When you work in the hotel business, you collect stories – crazy things that guests do; tales of disasters averted; urban legends about how badly a rock star trashed the Presidential Suite. You’d think that would be extremely helpful at dinner parties, and sometimes it is. But for the most part, the sheer volume and mass of crazy that goes on in an average hotel on any given weekday is too much for the human mind to comprehend.
Only hotel people really understand.
Which is why, when a hotel friend pointed me to ThatHotel, I fell in complete and total love immediately. This blog is written for hoteliers by hoteliers, and it hits all the nails on all the heads. ThatHotel teases out those moments that every hotel person has experienced – when a sales manager won’t stop ringing the bell; when you have to pee at the front desk; and when a banana really does cost $10.
I asked the creator of ThatHotel, who wishes to remain anonymous, to answer a few questions about the blog, but that was really just an excuse to point you there. (You can also follow them on Facebook for your daily dose of hotel hilarity.)
Queen Bee: What made you start ThatHotel? Aside from wanting to write about the business, was there a defining moment where you said, “OMG, I have to start a blog about this RIGHT NOW.”?
ThatHotel: This is a great question. Not really sure. It all started with a cat in a box and an oversold night. The Front Desk was complaining that we had allowed the hotel to oversell and told me to walk the guest. I saw this GIF and sent it right to our colleague (with the caption you see on the site), and she lost it with laughter. For the rest of that afternoon we ended up inter-office chatting via GIF. Then, the Tumblr was born. It was actually a great time as the hotel was going through a bunch of transitions, so we used it as a way to keep humor in all of the stress – which is KEY in being successful in the hotel industry.
QB: I can tell that you’re a front desk to sales transition from what you post. Do people from other departments and disciplines ever complain that you don’t make fun of them enough?
TH: Yes. I get flack from the F&B people out there…. I have a ton of respect for them and wish we could come up with more towards their discipline. Having worked in restaurants throughout high school and college, I try, but it’s the day-to-day stuff I deal with now that comes right to mind. I’m trying, guys!
QB: What do you think would happen if you were outed at work as a blogger? What will happen if you get a book deal?
TH: I don’t know really… I’m sure (given the time of some of my activities – although many are scheduled), there would be some concerns with my “work time” activities… Oops. A book deal? Interesting thought. I would totally come out as the Creator and Content Director (good title, yea?) of ThatHotel. But to be honest, I don’t know if it would ever lead to that. Could it?
QB: How much time do you spend on your blog?
TH: To be honest, not too much time at all. I follow a bunch of great Tumblrs that help me find the GIFs I use and then just put the first caption that comes to mind when I see it. I have a drafts list of about 200 at any time (a bored Sunday or two helps). So when my real life job gets too crazy, I always have a pipeline to keep the site going. Sometimes, I’m on the train to work and just post via my iPhone. In those cases, just a few minutes is all that’s needed.
QB: What has been the most exciting thing to happen to you as a result of ThatHotel?
TH: I always get excited when I’m sent a link to one of my posts – especially by co-workers or bosses. I once had a GM send me one that I created about her. She was amped to see it, so it was cool to know that she was the inspiration. Yet, she still to this day doesn’t know. Another time, a friend told me that my CEO was on the site for hours laughing out loud. That was the best!
Also, the day we went over 500,000 hits. That’s crazy to me.
QB: I always say that you can’t really write about the hotel business, because no one would believe the crazy sh!t that really happens. What is your craziest experience as a hotelier?
TH: Now this is a hard one… I’ve seen a ton of things. I once had a guest come up to me while I was an Operations Manager at a select service hotel to tell me that her two-year-old was looking for the TV remote after check in, and they found a used condom on under the mattress skirt. I almost died. Had NO IDEA how to respond to that. All I could do was tell her that I was mortified. We bonded over that and she needed up loving me. So strange – especially seeing as how I would NOT have gotten over that! Ha.
QB: Last question. Tell me anything and everything you want about anything.
TH: I’d love to get out of those short, one-sentence captions and just say, “Thank you” to everyone that follows and enjoys ThatHotel. As I mentioned above, I truly don’t think this industry would work as well as it does if we can’t find the humor in every situation. Reality teaches us that sometimes, really bad shit happens; and the only way you can get over it and move on is to turn that moment around and laugh again. I hope that when someone in our “family” has a shitty day, they can come to ThatHotel and realize it’s not them, their team or their hotel – it’s the guests!
Thank you, ThatHotel, for being awesome. OK, hotel people, in case you somehow missed my instructions: Go visit ThatHotel immediately. You will stay there all day.