Hotel Hospitality

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jacob Tomsky reveals what goes on behind the scenes of the multi-billion-dollar hotel industry. He’s worked in “hospitality” for more than a decade, doing everything from supervising the housekeeping department to manning the front desk at an upscale Manhattan hotel, and his book Heads in Beds is an irreverent chronicle of the highs and lows of hotel life. He also shares his insider’s advice on how to get the best service!


Jacob Tomsky

Comments [30]

Dr. Harvey Weiss

From listening to the Audio what I find is that the entire conversation lacks the overall mission of any Hospitality Organization which is to provide quality Service. regardlessof the department an employees works it the essential element is to work in synergy with one another to provide quality customer service. A gratuity is not manadatory, but can be provided for any hotel employee providing the type of service that the hotel adverises and meets the expectation of the guest. What I believe is that the author of the Text Head in Beds could learn a little from some of the incredible Hospitality Authors of Hospitality Textbooks such as Walker 6th edition Principles of Hospitality, or Lodging Operation Management by Vallen and Vallen or International Hospitality Operations by Larry, Yu.
I m a seasoned Hospitality and Casino Professional certified by the AH&LA with a CHA Certified Hotel Administrator who spent 35 years in the Casino Hotel Business, and who currently instruct Hospitality for very prestiguous Universities at the graduate and undergraduate level. In addition my family owns 350 restaurants in NYC and all of the establishments provide quality service to the guests and in Michigan my Children Own a condo resort island property with 108 quality luxury rooms and they always provide quality service without the improprietary mentioned in the audio.
I would not recommend this book

Nov. 28 2012 03:36 PM
Amy from Manhattan

A few years ago I went to a cousin's wedding in Santa Monica. I couldn't find a room in an affordable hotel & ended up in a fairly expensive one. I also had to take work with me & needed to email something to the client.

When I got to the concierge's desk, she was on the phone talking about getting medical attention for a guest. She asked me to wait quite apologetically, & after the call was over seemed extremely grateful that I hadn't insisted on being helped 1st. I said of course someone's medical needs took priority, & she indicated (without saying it explicitly) that that was a rare attitude among the hotel's guests. She also was very helpful, above & beyond what I expected, in letting me use hotel facilities to get my work ready to send to the client (although she did have to direct me to someplace else that had WiFi to actually send it). I don't know how much that had to do w/my not getting obnoxious about her taking care of the guest who had a medical problem, or whether that attitude is more common in their usual high-priced clientele.

Nov. 28 2012 12:54 AM
John A.

I thank you for your efforts to cause change in this regard.
I wind up amazed when I go to the front desk for help and actually get it
in this current atmosphere of politeness - thin atmosphere. Internally amazed - mustn't create a wave of sarcasm.

Nov. 27 2012 02:05 PM
Kat from Astoria

HI Jessie from Way Uptown. This is a serious case and should not be ignored. Write a review of your experience with Housekeeping & management on TripAdvisor, Expedia,, Travelocity, etc. Also, contact every manager in the hotel-whether it's front office, housekeeping,engineering, room service, restaurant, etc. Even though it's your mistake to have left the dresses in the rooms, it's compounded by the housekeeping department's mistake of not cleaning the room properly, and since they were the last in the room, they own it. Be relentless, especially since you won't get the clothes back, so at least you can be reimbursed. You could also ask the hotel to call the guests who used the room after you and mention law enforcement is involved. You might just get those clothes back.

Nov. 27 2012 01:21 PM

It's perplexing to hear that those in the hospitality business seem more in the retaliation business. "Snap your credit card to me" in "the wrong way" and the front desk manager will seek vengeance on you? I understand that dealing with people is a challenge, especially irritable, obnoxious travelers day after day after day, but why in the first place did you decide to go into the "hospitality" industry? Does taunting guests who violate an internal protocol merit a free-for-all on the part of the hotel staff to the guests? It seems the hospitality culture quietly supports retaliation on the part of staff to guests. Hearing the author of the book speak so shamelessly about this does not speak well for him.

Nov. 27 2012 01:17 PM
Kat from Astoria

Ken from UWS-your tip 99.9% of the time reaches the right person. Room attendants work on shifts. As long as you don't check out late-past noon, your gratuity will make it to the right person. Alexandra, smoking is a no-no in hotels now, even if it's pot. It takes two days to get the smell out of the room and if a guest checks in who is allergic to it, he or she will lay a litany of complaints on the staff. Room sprays do little to combat the smell. Hotels usually use an air machine that takes up to 8 hours to get the top notes out. It takes another day to get the smell out of the linens. After 8 years in NYC hotels I've found that Americans get the message-it's only some Europeans, Japanese, and Middle Easterners

Nov. 27 2012 12:55 PM
Jessie Henshaw from Way Uptown

I had a problem, that I didn't get to offer on the air. I left a couple favorite dresses in a drawer at a Best Western, in Boston, that the following guest took, instead of giving them to housekeeping. Housekeeping also hadn't cleared the room, obviously, before it was rented. The manager was all but insulting, like why would I expect American customs in a hotel run by foreigners who just want the money, was almost what it seemed. I got no help or sympathy at all, even from the corporate offices!

What should one do when the corporate headquarters just sends all complaints back to the local manager?? The complaint was about the disrespect of the local manager himself, after all(as well as the lack of concern for my personal property!!)?

Nov. 27 2012 12:50 PM
tom LI

OMG! Two women callers in a row who can't get to a point! What is wrong with women that they can't make a point in less than 100 words? Too funny...meatloaf talkers, all filler, no meat!

Nov. 27 2012 12:49 PM
Kat from Astoria

Your rate never covers housekeeping wages and tips, no matter where you stay in the US. Hotels in the US rarely own the land they're on. They have to pay rent, staff, union, uniforms, laundry, food costs,electric & facility maintenance, building permits, etc long before they can consider tips. Besides, if you're paying upwards of $300 per night, you can afford it. Everyone appreciates good service and looking good in front of their boss. My last job was as the Chief Concierge of a 600 room hotel in Times Square. Tips matter. After seeing 1200 people per day, the ones I remember most are the ones who treated me well and appreciated my service, mostly with tips. The ones who didn't leave tips expressed their thanks with reviews on Tripadvisor or letters to my boss, which was just as worthwhile. It is unacceptable to leave a hotel without tipping service that deserves it. Even if you left at 4am. You were awake enough to remember to pack and leave, you could have also slipped the front desk $2-$5 as a thank-you for the free wi-fi. The men & women to clean hotel rooms do yeoman work. If you stay in a big city like NY, you should count on $5 per day if you're staying in a 4 star hotel. If you stay longer than 3 days, $20 is a fair amount. Employees who are tipped work harder and remain more motivated to serve guests. Tipping creates a relationship among guests & staff that in turn creates loyalty. Also, don't tip on a credit card. Cash communicates best.

Nov. 27 2012 12:43 PM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

"I just survived a war in Israel last week!! I asked the manager to show me the bomb shelter!"
Umm, ok. And your point is? Why don't you just go somewhere else, lady?
Best call yet!

Nov. 27 2012 12:41 PM
alexandra from Norwalk CT

I occasionally like to smoke a joint in my non-smoking I definitely running the risk of triggering the smoking fine for doing this? It's usually $200.

Nov. 27 2012 12:38 PM

For vacations, we now rent homes instead of hotel rooms. For 4 people, it is the same (i.e. DC) or much cheaper (i.e. Florida) than renting 2 hotel rooms.

Nov. 27 2012 12:38 PM
Ken from UWS

I always leave money in the room for the maid. Is this common practice and does it reach its intended recipient?

Nov. 27 2012 12:37 PM
maureen from hoboken

Dina. Wake up, dumbo. Why go to a hotel where you are afraid it
will be bombed??? duhhhhh...... dumbos away! to the hotel...
gripe gripe gripe.

Nov. 27 2012 12:36 PM

To Dina the Zionist hotel visiter:


Nov. 27 2012 12:34 PM
Robert from NYC

I understand the advantages of tipping but I ask, what do you get for your money that you pay for? To me a gratuity is just that, a gratuity. I believe in tipping for good service or extra service not to receive good service. So if you "do good" by me I'll tip you and tip you fairly well. I don't want to tip someone to get good service, I would think it's up to the hotel to provide that as part of its business, to provide good service no matter what... to a certain point, i.e., really nasty folk deserve to be put in one's proper place.

Nov. 27 2012 12:33 PM
MattyMac from Queens

Mini-Bar scam that I loathe:

I often request that the minibar be emptied, some hotels charge ~$25 to empty the minibar.

Nov. 27 2012 12:33 PM
Leo from queens

I just survived a war in Israel last week? Melodrama!!

Nov. 27 2012 12:33 PM
Nancy from Brooklyn

Wheeled luggage, how terrible. Now women and older travellers can move their bags through large spaces without assistance. Horrors.

Nov. 27 2012 12:33 PM
Adrienne from Brooklyn

A much better way to make sure special needs are met would be to book through a really well known travel agency that has buying power due to scale PLUS a personal working relationship with the hotel. I'm an agent and with just one call to Sales office I can get upgrades, ammenities such as wine or chocolate in the room, special requests. etc. etc. Much better than booking online yourself where you request may just remain a request Many agencies do not charge a fee for booking hotels and you can take advantage of their negotiated rates.

Nov. 27 2012 12:31 PM
Julie from Queens

My brother is considering going into hospitality, what are the qualities that hotels look for in entry-level staffs? Would a certificate or degree in hospitality help?

Nov. 27 2012 12:30 PM
Mike P from NYC

Can you make up for a bad first impression?

i.e.: I recently stayed at an airport hotel that I really like and will probably stay at again fairly frequently. The front desk fellow was terrific, and we neglected to tip him for the free wifi he gave us, and we sleepily stumbled out of our room at 4AM and forgot to tip housekeeping.

When i go back should I find the Front Desk man and thank him and tip him? Should i call him in advance?

PS - You guys are so powerful!!! :)

Nov. 27 2012 12:30 PM
Nan Hoffman from NYC

When your paying a large sum of money, upwards of $300.00 a night, why is it necessary to tip the housekeeping staff. Shouldn't your rate cover housekeeping?

Nov. 27 2012 12:28 PM

The worst hotels I've seen anywhere in the world are in Britain -- hideous everything.

Nov. 27 2012 12:27 PM
Urbangranolagirl from jersey city

How much should you tip housekeeping per day? Is it OK to include a tip for room service on the bill that is charged to a card or to your room, or will they never get it (ie, cash is better.)

Nov. 27 2012 12:24 PM

How well are rooms actually cleaned?

Can you even wash those weird rubber blankets???

Nov. 27 2012 12:24 PM
Jesse from Hell's Kitchen

How do you reach the front desk when you call down and the operator says the front desk doesn't take calls?

Nov. 27 2012 12:22 PM
Elaine from Baltimore

I was a front office cashier at the Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montreal during the Olympics. I loved when the bus tours came in from the US and asked if the money I changed for them can be used outside the hotel!

Nov. 27 2012 12:14 PM
Victoria from New Jersey

I'm 20 years old and have been working in the information booth/kids' crafts/party decorating/ticket selling profession for a major NJ boardwalk since I was 17. I love what I do, especially the Concierge (information booth). I'm currently an unsure Anthropology major - do you think Hospitality might be a good area for me to look into?

Nov. 27 2012 12:11 PM
Renee from Greenwich

I grew up in Asia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand. My mother trained hotel and airline staff in service and etiquette. Hospitality & service in Asia is head and shoulders above what is available in the West. I'd love to hear what his thoughts are on how culture informs standards and ideas of hospitality.

Nov. 27 2012 12:11 PM

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