The telephone rings at 5:45 a.m.
“Good morning, Mr. Ritz this is your wake-up call.”
Carlton hasn’t used an alarm clock in three years, since becoming Manager at City View Suites, a four-star hotel downtown. Wake-up calls keep him in touch with his clients.
Today is Saturday, which is usually a slower day – most of the business clients are sleeping in their own beds over the weekend. Today is different, as the hotel has no vacancies left with a massive wedding reception booked for the ballroom at four, and a VIP crowd attending the Mayor’s fundraising dinner at seven.
After a quick shower (little bar of soap, miniature bottle of shampoo) and a continental breakfast, Carlton walks ten blocks to the hotel, and stands for a moment outside the door to admire the entrance.
Inside, his first order of business is to meet with his assistant manager to review last night’s business – and any complaints clients may have had. There is only one, which is rare. The guest in room 517 apparently ordered room service – two steaks charred to near carbon and a glass of milk – and was delivered two steaks only well-done.
“It was the chef, Mr. Ritz. He refused to ruin the steaks.”
“I don’t what the chef wanted or didn’t want to do. I will deal with him. For now, send up a complimentary breakfast – steak and eggs – and personally make sure that steak is black and crispy.”
Next on the docket is a meeting with housekeeping.
“Listen up, folks, times are changing, and we need to change with them. Turns out, nobody uses those shower caps and shoe horns we’ve been leaving on the bathroom counters. So get rid of them. As of today, we are going to leave bottles of vanilla cake body balm butter. Try not to eat it.”
Head of housekeeping takes notes.
“There has also been a demographic shift in our clients, more A-type personalities, fewer wallflowers. That means we need to start leaving blankets on the beds un-tucked. If you need to tuck, do it on your own time. These people need freedom to flop around in bed, and we’re going to give it to them. Questions?”
“Mr. Ritz, our mints are leaving nefarious stains on the pillowcases. Can we change them for something else?”
“Good point. Chocolate mints were a terrible idea. Swap them for a cleaner mint. No, origami swans. No, orchids! I want a white orchid on each and every pillow from now on.”
Carlton strides out of the room and enters the dining area to mingle with guests during breakfast. He shakes hands and talks bacon and eggs. One guest asks for more orange juice.
“Excellent point! Why is orange juice always served in such tiny glasses? Oranges grow on trees, for goodness sake!” His focus shifts to the Manager of Cuisine. “From now on, serve juice in giant glasses.”
It’s time to review the ballroom for the wedding reception. Florists and caterers have been hard at work all night making final arrangements. A string quartet is setting up in the corner, and the walls are being draped with champagne-colored silk.
“Looks great,” Carlton declares. “But we need to add our signature. Where’s my Event Manager?”
“Right here sir.”
“Wonderful. Now I have orchids on the brain. The whole pillow ordeal got me thinking. Let’s donate white orchids for each table. Float them in something, maybe champagne. I want everyone at this reception to book their parties at City View.
Speaking of events, how are things looking for the Mayor’s fundraising dinner?”
“Sir, the Mayor has reviewed the menu and the dining room and loves it. She’s not so happy about her room, though.”
“Not happy? Get her on the phone for me.”
A minute goes by and the Mayor, Emma Bezzler, is on the line.
“Em, it’s Carlton down in the lobby. What’s the matter with your room?”
“Carlton, I just feel cramped. The bathroom is so small… I can’t brush my teeth sideways.”
“I’m sorry, Mayor, but we are fully booked and I can’t give you a different room… I’ll tell you what, I’ll send up a smaller toothbrush on us."
He hangs up muttering about VIP treatment, but keeping clients happy is the name of the game.
Both events are a smashing success, and the hotel is able to book two more receptions based on the reviews. The day was long, but Carlton is able to go to bed that evening (blankets un-tucked of course) knowing he has made his clients content, and with contentment comes loyalty.