Like it or not, sooner or later, you will need to travel and use a hotel room. You can limit travel. You can try to isolate as much as possible. But…. Stuff happens.
Since March, we had to make some trips which needed a hotel room. We are not young, so there is some risk. We were reassured hotels were taking special measures to minimize risk and, over the Summer, they appeared to be doing an excellent job.
We try to stick to major chains with a good reputation for service and accommodations. We are actually biased towards a specific chain that has served us well over the years.
This month, we carefully planned our necessary trip. We learned something: Hotels are faltering in a very big way. Even the big players are having trouble. Staffing is at skeleton levels. Cleaning is promoted with special gimmicks like stickers on the door which resemble the old toilet “Sealed for your protection!” Yet, beyond the fancy stickers, the cleaning is the worst I’ve ever seen.
When a large property is poorly occupied and staff is minimal, bad things happen. Hot water does not flow well or at all. Vomit stains in the corner are missed. Broken chairs are not replaced or fixed. Dead light bulbs are not noticed. Dead outlets are unrepaired. If you call the Front Desk, no one answers. If you visit the Front Desk, there is no one present. If you complain, you get a kind of sad response. The problem is overwhelming and everyone is burning out.
Up until this month, I was able to say I felt safe and my stay was pleasant. This past month, however, was different. I did not feel safe and I did not enjoy my cold showers.
Yes, I sympathize. Hotel occupancy is miserably low. I look at gigantic hotel complexes today and know they are doomed. How can they possibly survive?
Then, the judgmental part hits and I respond: “You clean the room more than you used to! You occasionally inspect the room to pull out broken chairs! Turn on the lights to see if they work! Test the water to see if it gets hot! If you can’t get the basics right, you will be the hotel that does not survive this catastrophe!”
Even an optimist has to admit: The future is looking frightful. I believe 2021 will have even greater hardship. There is a lesson for us all. If you want to stay employed, you need to do better than you have ever done before. Some of us will not survive, both literally and financially. Be agile and prepared to work harder than you ever imagined. Stay safe and make others safe.
We can get through this, but there are hard days ahead!