LOOK FOR THE CLAIM TICKET
If at all possible, address the customer by their last name: “Hello Mr. Smith!”
Verify that this car is their car. Look for the number on their claim ticket and verify that it matches the number on the keychain tag. Then hand over their keys.
If it is appropriate, ask if they enjoyed their stay. If the answer is no, ask for details and take it seriously; get their name and room number from the valet ticket, then write down the details of what they said went wrong and give this information to your supervisor or account manager. (It’s important to the hotel to have this information. They will follow-up and try to salvage the customer relationship.)
If it is appropriate, assist with putting their luggage or other items into the car.
Open car doors for other passengers.
Ask if they would like some cold bottles of water for their trip. If the answer is yes, say “How many bottles would you like?” Then promptly run to get them. Then run back to the car. (They don’t want to see you taking your time doing this.)
Hand over the bottles from the mid-section down, not with your hands near the tops of the bottles (where they will be placing their mouths).
Ask if you can help with any local directions. If the local area is a bit complex to explain, run and get a map.
CONCLUDING THE TRANSACTION
Say something like:
“Thank you very much for staying with us. We hope to see you again soon.” Or…
“Thank you for choosing The ****** Hotel. It would be our pleasure to serve you again soon.”
“We appreciate you choosing The ****** Hotel. Thank you for staying with us.”
“We really appreciate you stopping by today. Please visit us again soon.” Or…
“We appreciate you visiting us today. Thank you very much.”
HOT TICKETS & RECEIPTS
If a pink tag is stapled to the white tag on the keychain, that means you need to handle one very important task before allowing the customer to leave.
The pink tag means we do not have the customer’s last name and room number, and we will lose the parking revenue unless we get that information (so their on-file credit card can be charged). Overnight parking is $49. If we let a few of these hot tickets go, the loss adds up quickly. So ask for their last name and room number, write it down clearly, then hand the pink tag to the cashier.
Sometimes a yellow (DAILY) ticket guest will call for their car to be brought up. A note attached to the yellow ticket will say “Needs To Pay.” Make sure you get a receipt from the guest that shows they paid, or be sure you see them at the cashier’s window before presenting the keys to them. We can’t allow revenue to fall through the cracks by being sloppy with ensuring we get paid. It’s a simple step. It’s part of your job. And it’s important. We need to collect every parking fee owed to us.
LINE UNDER THE 6 DIGIT NUMBER ON THE WHITE KEYCHAIN TAG
That line under the ticket number means they are leaving today. If you see that luggage is being loaded and it is clear they are leaving (i.e., the guest is approaching you and about to enter the driver’s seat), then it is safe to rip that white tag away from the key. They might, however, merely be loading luggage and plan to explore the city a bit more. If it is not clear, ask if they are leaving, and if the answer is yes, THEN rip the white tag off. Don’t forget to take the yellow or white tag off of the dash too. Guests generally do not want to keep these as souvenirs.
If a doorman loaded luggage into the car and did not receive a separate tip, then you need to share your tip with the doorman. The doorman gets half. If you got an odd amount, then you get the larger portion of the dollar split. Example: If a $5 bill is received, you keep $3, the doorman gets $2.
(If only a dollar was received, then there is no split.)
This works the other way around as well. If you do not receive a tip, ask the doorman if they got paid and tell him you got nothing. This should prompt an immediate split of their tip. It is important to be diligent about staying on top of collecting this money from the doormen. If you fail to be diligent, you are costing yourself and your team members lost gratuity income that belongs to you and them.
Be courteous. Be fair. And the doormen will treat you the same way.
We pool our tips.
As valet workers, we all rely on the honesty of our co-workers so that we each may earn a fair day’s pay. If you are not forthcoming and honest about the tips you receive, this will eventually get discovered and nobody will want to work with you. It probably will also lead to your dismissal from the job, as dishonesty is considered a cancer that must be cut out before it spreads.
Any tips you collect during your shift, whether it was for parking a car, taking a photo, or delivering a forgotten smart phone to somebody’s room — it all must be shared when it is “cut time.”
A cut takes place when any valet worker arrives or leaves. We see who collected the most, and who collected the least. If you consistently are a bottom performer, your co-workers are going to know that something is wrong and that you probably are not being honest.
We expect there will be times when you dominate and collect the most.
If you get a twenty or a fifty or a hundred, that doesn’t go into your pocket. It gets shared with all of your team members in the cut.
(Your account manager and assistant account manager do not participate in the cut.)
STANDING AT THE DOOR
As customers arrive and depart, look them in the eye. Don’t say “Hi, how are you?” while looking away. Look them in the eye. Smile, nod, say “Good afternoon,” or “Hello, welcome to The ****** HOTEL,” or something like that. (On rare occasions, people tip for holding the door open.)
Do not put your hands on the glass of the front doors. This glass needs to stay clean and fingerprint-free.
The 5 Diamond standard to greet an arriving guest on the driveway is 60 seconds. If a doorman is not available, walk up to the taxi, open the door and say “Welcome to The ****** HOTEL.” Then proceed to remove their luggage from the trunk.
As they exit the taxi, look in and verify that they have left nothing behind, such as a cell phone or iPad. (It happens.) Then thank the taxi driver and give him a wave.
Ask if they would like their luggage brought to their room. If so, tell them a doorman will be with them shortly OR you get a luggage ticket to fill out. BE SURE to write down their last name correctly. Otherwise, we won’t know who the luggage belongs to.
When you see a passenger vehicle pulling into the driveway, if you are able to leave the front door position without inconveniencing a guest, and especially if no doorman is available, take aggressive action to guide the passenger vehicle into an advantageous position for us. Guest vehicles need to pull all the way in under the canopy. If they don’t pull in far enough, which they often do, it can impact driveway efficiency. This means back-ups can more quickly happen, and we are more likely to inconvenience arriving guests and possibly get their ****** Hotel experience off to a rough start, especially if the weather is bad.
Use large, theatric arm gestures to guide the guest vehicle in. Point to the spot where you want them to stop with your full hand, not with a finger point. This aggressive driveway control acknowledges to the guest that we see them. It probably also takes away some slight anxiety and uncertainty about what they are supposed to do.
A problem we sometimes have is guests scraping their wheels against the granite curb as they pull in under the canopy. Though it is their fault for steering their car into the curb, this should never happen because one of us should be guiding their car in using big hand and arm gestures.
After the vehicle stops, open their doors and greet them.
“Welcome to The ****** Hotel. Are you checking in or just visiting us today?”
Just visiting: “Wonderful. We’ll be glad to valet park your car for you. The cost varies from $22 to $32 depending upon how long your visit is. It’s $22 for up to 3 hours. You have unlimited in and out privileges for that price. And the cost includes all taxes… Also, we’ll be parking your vehicle in our secure parking area. This is a gated facility that keeps the public away from your car. So your car will be extra secure while it is with us [said when there is room in the cage]. I will get a doorman to write you up a daily valet ticket.”
Checking in: “Wonderful. We’ll be glad to valet park your car for you. Overnight parking is $49. For this price you get unlimited in and out privileges, which means you can summon your car as many times as you want without incurring additional parking fees. The price also includes all taxes. In addition, we’ll be parking your vehicle in our secure parking area. This is a gated facility that keeps the public away from your car. So your car will be extra secure while it is with us [said when there is room in the cage]. This service is especially beneficial if you have any valuables in your car. I will get the doorman to write you up an overnight ticket.”
OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
People often are looking for a trash can with things in their hands. Offer to take care of this trash for them. Then take it to the back and throw it out.
You will notice that people often pose for photographs in front of the floral display inside the front entrance. Go in and offer to shoot some photos of everybody together.
Take several photos from straight ahead, closer in, to the side. Shoot vertically and horizontally. At least 5 photos. This builds value and helps you to earn extra tips.
When you hand back the camera, tell them you will be glad to shoot more if they are not satisfied.
Be proactive in looking for ways to serve.
If somebody comes out front and looks puzzled, ask them how you can help, how you can be of service. Or ask “May I assist you in any way?”
If it is raining and a guest looks unprepared for the rain, offer them an umbrella.
If a guest is returning from a jog, offer a bottle of water and a towel if a doorman has not already done so.
If a guest is struggling to get out of a car, offer your hand. It is especially courteous to do this for women.
If somebody is about to pull luggage out of a car, step-up and volunteer to handle that.
If a guest is walking out the front door and you notice that their collar is out of whack, stop them and let them know. Perhaps even straighten it out for them, if it feels appropriate.
Do you see young children accompanying arriving guests? If it is a warm time of year, suggest they take the kids to the sprayground across the street in the park. Kids love it! There is free wifi, snacks, sandwiches, coffee, and model boat sailing.
If you happen to see trash in the driveway or anywhere near the entrance, this is an opportunity to serve our client. Pick it up and dispose of it. Don’t leave it there for somebody else. Handle it.
If someone is taking a photo of a fancy car in the driveway, offer to photograph them in front of the car. (It can be especially helpful to the hotel if you photograph people in front of The ****** Hotel sign.) Any photo you take of a guest in or around the hotel has potential to be shared in online social networks. So positive word-of-mouth can be generated this way, which is a good thing. Snap numerous photos. One isn’t enough.
If someone asks you where the hotel's ATM is, walk them in and lead them to it.
If they want to know where our restaurant is, and if it is slow for the valet team, walk them to the restaurant. (They might get confused and walk into the lounge without this assistance.)
If someone asked you how to get to the Wawa, and you observe that they appear to be going the wrong way after you gave them directions, run up to them and clarify where they need to go.
If it is raining and a guest needs to walk their dog, and they are really unhappy about walking in the rain, and if it happens to be slow for us and we clearly have enough coverage, go ahead and volunteer to walk the dog.
It’s all about service here.