The Receptionist Diary: So you want to cancel for free?

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Another exciting hostel shift

The hours in the reception goes by with the random stuff like emails, reservations. And occasional check-ins.

It’s a low season so the shifts usually go by slowly with some interruptions from guests. Oh, wait…have I just said interruptions? Guests NEVER interrupt my hostel shift. EVER.

I start to do my BELOVED activity: responding to Booking messages.

I don’t know why this platform is getting on my nerves. With all the requests that they send (like non-smoking room, silent room, etc.), I usually feel like they are spamming our Inbox (LOL).

But well…that’s the job, right?

Oh, request for the free cancellation. Non-refundable reservation. Of course. You gotta love them. 

Let’s see…

Basically, the guy wrote, he didn’t get his visa, so he can’t come. “Please, please, please…can you wave the cancellation fee?”

Me thinking: If you weren’t sure if you’ll receive a visa or not, why the heck did you choose a non-refundable rate????

Me responding: Nope.

Ok, so I might not have written only “nope”, but I did mention that we have standard rates for these kinds of occasions. Where you have this freedom of deciding not to come. That’s a teacher inside me, that’s trying to educate travellers.

Sometimes I can’t help myself. 

I’m also in the mood to be a little bit mean. I know what you might think: maybe customer service is not my thing. I should do it with more passion and with a 24-hour wide smile and kindness. Actually, I believe there is always room for kindness. In any given situation.

But this is one of these days when you receive 50 requests for free cancellations and some of them with the worst excuses ever.

Sometimes I say yes. But, c’mon…The hostel also needs to earn money. In the end, this IS business. Also, that’s the beauty of the non-refundable rate. The risk is on you.

However, the guy didn’t take a “no” for an answer and bombards us with the sequence of similar emails.

Breathe in, breathe out. I’ve got to stay strong.

A quick digress: I don’t always say no. All depends on the situation, that the guest introduced us with. And the way it was presented also comes into account. Sometimes people DEMAND instead of asking kindly. As I said, kindness and smile are a powerful thing. Even in the emails.

Once, I cope with this task I realize something is missing.

Ah, yes! Strangely the phone hasn’t rung yet, during this shift. And it usually rings once a guest is coming to ask for something together with a new check-in.

It’s all or nothing. Usually, everything happens at the same time. The moments of the highest tension and adrenaline during the hostel shifts 😀

Sound of the phone in the background.

Damn it…I knew it was too beautiful to be true.

“Hi! So I have a booking for May and I’ve just seen that the room I’ve booked, now is cheaper. And I paid much more. I don’t want to cancel it but can you give me breakfast or something at least? Since I have paid so much.”

Me thinking: Do you also call Ryanair each time they change the price because you paid 89 euros and it’s for 30? People…seriously…WHY?

Me saying: One moment, please. Let me talk to my supervisor. 

That’s a lie. As there is no supervisor. Just me. Haha. I just want to buy some time to think about the reply.

So, I can go on with this, say no and argue with you, lady. Therefore lower down my mood and energy. Or I can just say “yes” and go on with my life.

I quickly check what she has paid and what is the price now.

Oh… I must say I would be pissed too (I usually am with Ryanair, that’s why once I buy a ticket I don’t check it anymore).

I go for “yes” and continue the rest of my shift. With almost a “typical” check-in, that has the reservation for the next month but have decided to appear 1 month earlier. Classic. 

Oh boy, you are lucky we’re in the low season.

Without these kinds of stuff, my shift wouldn’t be complete.

Signature of Ewa

P.S. Make sure to check out other stories from “The Receptionist Diary” series:

A day from the hostel life

The night shift

The no show story

The Wi-Fi Armagedon

How To Screw Up The Whole Hostel With One Click

Multifunctionality is my second name

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