An Article from a fellow hotelier in South Africa
A Day in the Life of an Hotelier
This month’s featured impossible guest was an Israeli. Now we all love a discount as much as the next person, just as everyone thinks it is it their inalienable right to be upgraded free of charge on an aeroplane and thus to get a proper metal knife and fork and china salt and pepper pots instead of those little sachets, all for the price of an economy ticket. I am told that giving chocolate to the check-in staff helps. But, of course, hoteliers have a different view. We are probably asked for more discounts than any other industry. Why, I wonder? What makes everybody think that our margins are any more squeezable than anybody else’s? I can assure you that, if anything, the opposite is the case...
Anyway, the said Israeli couple arrived mid-afternoon without a booking and were greeted by Kanan the Zambian. Maybe this is where the confusion first set in. Maybe they thought, with this evidently being the Land of Kanan, that milk and honey were on special. They asked him the rate. He explained – R500 per person per night. A measly £30. Under $45. Or about 165 Shekels. Did that include breakfast. Yes, it did. Per person? Yes, per person. Was there a special deal available? No.
But, what if his wife was pregnant? he asked. Same price, Kanan told him.
Where did he think he was? Bethlehem? Was his wife carrying the Messiah, because if so we needed some proof, otherwise she’d pay the same as anybody else. No pregnancy discount but no surcharge either. It was late, though, and there was room for them at the Inn. Reluctantly, they stayed.
The next morning, on checkout, with Kanan not on duty, they claimed that he had quoted per room, not per person and refused to pay more than R500 in total. And, as if to prove a point, took four scones off the breakfast buffet, buttered them and stuffed them in their rucksacks.
Some people just don’t seem to get it. The price is the price. Why wouldn’t it be? Lawyers don’t give specials on first-time divorces. Doctors don’t give bulk discounts on un-booked consultations. Pay the price. Get over it. It’s cheap. And if you are about to bring the Messiah into the world, have a halo to prove it...