Another lovely day at work, behind the reception desk. We are almost at the end of the year, so it is getting busy in the hostel. The next few days it will be 100% or even 102% of occupancy.

At least me and my colleagues, know that we will not get bored, oh no…

So today we will have a lot of arrivals. Somewhere in my mind, I hope that most of the check-ins will arrive after 15 pm…so after my shift haha.

I know what you might think…I’m awful, but well in the morning we have so many things to do, apart from checking in people, so I see it quite fair that afternoon shift will get some part of work too.

11:00 It is the time when all the checkouts should be out of the rooms…but this happens only in the fairy tales and not in the hostels.

11:30 It is getting busy as everyone starts to finally leave. My ears hurt already from the screaming group of 60 Italian students…why the hell they can not go outside and instead block the entrance and stay in front of the reception.

I guess it is my time to react…

13:00 Finally it calmed down a little!

13:15 First check-ins arrive. A colleague on my right is already occupied with one. So the next one goes for me. The nice Asian girl approaches me.

The standard procedure: passport, searching for the reservation…ok I can’t find it so I ask for the confirmation. Until now we understand each other. Can’t find it in the system in the easy, normal way so I’m starting to use my system tricks.

Goal! I found it! But ups…the reservation was for the day before.I get the strange feeling that today is one of those days when all the no shows will show up and all the complicated reservations will come directly to me…Oh, Lord.

Ok, I start the conversation in order to find out what happened and how to find the solution. Actually I know that I’m not obliged to restore the reservation if the client did not even bother to inform the hostel about changes in the arrival (I don’t see a problem if we have space but in the situation when we are almost overbooked it gets quite complicated). We followed our policy and changed the reservation into a no-show.

In real life people don’t care. They expect that even if they arrive late, their reservation and room will be there waiting for them. I understand that sometimes the flight is delayed and not everywhere you have Wi-Fi. That is why I always try to do my best to give the best solution and restore the reservation. But it is getting complicated on the dates like this…when we are full for the next few days. And I might not have the same type of room booked by the client available anymore.

Unfortunately, I know the girl in front of me will not understand that..she wants her bed and that’s it. I challenge myself in order to explain her the situation that I might need to put her into a mixed dorm and not the female one. I fail almost completely since she does not understand me.

Why oh why Esperanto did not work out. It would be so much easier.

Ok, I tell her to wait a few minutes and in the meantime, I try to play some Tetris…which would be easier if our PMS would be helpful and easy. But again this only happens in the perfect world.

The girl stays in front of my computer – good because I know that if she would go-to seat, the queue of people behind her would start to talk to me and, like that, I can’t focus and I can’t even solve two problems in the same time.

After 15 minutes of fighting with the system I finally achieve it. Ha! I’m so proud of myself.

The Asian girl walks away, and I turn to my colleague:

Me: Now only no shows that show up will come to me

My friend: Nah, impossible

Me: Well, watch me…

After this little chat, 3 girls come to my counter. I follow the standard check-in until, of course, I can’t find their reservation so just in case I check arrivals from the day before. And as I imagined: the story repeats! No shows…but this time it’s gonna be harder: find 3 beds for all the days might take me a while.

Even thou the girls understand the situation, their attitude is like ‘well we didn’t have Wi-Fi on the airport to write to you…you should keep our reservation until we arrive…’.

(Yeah sure because we always keep the beds like that in this situation in case you might come).

Ok, breathe in breathe out. I and my colleague are trying to figure out the solution and find somewhere the spot to put them. We do tricks and magic and here it is…15 minutes later we have 3 beds in different dormitories.

Me to the girls: Okay girls! We have beds for you!

Girls: Yay, thank you very much

Me: No worries, sorry for keeping you waiting. The only thing is that you will be in different rooms

Girls: Oh no…is there any chance we could be together?


Is this real life? – that’s me thinking – I mean we almost did mission impossible and now you want more?! I have in front of my eyes the meme I saw the other day:

Me: Ok girls, I can’t promise you anything but I will do my best. Just give me time, I’m working until 15 so come around that time and I’m gonna tell you if I could do it or not. For now, go to the rooms you were assigned to, okay?

Girls: Yes! Thank you so much! You are so nice

Hell, sure I am, sometimes even too much.

Ok, back to work! So let’s try to find the solution. I still have around 1 hour left. Let’s do this!

After a few minutes of struggling on the slow, slow, sloooooow system, the couple to check in arrives.

Me: Hi! How are you? Welcome! I will need your passports guys

The couple seems nice and cute. So I’m even in a better mood now. I’m searching for the reservation and BUM! Here it is! And it is a No Show – what a relief!


Me: Eee…so did you make 2 reservations, maybe? Because this reservation was made for 1 person for the individual room (and they are obviously 2)

Boy: I’m pretty sure I did one reservation for the room for 2

Me: Hmm…let me check (because it might be assigned to the wrong type of room)…well on your confirmation from the Hostel World clearly states you have booked an individual room…

Boy: Uuu, wow, hmm…

Girl to the boy (laughing): Are you serious? I let you do just one thing, and you booked room only for you

Hahaha this made my day.

Me: Ok guys, let me check if we have a double room, although we are pretty busy right now.

And me, with the support of my colleague (what can I say: the teamwork rocks!) found the solution…although we needed to unassigned the reservation that is supposed to arrive the next day…luckily we are not working tomorrow so the others will need to trouble with that (ups, I know I’m mean sometimes).

So the happy ending for the couple, they are checked in and go to their room.

Now I can be back, trying to find the solution for the 3 girls. My Tetris skills are working 100% and I feel the adrenaline rushing through my veins: I’m close to achieving the impossible. And a few minutes before 15…YES! I MADE IT!

15:00 The afternoon shift arrives. We quickly exchange all the news and pass the shift and I disappear.

On my way to the office, I step upon the 3 girls and pass them the happy news.

The girls: Oh thank you so much! You are the best!

Me: No problem (just spend 1 hour on it…). Just enjoy your stay and if you need anything let me know. And also leave the best review ever about me (yeah, I think I deserve it right?!)

The girls: For sure we will!

And of course, they never did.

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

The Receptionist Diary: A day from the hostel life

The Receptionist Diary: The night shift

The Receptionist Diary: The Wi-Fi Armagedon

The Receptionist Diary: How To Screw Up The Whole Hostel With One Click

It might not look like that but I really enjoy working in hostels so treat my diary with a grain of salt! And if you enjoy it too, just tweet it!

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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