When does a Night Manager start and finish work?
It varies between hotels, but I start working at 11 pm and finish at 7 am. Occasionally something happens that requires me to stay behind a little longer. I may be behind schedule because guests are checking out already when the airport train starts to run at 4 am, or due to unplanned cleaning after intoxicated guests.
I work seven consecutive nights and then I’m off for seven days.
Can you sleep at work? Or do you never get tired?
Sleeping at work is out of the question. I am responsible for all the people in the hotel. I don’t really get tired, as night time is when I actually live. If I’m tired, then that’s because I haven’t slept well between my work shifts.
What is your circadian rhythm like?
I am a distinct nocturnal person and my circadian rhythm has been turned upside down for the last 20 years. A sleeping specialist gave me the diagnosis B-person (night owl), but said I was a severe case and almost a C-person. He recommended me to get a night shift job, or else I could potentially turn into a Michael Jackson, i.e. having to take pills to go to sleep and other pills to wake up.
Do you watch Netflix at work?
I have only worked at Comfort Hotel® Grand Central for two months, and so far I have had my hands full and been busy with all sorts of routines. Not much Netflix-watching, in other words. But one shouldn’t really have time to watch TV at work, right?
The lobby at Comfort Hotel® Grand Central
What work tasks are the responsibility of a Night Manager?
Very much the same as day time tasks. Checking guests in and out, responding to e-mails and answering the phone. Allocating rooms to guests arriving the next day. Helping and assisting hotel guests. If there is something wrong with a room, then I try to fix it, or I assign a new room to them. In exceptional cases, when we are fully booked, I will arrange a guest room at another hotel.
I am also responsible for invoicing and receiving payments from all guests checking out the day I get off my shift. Then there is cleaning of the lobby: mopping the floors, wiping off tables and chairs as well as the exercise machines in our new gym located straight up from the lobby, emptying rubbish bins and refilling products in the lobby shop.
Can you describe a typical night at work?
Work starts with a quick handover from the receptionist. That’s when I’m informed about important issues, if any. It may be special requests from guests, or if some guests are arriving very late. Or, if guests have notified reception that they will check out before the breakfast buffet opens, in which case they may want to get some food to take-away.
When the handover is done, I start going through the guest list of people who will arrive the next morning and take note of any special requests made in the bookings. Has anyone requested early check-in? Does anyone need an extra bed or an upgrade? Has anyone notified us of any allergies or the need of a disabled room?
After that, I start allocating the rooms, meaning I decide which room type and room number each guest will get. When that’s done, I usually respond to e-mails. This is often interrupted by guests arriving to check in, or guest coming down to the reception to get something to eat or drink, or due to the phone ringing. That’s work though, and quite nice actually.
The IT systems shut down from 3.00 to 03.30 am for processing and this is when I get something to eat. After that, it’s time for the cleaning routines and when that’s done, the system is usually up and running again.
Then all checkouts for the day are invoiced and registered and thereafter I reconcile everything. When all this is done, it’s usually 5 am and I normally spend the last two hours responding to e-mails and chit-chating with guests who are up early.
Do you have any funny stories from your time as Night Manager?
Well… there was this time when a naked man came running out from the elevator and up to the reception counter asking if he could get a bottle of wine to his room. I politely responded that that was not possible, while I discretely suggested he might want to wear some more clothes next time.
Do you have any spooky stories to tell? Have you seen any ghosts?
I have heard that there are ghosts in the hotel corridors, but I haven’t seen any myself. Cracking sounds I hear every now and then, however.
What do you eat during night time?
I often bring a ready-made meal. Fjordland is popular and Coop has started selling some great fresh meals of similar style. Sometimes I make myself something yummy to bring from home, but most of the time I sleep too long, and I have to rush to get to work in time. Sometimes I get myself a few things from the breakfast buffet.
What do you like most about being a Night Manager?
I like to work on my own and to have time on my side. And there is no one watching me from behind to check every little task I perform. I have to admit though, that I miss being able to just ask someone a quick question and get an answer when there is something I’m not sure about, he he.