Applying Cultural Lessons Learned

I had an opportunity to practice patience yesterday. Text in italics are approximations of what I was thinking. Throughout all of this the desk clerk I’m dealing with is spending 90% of his time using the computer reservation program.

Making a reservation at a hotel is going slower than I expected, even by Phillippine standards. I’ve told the clerk several times that I need three nights: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. He keeps telling me that I can have the room for three nights but I have to leave on Wednesday.

OK, stay calm. It’s a combination of finger counting math and a calendar, how hard can this be.

We get on the same page when the dude tells me that I can have the room for Mon and Tues, but not for Wed because it’s taken. They have only 4 rooms of the type I want the others are already occupied.

OK. Ten minutes ago someone else said the room was available for Mon, Tue and Wed. We’ll figure this out without me losing my patience or questioning his ability to do his job.

I tell him I’m confused. I thought the other clerk said the room was available for the three nights I need. He looks again at the program.

I wonder what is taking so much time with the program. I lean forward and can see the screen. He’s on the page that shows the current state of the hotel. He hasn’t filtered the display by room type or availability. I see the buttons that would do so but keep my mouth shut. He pulls up the reservation info on the room I want and it shows the room is vacant now but is reserved beginning Thursday, July 23. That’s good for me, as I want the room for three nights beginning on Monday the 20th. This next part is going to be tricky. Shoot, I wish I could remember some of that Dale Carnegie I read.

I point at the screen and say that the room is reserved beginning Thursday July 23. Doesn’t that mean the room is available for Wed night? He says nothing and continues to poke around the program. I point out that I would be leaving by noon on the 23rd and that the next customer’s check in time is 3pm so that means the maids would have time to clean the room and they could rent it again. He continues poking around the program. I repeat that I want it only through Wed night which means the two reservations would not overlap.

I’m now what feels like 10 minutes into the process. The other clerk, the one who originally told me the room was available for the three nights I wanted comes over, says a few words in Visayan and takes the keyboard. Forty five seconds later I have a reservation.

Oh, I see the problem. The clerk has no idea how to use the program. If he’d put my first and last night and room type into the query box all available rooms would have popped up and he wouldn’t have to try and figure out the tough questions like ‘if a room is reserved beginning on the 23rd, does that mean we can’t rent it for the 22nd?’


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