New Hire Training Guide - Section D

EXPECTATIONS AT THE HOTEL

The hotel management expects you to enter and exit at the rear door on 29th Street. They do not want to see you out front in street clothes. Nor do they want to see you out front wearing a white t-shirt. It is considered an undergarment that they want covered up.

Arrive on time or early for your shift. Lateness isn’t good. You will be holding up your co-workers who are tired and want to leave.

A very special benefit to working at The ****** Hotel is the “Parkway Café.” This is the employee café on the bottom floor. It is all you can eat, and it is all free. Do not abuse this privilege. You get one meal. Enjoy it. If you work more than 8 hours in a shift, such as a double, sure… have another meal. If you are hungry and need a snack, or feel weak and need something to keep you going, and if your supervisor approves, go ahead and get a snack if anything is available.

Here is what you don’t do: Have a break, finish your shift, then enjoy another meal when your shift is done. Worse: Having a meal prior to the start of your shift. Then having a meal on your break. Then having another meal after your shift. Or taking a bunch of food “to go.” This type of abuse gets noticed and reported to the hotel’s managers. Which would then cause embarrassment for your bosses. And it could jeopardize the meal privileges for everyone on the valet team.

Use good judgment in how you handle your employee café privileges.   

THEFT

Do not take anything out of a guest’s car, unless it is something like an empty bottle of water that you intend to replace with a cold, fresh bottle, or an item you have been asked to retrieve.

If you see money left ON THE DASH with the VDS ticket or keys, that’s for you. It is called a “pre-tip,” and we very much appreciate these. Park the car in a good, extra safe spot as a “thank you” for this considerate customer. If you see money left anywhere else inside the car, don’t touch it. Instead, list it in the comments section on the VDS ticket.

Be aware that there are security cameras inside the garage and all over the hotel. The security officers at the hotel are serious professionals, with some being former police officers. It is in your best interests to always conduct yourself honestly at the hotel.

FOOTCARE

Make sure your shoes fit well and are comfortable. Too many things can go wrong with shoes that do not fit properly or that have worn out.

Plantar Fasciitis is a foot condition that arises out of a lack of proper support for the arch of a foot. If the inner support of your shoe has worn out, you can develop this condition. It is painful and takes a long time to heal. Some have this condition for years.

Plantar Warts are a virus that you can pick-up by walking around barefoot in the locker room or in a public shower or by a pool, or even in a hotel room. We recommend you always wear something that separates your bare feet from the locker room floor. Plantar warts can cause foot pain and are difficult to get rid of. If left untreated, they also spread to other areas of the foot, including toes.

Toenail Fungus and Athletes Foot fungus are things you can pick-up from having wet feet for too long. We recommend you keep an extra pair of shoes and socks in your car or at work for times when rain has caused your feet to get wet.

If your feet begin to hurt, this probably is a sign that it is time to buy a new pair of shoes. Don’t be stingy. Listen to your feet and get the new shoes. Consider also rotating your shoes, so that they have more time to dry out. As an added measure of precaution, it would not hurt to spray your shoes from time to time with Lysol disinfectant spray.

The health of your feet are very important for this type of work, where you are standing and running for long periods of time. Be good to your feet. Be preemptive in avoiding problems. The extra care you give your feet will work in your favor.

DOORMAN RELATIONS

It is important to maintain a cordial and courteous work environment with the doormen, since they are in a position to either help or hurt you (and your team members) financially.

If they load luggage, be courteous and ask if they got tipped. If they didn’t, you have to share your gratuity (unless they tell you to keep it).

If they are too busy to open the taxi door for a departing guest, step in and handle it. If you are given a tip by this guest, offer it to a doorman. But if they are nowhere to be seen and now you are doing their work, the tip is ours.

If someone needs a taxi, alert a doorman so they can begin their rapport with the departing guest and make their money. Or if there is no doorman, summon a taxi yourself. Ask the guest what their destination is. When the taxi arrives, open the taxi door, tell the taxi driver where to take the guest, and load any luggage.

TAXIS

A taxi stand is on Berry Street behind the XYZ Hotel. Taxi drivers wait there for an opportunity to serve a guest. And they can wait a long time. We need to be fair to those drivers. This means not allowing another taxi driver to butt in front of a waiting driver at the taxi stand, unless it makes sense for us and the guest. (The doormen almost always oversee the divvying out of transport opportunities for taxi drivers.) 

CELEBRITY GUESTS

We frequently have guests who are considered by others to be celebrities. Sports celebrities, music celebrities, television or movie celebrities, political celebrities, business celebrities. It should be no big deal to you. Don’t ask for their autograph. Don’t ask for a photo op with them. Don’t gush. Just be normal. Keep conversation to a minimum, such as “Welcome to The ****** Hotel” or “Good afternoon.”

The hotel takes guest privacy seriously. You are not permitted to discuss ANY guests outside of the workplace. Doing so can get you fired. Posting on social media that a certain VIP guest is now at the hotel can definitely get you fired and cause embarrassment for your managers.

EVENTS IN THE LOWER LOBBY

From time to time you will notice a red sign on the door to the Lower Lobby area. When that sign is posted, you are not to enter that area. Instead, please go around the back way, through the office section.

LOST & FOUND

If you find something that might be of value to someone, the “finders keepers, losers weepers” rule does not apply here at The ****** Hotel. Alert your supervisor, along with the front desk or concierge about your find and take it to the Security Office. If nobody claims it, you MIGHT eventually be given ownership of it.
 
ELEVATOR USAGE

If a guest is in the elevator, wait and board the next elevator… unless they have invited you to join them.

RESTROOMS

You are only permitted to use the employee restrooms on the lower level. The other, fancier restrooms are for guests.

PUBLICITY

If you find yourself in a situation where you are being interviewed by the press, you are not permitted to disclose that you work at The ****** Hotel, unless permission from the hotel’s director of public relations has signed off on it.

HAVE CHANGE

It is a smart practice to keep change on you for times when a guest wants to give you a gratuity, but has a large bill. At a minimum, always have three $5 bills and five $1 bills folded in half together, ready to go, in a pocket that is separate from the day’s cut money. Having two or three of these folded bundles of cash would be more adequate. This way you make receiving tips while simultaneously providing change to the guest — quick and easy.

Sometimes a guest requesting change, who is not connected to a car we brought up, will tip you just for providing it.

DO NOT LOSE YOUR SWIPE

Turn it in at the end of each shift by placing it into the slot of the door at the Security Office. If you lose your swipe, you will be charged $45 for it.

REQUESTING TIME OFF

Need time off? Request it in the WhenToWork.com system.

PAYROLL CHECKS

It is strongly recommended that you opt for direct deposit. To set this up, we will need a voided check from your personal checking account. If you do not opt for direct deposit, you will be enrolled in the Skylight Visa Debit pay card program, which will cost you ongoing fees.

HOW YOU CAN GET IN TROUBLE

  1. Poor Customer Service. Example: If you clocked out and are out-front in uniform, and a guest asks you to do something, you do not say “I’m off the clock. You’ll have to ask him…” or something similar. This is a 5 star, 5 diamond hotel. The standards are high here, and that type of poor customer service can get you fired.
     
  2. Being Late. Call and let us know if you are running behind, or text message us. Being late once in a while — for good reason — might be okay. All the time is a problem. We are counting on you to always show up for your shifts, on time.
     
  3. No Call. No Show. This can definitely cost you your job.
     
  4. Dishonesty.
     
  5. Inappropriate Behavior. 
     
  6. Damaging Vehicles.
     
  7. Being Lazy.
     
  8. Losing Keys.

HOW TO BE A VALUABLE TEAM MEMBER

Show up for work on time, looking sharp, and with the “let’s get it done attitude.” Be eager to serve our guests. We are not conducting mere transactions. Rather, we are all trying to create experiences and memories for our guests. Do things to create happy memories. Respect the automobiles that we are being paid to care for. Drive them well and safely. And run between the hotel and garage. Always run. Don’t walk.

WE’RE GLAD TO HAVE YOU ON THE TEAM

The ****** Hotel is an interesting place to work. Congratulations on being chosen to work here. In the future, provided you conduct yourself well, you will either have a nice entry on your resume, or you can springboard from this entry-level-position to better things with (the valet company).

Q & A

What does a taxi ride to the airport cost? It is a flat $28.50. There might be a $1 fuel surcharge. An alternative is to take the train. It costs $7 per person and this train service runs every half hour from 4:30am till 11:30pm. The train ride takes 19 minutes to 24 minutes, depending upon which terminal they are detraining at. (Most ****** Hotel guests have no interest in taking the train.)

How long does a taxi ride to the airport take? If traffic is good, 20 minutes. If traffic is bad (rush hour), it could take twice as long, or longer. There is construction happening on both Interstate 95 and the Platt Bridge. So delays can happen on either route to the airport. The taxi driver will want to get them there as soon as possible, since the fare is a flat fare. (This means they are more likely to speed like maniacs.)

It might be helpful to say to the taxi driver “Please safely take our guests to the airport. Please obey the traffic laws and be very careful with our guests.”

How far away is the train station? 30th Street Station is a 15 or 20 minute walk, or a 5 minute cab ride. The entrance to Suburban Station is at …

Is it safe to walk around here (at night)? People sometimes ask this for reassurance while about to embark on an evening stroll. The answer is: “It’s fairly safe.” It would be unusual to get mugged around our neighborhood. But this IS a big city. And we do have criminals, homeless, and mentally ill people roaming the streets like any other big city. They should not be complacent. To outright declare an evening stroll as being perfectly safe would be a misrepresentation.

How do I get to the Ben Franklin Bridge? The safest way is straight down Race Street, which they can pick up across the street, beside the cathedral. By taking this route, they avoid the red light camera at Broad & Vine.

How do I get to I-95? Exit our driveway to the left. Come out to this light, go to the next traffic light (down 18th). Make a right at that light. That’s Vine Street. You will see the entrance on to I-676 at Broad & Vine. Be very careful. There is a red light camera there. It’s a $100 fine if you get caught. To be safe, stop at any yellow lights. Once you get on 676, it will merge on to I-95. You pick your direction north or south.

Where is the nearest gas station? At 22nd and Walnut.

How do I get to the Schuylkill River Trail? (Asked by joggers.) Jog up to the Art Museum. You can pick up the trail to the left of the museum, or behind it. Beautiful views of Boathouse Row to the north. A fantastic dog park to the south. Water fountain inside the free Waterworks Museum, which is along the side of the art museum, beside the river.

I’m going to drop-off my rental at the airport, which is the best way to go? If they have a Hertz or Avis rental car, they have offices in the neighborhood. It’s possible they could just drop it off around the block instead of going through all that hassle. If this is of interest to them, suggest they speak with the concierge about how to do that. “First desk to your right.”

The simplest route to the airport is I-95. Warn them about the red light camera at Broad & Vine.

Someone has asked you if they can park out front. What do you do? The driveway is controlled by the doormen. Summon a doorman, or tell the person who to ask. They will need to turn their keys over to a doorman.

Someone says they are here to apply for a job. What do you say? “Applications are accepted on Mondays from 3 till 6pm. Go to the employee entrance around the building on 29th Street and enter the building there. Good luck.”

Someone asks who the big shot is, or if a certain celebrity is here at the hotel. What do you say? “I don’t know anything about it…. Even if I did, I couldn’t tell you.”

Someone has fallen on hotel property. What do you do? (1)Tell the doorman, or (2) your supervisor, or if neither are there, (3) call security.

Is the house car available? This is the black Mercedes S550 driven by Baba during the daytime or Haile during the evening shift. It is a free service that is not promoted inside the hotel. (Because if everybody knew about it, a lot of people would be unhappy, since there is only one house car.) The house car has a limited, tight range. It is not always available. It is first come, first served unless special prior arrangements have been made, and not all destinations are acceptable. This is a conversation which the guest should have with the doorman. If the car is not there, the doorman can call the driver and find out when he will be back.

A drunk or homeless person is hassling our guests in front of the hotel, asking for food or money. What do you do? Alert the doorman. He will probably call security. It is probably best for you to stay out of it. If you intervene, only use non-violent means to shoo the individual away.

A guest who you are about to present car keys to appears drunk. What do you do? Don’t give them the keys! Get your supervisor involved.

Where is Subway? Clarify by asking: “Are you looking for Subway the restaurant, or the underground transport system?” If they are looking for food, it is one block down on the left...

I want to get some water. Is there a convenience store nearby? Offer them bottled water from our supply in the back.

I want to get something to eat. What would you recommend? “There is a very nice eating area beneath the Comcast Tower. Lots of selection. Comfortable. (Hours are Monday through Friday 8am to 7pm. Saturday 8 till 5pm. Closed Sunday.) There is a… Their oven roasted Atlantic salmon is excellent.”

Where is the nearest pharmacy?

I need to go to a men’s clothing store. Where do you recommend I go? The concierge desk. They will give you some good choices. First desk to the right.

Where would YOU go for a steak sandwich? Be prepared with a good answer. (I like “Phillips” in South Philadelphia, at 23rd & Passyunk Avenue. Afterwards get some homemade ice cream at “Dati’s” across the street.)

A guest says street bums are sleeping in the cut-outs of the hotel along the main street. What do you say? “Thank you. They don’t belong there. I will alert security.”

An emergency vehicle is approaching you from behind on 28th Street (a common thoroughfare for them). What do you do? First of all, do not scratch the rims on any curbing. If you see them 2 blocks behind you, know that they are coming! It’s not a maybe. They are coming! Don’t wait. Be early about getting out of the way. And do not scratch the rims on the car.

The car won’t start. What do you do? Is your foot on the brake? Is the clutch all the way down? Or is the transmission in park? Do you have battery power? Alert your supervisor. We do have the ability to jump-start cars.

The guest is angry. You took too long to bring out their car. What do you do? If you know you were slow to deliver the car and the customer is displaying a displeased face, immediately apologize for the delay in bringing out their car. Offer them cold bottles of water for their trip — if it is appropriate, and offer help with directions, if you feel it is appropriate. The worst thing you can do is mirror their unhappy, annoyed attitude. Don’t do that.

Guest is talking on their smart phone while you are presenting the car, and you know it is their car. What do you do? Give them they keys, accept their gratuity, and close the car door for them. They are not interested in speaking with you. If you are unaware if this is really their car, interrupt them to confirm it is their car.

Rental cars can get people confused. It is easily possible for a guest to get into the wrong rental car. With rental cars, be extra careful with who you turn the keys over to.

Guest is nowhere to be seen as you are waiting to present the car. What do you do? Three options:

  1. Leave it at the curb. Hit the unlock button before you get out to be sure the passenger doors will open.
     
  2. If you are in the way, pull it down and back it up against the curb. Go backwards till you touch the curb, unless you know you are in a low car. When the car is pressed against the curb, put it in neutral, let it coast forward a couple inches, then shut it down. Lock it if the car is far from the front-entry area.
     
  3. Or go around. Exit the driveway to the left. Go up 28th to the light and re-enter the driveway. This is done to allow other cars to leave when there are no convenient spaces out front for you to park in, and it gives the guest a little more time to arrive out front.

You accidentally smeared the glass of the front windshield when you took the ticket off the dash. What do you do? Go to the cashier’s office, get a bottle of window cleaner and a rag. Spray the rag. Clean up the smear marks.

Note: A good habit is to only open and close the car doors by the door handles. This keeps your fingerprints off the paint and other surface areas, (which could annoy a fussy guest).

Also, if the mat on the floor in front of the driver’s seat is out of place, then re-position it to its most appropriate position.

Parking Strategy: It’s Friday night. The cage is full. You have an overnight car. Where do you park it? Answer: R419A Why?

  1. It is less likely a criminal will go to the 4th floor to look for opportunity.
     
  2. The Friday night crowd that frequents “Boozers” can be a drunk, unruly crowd that could cause damage to cars that are within their easy reach. On the 4th floor, the cars are far away from any ruckus.
     
  3. The public generally does not park here on weekend nights. So there is less likelihood our customers’ cars will be damaged.
     
  4. If we are regularly parking cars here and retrieving them, then we are keeping an eye on our cars at regular intervals. And if we happen to see somebody hanging out around our cars, we know we have a problem. 

Parking Strategy: An outsider has driven into the cage. What do you do? The hotel’s managers have parking privileges inside the cage. This stranger could be one of them. Ask them if they work at the hotel. If they say yes, ask which hotel. If, however, it is clear they are regular people who are not affiliated with the hotel, tell them this is a private parking area and they need to leave. Instruct them to drive to the rear gate. You will open it for them. (They can’t stay… partly because they won’t be able to get to their car or get it out, and because this is our private secure space for hotel guests – and certain hotel employees – only.)

Proceed to Section E...