Chaise lounge hogging, what say you?

Discussion in 'Cancun Forum' started by 212eric, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. 212eric

    212eric Guest

    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Something that really bothers me when I'm on vacation is not being able to find a vacant lounge chair. There could hardly be anyone at the pool but many hotel guests put stuff on chairs to reserve them all day long, even if they're not there to use them. Finally, resorts outside of Cancun have started to enforce rules that will address and prevent the practice of chaise lounge hogging. I can only hope that Cancun will start to follow their lead.

    212eric
     
  2. 212eric

    212eric Guest

    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Woopse, I've been meaning to post this for about a week and still I forgot to add the link to the ever important news story:
    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2007/feb/27/thrill_chaise/?neapolitan

    In case the link doesn't work, I posted the article below.
    212eric



    Thrill of the chaise

    It's come to this: Hotels targeting guests that grab prime spots at the beach or pool in the morning, and then don't show up again until after noon

    Nancy Keates, The Wall Street Journal

    Tuesday, February 27, 2007

    Vacation.

    No walking the dog, emptying the dishwasher or scrambling to get to a meeting on time. And now, at many resorts this year, no reason to wake up at 6 a.m. to grab a good chair by the pool.

    With the spring-break crush coming, hotels in resort areas are arming themselves with new policies to combat "chair hogs," the scourge of vacationers who stake claim to prime spots early in the morning and then don't show up again until after noon.

    Reversing longstanding procedures to leave guests' belongings untouched, many hotels now enforce time limits on unoccupied chairs by removing and storing personal items.

    As of last Christmas, guests at Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands who leave their tiki huts for more than an hour during holidays will lose them.

    Sanctuary in Paradise Valley, Ariz., began a waiting-list system last month: If you disappear for more than an hour, the chair is given to someone else and you go to the back of the line. And a new sign at the Peninsula in Bangkok instructs guests that items will be removed if left unattended for 15 minutes.

    "People think because they have the money they should get whatever they want," says Sharon Zambrelli, a New York beauty-industry consultant who had a run-in with another guest at the Breakers in Palm Beach last month when he refused to get off chairs her husband had saved minutes earlier.

    When the other guest wouldn't discuss it, a pool attendant helped her get the chairs back.

    Cracking down on guests goes against just about everything the $123 billion-a-year U.S. hotel industry stands for — that the customer is always right, and that hotels should cater to guest whims, however ridiculous. In fact, much of the $5 billion spent last year on capital expenditures went toward guest-pampering amenities such as better spas and more elaborate pools.

    But the battle over chairs — mostly at the pool, but sometimes at the beach — has become so extreme that hotels say they have no other choice.

    The Westin Maui has started sending attendants to tag chairs left unoccupied. Once tagged, the attendant waits half an hour, and if the guests have not returned, the belongings are bagged and kept at the towel desk for pickup. The hotel says it asks a second attendant to serve as a witness, in case the guest says something is missing.

    Until last April, the Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki allowed people to sign up for a chair at 3 p.m. at the pool desk for the next morning. Typically a line of 50 people would start as early as 2 p.m., disturbing the other guests at the pool. Now guests claim seats the same day — and if a chair is left vacant for 90 minutes, it's given away.

    "We have 1,800 pool chairs at the hotel but everyone wants the same 200," says Matthew Hart, general manager of the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui. "It got to be refereeing adults."

    The hotel put in a policy last year that chairs left unattended for more than an hour could be reclaimed by the hotel. It also started selling cabanas for $150 to $225 a day up to a year ahead of time. Hart estimates 80 percent are now presold for holidays.

    Sarah Smith, an advertising executive from San Francisco, has noticed the difference at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, Calif. She's stayed there for years, but for the first time last summer she was greeted by a pool attendant who told her that if she left for more than two hours her chair would be given away.

    Smith appreciates the rule. "You're not worried that you have to get out early to save a spot," she says.

    The 198-room Shutters only has space for 100 chairs on the pool deck; the policy was added after people complained there was nowhere to sit, says Laura McIver, the resident manager. Because food and drinks are served at the pool, unattended seats also meant a missed revenue opportunity. Since the policy went into effect there have been fewer arguments, she says.

    Michael Fishbin, national director of Ernst & Young's hospitality group, says the hotels are partly responsible. In a push to attract the growing family travel market over the past decade, hotels have added children's clubs and aggressively marketed their pools, increasing poolside expectations.

    At the same time, hotels have spent millions on enormous spas that draw in day guests who often expect pool access along with their $200 massages. Some resorts act like country clubs, allowing locals to use the facilities for an annual fee.

    And Web sites like TripAdvisor.com have become flooded with chair complaints.

    "As for the pools they were very nice, but we never managed to get chairs at any of them, so spent all our mornings at the beach (people must get up in the middle of the night to put their towels on chairs to reserve?)" says one review for a hotel in Cancun.

    Even when rules exist they can be violated. At the Four Seasons Maui, when cabanas are vacant for more than 20 minutes (excluding lunch hours) the staff may reassign them. But Meredith Kaplan, a recent guest and stay-at-home mom from Los Angeles, noticed that people who return year after year make friends with other repeat guests and look out for each others' chairs.

    At the same hotel this past Christmas, Lydia Dunnaville wanted to move to a sunny cabana so she asked an attendant to take away towels from chairs that had been unoccupied for hours. The attendant refused, saying the 20-minute policy wasn't always enforced.

    Dunnaville called over the pool manager, who gave her the chairs and a complimentary lunch. The next morning, the stay-at-home mom from Portland, Ore., who doesn't like to leave her room before 11 a.m., got down to the pool at 8 a.m. and saw guests giving attendants large tips, which she assumed were to reserve spots.

    Tipping heartily works for Great Neck, N.Y., dentist David Schwartz. He estimates he spent $500 taking care of attendants at El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico last Christmas, and every day, when he and his family came down late in the morning, they had a group of chairs reserved for them with ice water, fruit and newspaper faxes. The chairs were theirs all day.

    "We treat them well and they take care of us," he says, adding that when you're paying more than $10,000 for a week, giving the attendants a little extra is worth it.

    El Conquistador pool manager Manny Melendez says the resort doesn't promote tipping and has a policy of removing items after half an hour if another guest wants the chair. And Thomas Steinhauer, general manager of the Four Seasons Maui, says a pool attendant can accept tips for setting up chairs but not for reserving them.

    The resort occasionally brings in "spotters" to make sure staff members are following the rules, and is breaking ground in September on an adults-only pool, in hopes of creating more desirable areas.

    Last year, Breakers created new pool and beach areas and added chairs to reduce density. But guests still quibble, and last December, one came down early in the morning in his boxers to claim his spot. Apparently, he didn't want to waste any time changing, says Nick Velardo, director of the hotel's Ocean Club operations.

    Longtime Breakers guest Jerry Della Femina explains why: "The new areas are like Siberia," says the New York advertising mogul, adding that pool attendants have a lot of power during holidays. "It doesn't matter if you're a hedge-fund manager — you have to get up early and be nice to get a good seat."

    Beaches aren't immune either. The Discovery Point Club on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands has plenty of chairs but guests get up at dawn to vie for one of the eight shaded beach huts and 10 umbrellas. Five of those umbrellas were added last week, and the resort, which has 45 two-bedroom units, says two more are on the way.

    Two months ago, the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Myers Beach started a new "rule of thumb" that items left for more than two hours will be removed if it is clear the guests aren't coming back soon.

    And the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif., will redistribute vacant chairs after an hour. Still, most resorts say space is not as big an issue on the beach since you can sit on the sand.

    The encounters over chairs can be traumatic. Last January, Jackie Bzostek, the director of education and training for Planned Parenthood in Fort Worth, Texas, found a cabana by the pool just before noon at the Paradisus Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Just after she and her two adult daughters settled in, an irate woman accused Bzostek of stealing her space — her husband had placed some towels on the chairs before 8 a.m., she screamed.

    Bzostek said there had been no towels when she sat down. The other woman accused her of lying, and of denying her children a place to sit. "I think about it every time I see a cabana now," says Bzostek, who stayed put but left soon afterward.

    The trick may be bringing someone who doesn't mind getting up early and spending the day on the chairs. After a bad experience in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, (a woman who was saving 11 chairs threw a fit when he tried to take one for his pregnant wife) Brandon Fuller decided to use his "secret weapon": his father, Herb.

    Every morning at the Velas Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Herb Fuller would get down to the pool by 7 a.m. and be there with six chairs when the rest of the family arrived two hours later. "I told him it was for the grandkids," says the software engineer from Longmont, Colo.
     
  3. vrodgers

    vrodgers Guest

    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I admit I do this - I'm down on the beach by 6:00 am to claim a spot with shade and two chairs, but we are also using them by 9:00 am and are there all day. I see nothing wrong with what we do because we are not leaving them vacant for hours on end.

    I do think, however, that there should be some responsibility on the resort's part to provide enough chairs/loungers that people don't have to fight over them.

    But at the same time, people need to realize that if they are at a busy resort, don't whine and complain if you can't find a spot when you don't hit the pool/beach until 2:00 pm! Same way you can't blame anyone but yourself if you show up at the movies 5 minutes after it starts and can't find a good seat!

    I agree that some people do claim a spot before the sun comes up but you never see them using it until well past the lunch hour and this should change. But I think removing people's belongings will cause more problems than it will solve.
     
  4. Klaw

    Klaw Guest

    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    BBG enacted a new rule a few months ago that if security spotted a lounge chair with stuff on it that is unoccupied for more than 1 hour they take the things on the chair to the front desk so that the chair can be used by other guests.

    Unfortunately, security is not eomplyed by BBG and they rotate security so much that not all of security knows about or thinks to enforce the rule.

    Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't but personally I don't have a problem with the rule. No one loses their stuff as you just have to go to the front desk to get it and a chair isn't taken up by someone who is elsewhere.

    I'm sure there are other resorts with similiar rules and just as sure that thy have the same problem seeing that the rule is enforced.
     
  5. Naoautorizada

    Naoautorizada Addict Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Trafalgar
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Very seldom are punitive measures the most effective way to drive positive behavior. Anyone with experience as a manager knows that it's far more effective to make doing 'the right thing' the easiest thing to do, rather than the hardest. (That should already be made clear by the discussion on the lack of enforcement, the various means whereby the 'rules' are already being defeated, and the fact that this is even still a topic here.)

    There are a lot of intelligent folks here - I'm sure that with a little thought, most could come up can come up with one or more ways to make doing the 'right thing' easier and make doing the wrong thing more difficult than doing what is best for all.

    Food for thought? - and perhaps a suggestion for your favorite hotel manager when you return there.
     
  6. lambert13

    lambert13 Guest

    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I have always hated the towel on the chair game. The people who leave their towel on a chair and leave for an hour or so to eat are not the problem. Its the people that put a towel on a chair at 6AM and dont show up to use the chair until mid morning or later.

    In general I find places to sit where there are not many people anyway, so I dont have as much of a problem with it. It amazes me how at most resorts, the pool area is packed with people, but the amazing beaches are sparsely populated. I would much rather be down by the ocean anyway.
     
  7. Jamie

    Jamie Mayor of Temptation Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    6,437
    Likes Received:
    675
    Location:
    Daytona Beach Shores, FL
    Ratings:
    +969 / 3
    And the "right way" is? Cause I think that's the problem.. no one really knows what the "right" thing to do to end the problem. I don't think that by hoping and praying we are ging to change human nature which is to go mark the spot they want. And if that spot isn't available at 10 AM when they show up, they'll go out at 9, mark it and come back at 10. And so it goes till you get to the point where people are coming in from the clubs at 4 AM and marking their chairs for the next day and then going to bed. Then they are surprised to find their stuff gone when they come back out at 10. Security sweep has collected it all. :D

    Jamie
     
  8. 212eric

    212eric Guest

    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Naoautorizada, I agree with you in some way however, not to state the obvious but obviously if people were considerate of others in the first place, the hotels would not have had to take this type of approach.

    212eric
     
  9. CancunCanuck

    CancunCanuck Guest

    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I don't get to spend a lot of time in hotels, but when I do I am always worried about someone moving my stuff when I am in the pool or the ocean. I don't spend all day with my butt parked in the chair, but I certainly am entitled to have one and a place for my stuff. How does one determine which seats are being saved by people still in bed as opposed to those of us enjoying the water?
     
  10. Naoautorizada

    Naoautorizada Addict Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Trafalgar
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Hoping and praying wasn't exactly what I had in mind, Jamie - thanks!

    Agree with me that there are, in fact, many good ways (vs bad ways) to solve every problem.
    Let's examine just one possible solution for this problem:

    Let's add a number of small self-keyed storage lockers (like at the airport) and two dedicated attendants to the pool area.

    The hotel commits to having (or being able to obtain in short order) enough of chairs on hand to fill every square foot of space near the pool if need be.

    Chairs are NOT set out empty, and they are not given to guests - rather attendants would be available to place a chair in whatever open space a guest would ask that a chair to be placed for their use and would point out the English language posting (sign) as part of the chair-setting process which says:

    - The self-keyed lockers are for use by guests to store towels and such by the beach or pool
    - Unattended chairs are immediately reclaimed to the stack for re-use
    - There is no limit to the times one can ask for a chair to be set up for immediate use, even if only needed for a few moments (Policy should be that all standing guests should be asked and encouraged to accept a seat to be set out for them, just as they're routinely asked today if they'd like a cocktail or something from the restaraunt.)

    With all uninhabited chairs being immediately returned to the stack by our dedicated attendants,

    - Doing the wrong thing (reserving space) will have become hard (if not impossible) to do
    - The average number of available spaces by the pool at any given time will increase significantly, so getting an acceptable place to sit by the pool without creating problems for others will now have become become much easier to do
    - Utilization of poolside space by people rather than empty chairs would greatly increase, making for a very nice return on investment for the lockers.

    Although the attendant could remind (whenever setting up a chair) that all unattended items found on or nearby the pool will be moved to a central location for pickup, once people know that they can use the lockers, the need for that reminder will probably diminish.

    Pool attendants would stop taking bribes to hold a few chairs and spaces in favor of the far larger number of tips they would get from setting and re-setting chairs all day. (As a matter of fact, if ti were to turn out that major part of the the remuneration for pool attendants were to come from tips, they'd become even more highly motivated to offer and reclaim chairs promptly.)

    I believe that even with this simple solution, many (if not most) of the problems I've seen posted here (for both management and customers) would be well on their way to being resolved.

    This alternative comes off the top of my head, of course - and although I'm sure it's not perfect, I'd urge you to think about (and propose) what more might be done to further refine rather than to simply find fault.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice