What is So Awesome About Hotels?
By Roland Wildberg ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Thursday, 20th June 2013
Exclusive Feature: The new release 'Heads in Beds' pretends to be an insider-tells-it-all book; Is it really? We did find only old clichés.

A few months ago there were published a much-noticed book about us personally - cherished readers, I mean the hospitality industry. These are the memoirs of barely 30 years concierge Jacob Tomsky from New York: "Heads in Beds" is aimed to be a payback, a true slating of an entire industry.

256 Pages about one of oldest and most successful industries of the world and millions of people around the globe, in short. Or, to say it with Tomsky's words: "A reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and so-called hospitality".

Know already, what it's about in the book? We take a look: Tomsky graduated from university with a master in philosophy, but has no job and therefore hires in New Orleans/Louisiana as Wallet Parker. Later he becomes a manager inside the housekeeping.

Then, he goes to New York, because an former colleague there calls him to the reception desk at a luxury hotel. That's it already. The number of breath-taking revelations is limited, frankly speaking. All we get to know is that staff must work a lot (really?), they have to welcome even unfriendly guests in a friendly manner (well, so what!), but for a few dollar bills, they will fulfill even absurd wishes (Revelation!).

In addition too, the author serves his reader-customers more or less funny anecdotes, mixed with much self-pity and a bawdy to embarrassing infantile slang language. Maybe this will sell better - as well as the exaggerated title. Of course, inside the book we learn that Tomsky in reality by no means has held "all" positions in a luxury hotel (which the title pretends). But he has been in the industry long enough to recognize some negative aspects and then literary vastly inflate them.

Here are some key words from the book:
  • Tip at the time of check-in always results in the desired target: Put simply a few dollar bills on the counter, and you easily make yourself upgraded or "booked" amenities for free
  • Corruption is by no means only of guests – even within the workforce you may better make friends with important people like for example floor waiters by a few dollars cash on the barrelhead
  • The amenities department of club floors is literarily a self-service store, which is available for the housekeeping. From shampoo to chocolates, everything here is just your personal disposal
  • If guests are rude or refuse a promised gratuity, they get a particularly bad room from the reception staff
  • The who annoys a bellboy or waiter, must expect to find a nasty surprise in his room (the perpetrator is of course not detectable)
  • Bad room go to groups, budget bookers (Expedia etc.) and foreign tourists, because the latter are hardly able to complain formally
  • The unwritten law of the hotel is: us versus them, so staff versus guests. Each employee can rely on, that in the worst case the management standing by him
  • Since the invention of rolling suitcase, Pages are really useless - they live only by their talent, to sell their unnecessary services by a mixture of devotion and printing
  • 90 Per cent of complaints come only because the leaving guests pass by the housekeeping
  • Glasses, mirrors, coffee tables and other surfaces are cleaned with furniture polish to get it fast and streak-free without much effort
  • Hotel personnel is overworked, underpaid and treated by the management as slaves. Therefore, everybody hates the job
What is true about this, cherished readers? Or at least in part? To come to an end, what is so awesome about hotels?The answer is ultimately irrelevant, because we are convinced: If the industry indeed was such a snake as described by Mr. Tomsky, no man would be happy to stay there, neither as an employee nor a guest.

However, it is tremendously popular, to rant about the job. Why actually? That every coin has two sides, should be clear to everybody – even to Tomsky. In the contrary, he puts only the negative into the foreground and just by chance in passing leaves little statement about what makes the hotel industry fascinating, funny, even lovable. Apparently, bashing sells better than complimenting.

It is this culture of defaetism, which particularly harms our image. One lesson at least we may draw from reading the book: What the hosting industry nowadays does miss is a positive image – the picture of a fascinating sector with light and shade where it is fun to work at.

Otherwise we will be perceived only as terrible, and terrible people are going to join us. People who hate the hotel industry and only want to get away and bash it. People like Tomsky, for example.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Roland Wildberg is Travel Writer and Correspondent based in Berlin, Germany. He started as an Editor for the National daily 'Die Welt' (tourism section), later on switched to a freelanced career and nowadays mainly publishes on the Web. Observing the hospitality industry always has fascinated him as it looks like the perfect combination of sleeping and writing – work-live-balance as its best.

Roland also heads the annual 4Hoteliers ITB Berlin news micro-site journalist and video/photo teams. For more info:

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