Night shift. And you know how much I love the night shifts, right?

My first night shift weekend in this upscale hostel of Barcelona. After one day of training for this shift, I was again back behind the front desk, alone. Well, apart from the security guy.

Even tho it wasn’t the busiest night that my fellow hostel workers could have seen, definitely, it was one of the most stressful days that I had in a long time. Why? Because I kind of screwed up the whole hostel for the next day. With one click.

But let me tell you the story.

22:00 I guess it’s time to move on from my home towards work. It feels strange to go to work at this time, instead directly to my bed. But ‘life is hard’ as they say, so I grab my notes from the previous night with all the night procedures and leave home.

23:00 The work starts. My colleagues pass me all the information from the whole day and suddenly they all disappear.

23:15 Here I am, all alone at the reception just like back in the days in smaller hostels. Just me, 2 check-ins left and people all around preparing to go out (in other words: drinking).

23:30 New guests arrive, almost together so fortunately I’m done really fast with that part. No no-shows today. Kind of sad because I really feel kind of strange satisfaction when I can charge them (I know it’s awful…).

24:00 I can start to fill in all the information needed for other departments for the next day. Since I haven’t had much experience with closings of the days and searching for the data, it takes me a really long time to figure out everything on this system. And my hand-written notes kind of sucks. Fortunately, I found on the computer some old notes from the night shift, which seem not to be really up-to-date but I will be just fine with this and my own.

1:00 Some drunk guests passing through with typical questions where they can go out. I’m trying to be nice as much as I can, but they are not aware that I’m fighting now my personal war with the system and all the excel documents I need to feel in. But after the funny and short talk they leave the hostel and I’m left to continue my fight in peace.

2:00 It seems like this shift is flowing really fast. Fuck, I have so much to do…and they say there is nothing to do on the night shift…

3:00 Ok, I need to close the system. I think last night my colleague said that around 3 a.m will be best.

I search in my notes the part of the closing the day. I don’t even know why I don’t remember this part from the previous night (oh, maybe because at this time of the night my head just switches off and sleeps…).

So I follow my notes, just in one point I’m not truly convinced if I should change the date or leave it as it was. Logically thinking I should leave the date of the day I want to close but in this system nothing is logical as I learned through the past month. My notes are not so clear about this point. OMG, what should I do? Uhh, I click on the new date.

And it started to process.

4:00 Hmm…the system still process. I guess I will continue with filling in excels.

5:00 Still processing….Oh, My Gooood! And what if I closed wrong?! OMG OMG…I start to panic

5:30 The security guy is trying to calm me down: ‘this system always closes a long time’ Really?! But it’s been 2,5 hours already?! ‘Yeah, really’.

I feel in my bones there is something wrong.

I try to get the data of the earnings from today but the only thing that it shows me between all the numbers is 0.

Ups…this doesn’t look good. I’m pretty sure there should be something.

Let’s check arrivals for today…ZERO arrivals? Impossible.

Ups, ups, ups




FUCK, I closed the previous day and the one that is starting…


I really want to cry. What should I do?!

6:15 Breathe in, breathe out. I need to think. But it’s hard at this hour since I’m not used to working at night.

6:30 I figured out all the arrivals from today appear as no-shows in the system (Big Ups…)

I can’t even prepare the housekeeping lists because there is nothing showing…

Everyone is going to kill me…I think I screwed up the whole hostel for this day.


7:00 My colleagues form the morning shift arrive, asking me how it went. I look at them with tired eyes and say:

‘Sorry guys, I screwed up the whole hostel for today’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well I kind of closed two days in one and now all the arrivals are “no shows” and I couldn’t fill in all the data because of that aaaand I couldn’t print the housekeeping lists’

‘Don’t worry we will solve it, teamwork right? Go to sleep’


And actually they did. Starting with searching the history of to which rooms were assigned to the no-shows and assigning them again. Some reservations were a little bit messed up this day but everyone managed.

And me?

Well, I felt so bad that I screwed up so much that I couldn’t sleep. So when I got back for my last night shift that weekend I was tired, felt guilty even tho I knew everything was ok now.

And the best part was that thanks to that I had less work that night since in order to solve the problem I didn’t need to close the system.

After that night I have learned that there are really NO problems that cannot be solved. Even with the screwed up PMS.

And you might think, that after that night no one would like me to do again the night shift, but actually I did (unfortunately).

Probably the worst hostel worker in the world,

Check out my other hostel adventures in ‘The Receptionist Diary’ series:

The Receptionist Diary: A day from the hostel life

The Receptionist Diary: The night shift

The Receptionist Diary: The no show story

The Receptionist Diary: The Wi-Fi Armageddon

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Founder of Don’t Mess With The Receptionist. I geek out on hostels and I’m a long-time receptionist turned into a copywriter. I help the hospitality and travel brands conquer the world with words.

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