Even by phone, the woman radiated confidence. She’d completed over 500 mystery shops in luxury hotels on four continents, and her voice came through the wires sternly, as if she’d been in upper management a day too long. She works as an independent contractor (paid by the job). What she looks for at each hotel varies from client to client—some brands maintain a checklist of ten things to look for upon arrival, others more than 80. “I pack a measuring tape, because a few hotels want me to get down to the nitty-gritty,” she says. “Is the radius of light emitted from the lamp exact? Is the paint on the walls in a particular palette?” Occasionally, she’ll check in as the most obnoxious breed of hotel guest: the road-weary whiner. “I’ll call the front desk and say the room smells like smoke even when it doesn’t, just to see how they’ll respond,” she says. Fake-outs are staged and executed thoroughly; she’ll go as far as empty the batteries from the remote and grumble about the fritzy T.V., or unhook the chain from the toilet to time how long it takes the staff to fix it. It’s an exacting art. After she checks out, her report is written up, fact-checked by Coyle, and delivered back to the client in a matter of weeks. “My goal, honestly, is to get hotels to provide the highest possible level of service,” she says. “When I return to these properties personally—and I do, if they’re great—I get such satisfaction seeing that.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s