hmmmm...

Feb. 16th, 2013 08:51 pm
truelove: an orange tabby cat looking down, to the left, away from the camera (Default)
Lazyweb, oh lazyweb:

For reasons that do not bear exploring at this juncture, I intend to construct an oversized, stuffed tangerine that we can burn in effigy.

So... what sort of fabric should I be looking at? I know a lot of commercially sold fabric is treated to be flame-retardant/fire-resistant, which is obviously not what I am looking for with this particular project.
truelove: an orange tabby cat looking down, to the left, away from the camera (Default)
A couple things: this is definitely not the choice of limited vocabulary I'd probably go with myself for a project attempting to simplify verbage for understandability. But it's interesting to work within.

Also, I made an effort not to oversimplify my syntax which is something I've seen a lot of upgoerfive do -- it's a stylistic choice, maybe, but I think a lot of people are making it unconsciously. And I think it contributes to a sense of condescension, at least to native speakers; it feels like you're being talked to as a small child. Which, I'll be honest, I didn't like that much when I was a small child myself.

Additionally, I defined a few words that aren't in the editor; I didn't use them to further define any other words. I think it's valid because how else do you introduce anyone to expanded vocabulary? But YMMV on that one.

So all that said: an upgoerfive text talking about my work )

Permalink to the upgoerfive editor as proof it passes.
truelove: an orange tabby cat looking down, to the left, away from the camera (Default)
I work at a casino resort hotel. We also have five restaurants on property. The hotel and resort are actually independent rather than run by any hotel brands you're familiar with and they're run by the casino (for which reason I have a gaming license, even though I work in the hotel). Sometimes, I get to listen to people who don't really understand how that works.

So, yeah, in the casino, we have a player rewards club, to track people's gambling. It's incredibly helpful demographic information, which is why we do it. As a bonus to you, it means the casino has a good idea what they can comp you because they know for sure how much you've spent in the casino.

I hear from people who are going to our restaurants that we should totally include our F&B revenue in with the player rewards club. I try not to laugh in their faces, but sometimes it's hard.

See, okay, the hotel and the spa and the restaurants, they're all here as lures to get you in the building where the ding-ding-ding noises will get you on the casino floor, where you will spend money. They generally speaking need only break even, although mostly I believe they do generally make a margin of profit.

But, yeah, the thing is, it's a tiny drop in the bucket against the casino. Okay, you spent $500 at our steakhouse? Wonderful! Out of that $500 a good percentage that went to the actual costs of operating the steakhouse so our takeaway was nothing like $500. Compare that to the people who drop $500 a night on the slot machines which is far purer profit, the slots have very few costs involved in running them. (Ps, those people aren't high rollers.)

I mean, it'd theoretically be possible to spend enough money with food and beverage to start mattering to our bottom line, but you'd basically be throwing a party every night at the steakhouse and in that case? The manager of the steakhouse is already taking spectacular care of you.

So, no, we won't ever be tracking F&B dollars with the rewards club. It's a drop in the bucket of our revenue and would be basically a waste of time.

Other things I hear: "I spend $10,000 a year at your casino! You should do X thing that's against your policy for me because of that!" I try not to giggle at them. $10,000? It's adorable that you think that's a lot of money for a casino! It's not. That's not even $1000/month that you're spending. Some of our high rollers' individual bets will run about that. Also, we don't break policy even for our high rollers!

Money becomes play money at a casino, even if you're not the one handling the absurd amounts of money that get processed. Numbers flat out stop meaning the buying power of that much money and just become numbers you keep track of stuff by. It's weird as hell to watch it happen in yourself. It is, at least, pretty much work-centric for me! I go home and my brain kicks back into normal sane world where, yes, $10,000 is a large damn sum of money.

But, yes, the short version is: casinos are not the real world. They are weird as hell, and definitely not in any way the real world. Bringing your expectations of the real world will just lead to culture clash!
truelove: an orange tabby cat looking down, to the left, away from the camera (Default)
"Those are weird earrings," says one of the men we're checking in, while I'm watching what one of my co-workers is doing to double-check it.

I look up. "Oh, uh, the bluetooth obscures the one," and I take out my bluetooth headset.

"They're, like, wine openers. Don't take this the wrong way," he laughs. "But you got screwed!"

"...they're caduceuses. Like the medical symbol," I say, and turn away from him back to what I was doing.


Because what the fucking hell do you say to that, honestly. There's no right way to take that, creepy guy who thinks it's appropriate to say shit like that to the woman who is serving you in a retail setting.
truelove: A woman in high heels on a chimney (fashion)
\o/ I win at gift exchange.

I initially had no idea what to get my co-worker in our secret exchange; I like her quite well, but I don't see a lot of her since she works Concierge, and had little idea what she likes. But someone had the suggestion of a gift basket from Bath & Body Works or something similar; I can't stand Bath & Body Works for long, the scents get to me pretty quickly, but I'd noticed that there's a LUSH store in Chandler Fashion Center when I was doing some other holiday shopping so I thought -- hm, how about I get something that's quality and probably not super chemical-y.

I actually ended up going to the smaller LUSH store in Scottsdale Fashion Square, in the end -- and I give them this, their store did not stink in a way that gave me a headache which is a bloody marvel for a store that sells scented things. And then I got the things to wrap it at Papyrus (because I'm me and I cannot possibly give a gift that's not wrapped attractively with a nice card; look, it's a thing for me and I own it). The end result came out nicely, I dare say!

But, so, it turns -- and I didn't know this -- her mother's British and she herself is a dual citizen, so my co-worker was particularly happy to have received LUSH items. (Also, amusingly, the other secret exchange she had this year also gave her something from LUSH. Hello synchronicity!)
truelove: an orange tabby cat looking down, to the left, away from the camera (Default)
I work at a casino resort at the hotel front desk; everyone told me New Year's Eve is a madhouse.

Well, okay, the casino's jam-packed, and certainly we had a lot of check-ins. But here's the amazing thing: we were staffed really well for it!

This made for a very chill evening. Especially when I compare it to Labour Day, which was pretty nearly as busy, only we were desperately understaffed: it was just me, my manager (who was the hospitality manager on duty that night, to boot), and the two newest front desk hires. Lovely women, both of them, and they're great, but at the time they hadn't gotten the hang of everything yet. (Our software is... opaque, at times. I say that advisedly, as someone with an ungodly amount of experience with hotel property management software.) This job's hardly stressful (really, any job is hardly stressful comparred to the tech support helljob of 2010), but I got off work the Friday of Labour Day Weekend and had a small meltdown.

So, you know, New Year's Eve? This is nothing. This is amazing. This has been a fantastic workday.

(Of course, I say that being the person getting off in an hour at 2300, before the drunks come out in force. I imagine graveyard front desk may end up having a different opinion than me!)
truelove: an orange tabby cat looking down, to the left, away from the camera (Default)
I thought about posting this over on [personal profile] ftfisher as it's theoretically my professional journal. Except I guess it's really more my career/vocation journal, which none of this has to do with (rather, it has to do with the field that isn't my career/vocation that I've been working in for the past year and a half).

Anyway, this is long overdue, I know! But here's that article I promised ages ago about happens when you book a hotel room through a third party reservation website (Travelocity, Hotwire, Expedia, Orbitz, etc.) and how to get a good price on a hotel room. And why I laugh my ass off at third party website commercials and have ever since I got a good look at the way most hotels run their rates.

Pricing and selling hotel rates is an art, mostly, and one I'm not particularly versed in (nor do I care to be). But the basic way it works is, the GM or the director of Sales or the Front Desk Manager or the Assistant GM or whoever the hell is charged with these duties at a given hotel (it really, really varies), tries to figure out how best to sell the most rooms for the most overall money in the door and sets their inventory for various specials and deals (ie, how many rooms can be sold under a given special) and negotiates discounted rates. Obviously companies will often negotiate lower rates for their employees and VIP guests, etc. So do conventions that are bringing in a lot of guests, and similarly wedding parties.

And then, of course, third party web-sites negotiate deeper discounts and then, in theory, pass on to guests those discount (at a markup, of course). In reality, you're actually often going to be better off calling the hotel directly if you don't mind a bit of negotiating. And even if you don't want to engage even in low-key negotiating, it can still be worth a call. More on that later. (I do realise calling is not an option for everyone -- many disabilities interfere with phones as a viable option. In that case, a third party site may be your best/cheapest option.)

Anyway, yeah, they negotiate deeper discounts, and hotels set aside a certain number of rooms/room types that can be sold to the third party website(s). This is not to say that those rooms are actually blocked off; the hotel can and will sell those rooms at higher rates should the opportunity arise first. It's just that there's only so many rooms at that discounted rate that they are willing to sell at any given time.

When you reserve through a third party website, it's pre-paid and you give the third party site your money, not the hotel. The third party website then passes the reservation on along with their payment information, not yours. This is why you can't make changes to the reservation directly with the hotel. You're a guest of the hotel but you're not directly doing business with them: you're actually staying there on a third party's dime -- the website that you reserve through.

This is, incidentally, why the hotel will still ask you for a credit card at checkin; it's for incidentals (phone calls, charges in the convenience shop, pet fees, whatever).

So, anyway.

third party websites are pretty much full of shit when they advertise on television about how much cheaper they are than their competitors.

The way pretty much every hotel I've ever seen is set up, they basically have a single discounted third party rate (well, it is usually more complex in the system -- but they give the same discounted rate to all the third party websites that they accept reservations from). It varies how much, but it's usually somewhere between 15% and 25% off BAR (Best Available Rate, which is the marketing lie version of what you probably call rack). It's very, very fucking rare to have deeper discounts. Yes, there's a few, which is how you get the "40% off selected hotels!" in commercials. But, really, just it mostly doesn't happen.

This is why you're better off calling the hotel and seeing what you can get directly through them before you book with a third party website. The rate that you're going to get from the third party website after they tack on their markup is often not any better than what you can get directly through the hotel you're looking at staying with.

So, first, the non-negotiating stuff. Most hotels offered a AAA rate. If you mention AAA on the phone, they will give you that rate without negotiation (and this will work even if it is the height of season for the hotel). And I can assure you, pretty much no one gives enough of a shit to check what the rate is at checkin and go, "Oh HO, this reservation is a AAA rate! Show me your AAA card!". The front desk person just wants to get you checked in as quickly as possible. They also pretty much all also offer an AARP rate. Which again, people don't mostly bother to check ID on.

AAA and AARP are pretty usually 10% off BAR.

Government and military rates usually run 10-15% off BAR. Most people who qualify for either know this but perhaps not everyone does. Yes, I do care if you qualify, because while the front desk person likely doesn't give a shit about checking to make sure you're really government or military (and very likely didn't even notice that you are, depending on their software) because they want to get you in to your room efficiently, I think you're pretty much scum if you ask for a military rate if you're not. Do me a favour and just ask for the damn AAA rate.

And if you don't like that price well enough, this is where some low-key negotiating comes in! Really, I swear, it's not going to be as stressful as you think it is.

Because, a lot of places have either room to negotiate down to a certain rate or at the least, there's something like a manager's special that they can use for companies that don't have specifically negotiated rates, or to lock in a reservation rather than lose it. It will probably be about 15%.

Now, to warn you, depending on who you get on the phone, they're probably not going to be very willing to pull out the lower rates if it's the height of season and they're booked nearly full. They can most likely fill that room at BAR, and why wouldn't they prefer that? But if you have the time/energy/spoons/capablity, it's worth trying! The worst they can do is say no and you're left with the options of the AAA rate or going through the third party website you were looking at.

But the thing is, the hotel will probably be getting more money giving you that discounted rate than they would if you did book through a third party site; after all, they're giving the third party a rate discounted farther than what you paid the third party website. (By the way, that markup is why you don't see the rate on any of the paperwork. It's called a confidential rate and means that it never shows on any of your guest paperwork, because we wouldn't want to let you know how much of a markup the third party website is taking. It's a contractual thing.)

I have no snappy conclusion! There you have the basics of third party website booking and how to get a decent room rate, from a somewhat industry perspective.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them! I will do my best to answer them.

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