Saturday 14 July 2018

Book ~ "Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality" (2012) Jacob Tomsky

From Goodreads ~ Jacob Tomsky never intended to go into the hotel business. As a new college graduate, armed only with a philosophy degree and a singular lack of career direction, he became a valet parker for a large luxury hotel in New Orleans. Yet, rising fast through the ranks, he ended up working in “hospitality” for more than a decade, doing everything from supervising the housekeeping department to manning the front desk at an upscale Manhattan hotel. He’s checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room-service meals, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&M's out of your minibar, laughed at your jokes and taken your money. In "Heads in Beds", he pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multi-billion-dollar industry we think we know.

"Heads in Beds" is a funny, authentic and irreverent chronicle of the highs and lows of hotel life, told by a keenly observant insider who’s seen it all. Prepare to be amused, shocked and amazed as he spills the unwritten code of the bellhops, the antics that go on in the valet parking garage, the housekeeping department’s dirty little secrets - not to mention the shameless activities of the guests, who are rarely on their best behavior. Prepare to be moved, too, by his candor about what it’s like to toil in a highly demanding service industry at the luxury level, where people expect to get what they pay for (and often a whole lot more). Employees are poorly paid and frequently abused by coworkers and guests alike, and maintaining a semblance of sanity is a daily challenge.

Along his journey, Tomsky also reveals the secrets of the industry, offering easy ways to get what you need from your hotel without any hassle. This book (and a timely proffered twenty-dollar bill) will help you score late checkouts and upgrades, get free stuff galore and make that pay-per-view charge magically disappear. Thanks to him, you’ll know how to get the very best service from any business that makes its money from putting heads in beds. Or, at the very least, you will keep the bellmen from taking your luggage into the camera-free back office and bashing it against the wall repeatedly.

The author had graduated from university with a philosophy degree and no job prospects.  On a lark, he applied for a job as a parking valet for a new hotel in New Orleans.  He got the job and became "Tom" (later "Thomas").  He eventually got promoted to supervising the housekeeping staff ... less money and more hours.  Burnt out, he took a year off and traveled around Europe.  Broke and ready to get back to a "real life" again, he headed to New York hoping to transfer his skills to another profession.  Unfortunately that didn't happen and "Thomas" ended up manning the front desk of a hotel in Manhattan.

Because of my job, I spend a fair bit of time traveling and in hotels ... and that's why this book caught my eye.  I was curious to see what goes on in the industry and get a behind-the-scenes peek into the hotel business.  Basically you can get anything you want if you want to slip someone some cash.  The author wrote about his experience working and traveling in the U.S. ... I'm not sure if it would work at a hotel here in Canada (maybe depending on the hotel?).  But I did learn how to get free movies and free booze from the mini-bar.

I liked this book and found it interesting and enlightening.  I liked the writing style ... it was funny and snarky.  It was definitely not boring.  The author's sense of humour and expression may not be for everyone but I enjoyed it.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

That was an awesome book! My favourite story was when he didn't like the guest, he'd put them in room 1212 because they would receive nuisance calls (other guests would call out to New York by dialing 1-212 and the rest of the number, but the hotel phones would connect the call to room 1212)