Are you vacationing this Christmas on a sunny beach or in a faraway romantic city? Or will the New Year bring business travels to out-of-town meetings or conferences? Wherever your travels take you, most likely you will choose to stay in a hotel as your accommodation. There's nothing new about a weekend in a standard hotel - we've been checking in and out of them since our childhood vacations and continue to frequent them on our business trips. Even so, a reminder of the protocol for hotel visits is always beneficial when packing up to leave home. Whether on holiday or business, one must remember that staying in a hotel does not allow for the same privacy and personal space as being at home - and must be aware of how to act accordingly.
For either vacation or a business trip, here are a few tips for a courteous and appropriate hotel stay:
- Always acknowledge that a hotel is a public space. Dress accordingly when in the common areas such as the restaurant, lobby, and hallways. Even your private room is not necessarily your personal space - out of respect to the guests staying in adjacent rooms, control the noise levels of your TV, radio, and voice, especially at night and in the early morning.
- It is important to treat the hotel staff with consideration as well. Demonstrate kindness to those assisting you simply by thanking them for their help, as well as remaining calm and level when ordering or discussing reservations. In addition, even though a housekeeper will tidy up your room, clean up your own garbage and keep your laundry clearly separate from the hotel linens.
- Be sure to tip the hotel staff appropriately. Tip anyone who handles your luggage, including the bellhop, doorman, or valet. Leave a tip for the housekeeper on every morning of your stay. If you order room service, tip the waiter or delivery person accordingly.
If you are traveling on business and staying in a hotel among colleagues, maintaining a level of professionalism and formality in your accommodation is especially key. A few more points to keep in mind when you take business on the road:
- It is best to assemble with your co-workers in the common spaces of the hotel. However, you should still keep your room clean and tidy, as your colleagues may come directly to your room to meet. Make sure luggage stowed and out of sight. Put your clothes in the drawers and closet provided by the hotel, or leave them neatly in your suitcases. Do not scatter your personal belongings and toiletries across the counters.
- Limit your drinking at dinner or in the hotel bar. When you return to the office, the last thing you want to bring back is an embarrassing story or any awkwardness between colleagues.
- If your company is covering the expenses of the trip, maintain a modest budget on meals and extra hotel fees.
In a hotel setting, it can be easy to let down your hair and relax as if you are at home - forgetting that in fact you are surrounded by strangers or even important stakeholders, colleagues, or supervisors. Reminding yourself that a hotel is a public place will help you to be aware of your behaviour within it.