false alarm.
I look at my watch and see that it’s almost time to go home. Another hungry day for the Duty Manager.
Unfortunately, this happens too often. With a job where the sole purpose of your position is to respond to crises, the unpredictability of every day makes it difficult to stick to a schedule.
I make a mental note: tomorrow, get a bite to eat before starting your shift.
Guest complaints, naked people, fire alarms. Believe it or not, it’s just a normal day in the life of a Hotel Duty Manager. We are trained to remain calm regardless of the situation. We are used to dealing with crazy and unreasonable guests. And we do it with poise and a smile on our face. Because we are Duty Managers.
If there’s anyone in the hotel who can fix the situation, it’s expected to be us.
I write everything down on the Duty Manager’s log. I finish off my pending transactions. And I wait for the next shift to come in. I give my endorsements. I turn over the master keys, radio and duty phone. I clock out for the day and head home.
I need to sleep and rest, for tomorrow is another day. And I need to be ready for whatever it brings.
What is a typical day for you? Let me know in the comments