17 Hotel Workers Disclosed The Things That Go On Behind The Scenes That Guests Might Not Know

Sometimes, it feels to me like Quora is where all of the drama is. Like this question asking, "What are some things hotel staff won't tell you?" that's full of valets, front desk workers, and cleaning staff who weren't afraid to spill the beans. Here are some of the most interesting secrets.

Eugene Levy ringing a bell at the front desk of a hotel

1."I was an innkeeper at a 24-room historic inn in Vermont for several years. One of our hard and fast rules was that we never called a guest if they left an item in their room, and it was found after they checked out. We documented and held items (usually phone chargers, clothing, sunglasses...occasionally a camera or jewelry). Still, unless the guest called US to look for their item, it stayed on the list and was found. The reason was that we knew nothing about the private lives of the people who stayed with us and we never knew when Mrs. Smith was going to answer the phone and tell us that Mr. Smith wasn't at a quaint Vermont inn last weekend, he was at a dentist convention in Toledo. Whoops. That lesson was learned the hard way. And only once."

— Tammy Geist Long

A cozy front porch with wicker chairs, flower boxes, and blooming plants. A welcoming space at the entrance of a yellow house
Jon Lovette / Getty Images

2."I wish people would realize that hotel staff can do a lot for you– i.e., free stuff, upgrades, generally making your stay easier and more pleasant– when people are nice to us. There are plenty of things we aren't required to do but can do if we're motivated to do so. Being nice to us is the easiest way to get free stuff!"

— Stacy McClouse

3."Because I worked for an establishment frequented by very high-ranking celebrities and public officials, it was common to see these individuals daily. They used aliases to keep from being bothered, but they didn't try to hide. Many of the individuals I dealt with were extremely personable and very cordial. There were exceptions, but for the most part, I have good memories of my interactions with them."

— Marco Scolari

Woman in an elegant black and white outfit adorned with pearls, exits a white limousine as a gentleman in a beige suit holds the door open for her
Ivan Rodriguez Alba / Getty Images

4."Sometimes sheets are not changed daily. This is true not only for unused beds but also in general. Shady and cheap hotel/motel managers and owners encourage staff to check if the sheets look clean. If they do, they tell housekeepers to tighten it up from the corners."

— Péter Tamas

5."I used to work as a part-time duty manager at a busy hotel, mostly nights during my university years. The one thing that never stopped surprising me is the number of drunk people (male and female) walking out of their bedrooms thinking that they opened their toilet doors (instead, they opened the main door) and locked themselves out in the corridor, mostly topless, some times naked and had to walk to reception to get a key to get back in."

— Suhail Mohammad

6."Third-party booking: Not only are you the first guests we'll turn away if we overbook, but you're often paying more than you would if you had booked directly. I've seen several customers bring in printed confirmations with the amount they paid. Sometimes, the cost was higher than our BAR/RACK rate. In addition, I've seen these companies charge for all sorts of fees (pet fees, TV fees, etc.) that the hotel never sees a penny of. Sometimes guests are even charged for services we don't offer or that are complementary."

— Anonymous

Three men wearing casual clothes talk in a room while another bearded man in a gray t-shirt stands with his arms spread apart. Text: "FX on hulu."

7."We can check out what you watched on Pay-TV, when, and for how long. We don't bother with it because we aren't interested in what you do. This is only for those who claim they never watched Pay-TV for not wanting to pay for it."

— Maria Lara

8."Dresser drawers are not on the maid's cleaning list, so if a traveler throws dirty underwear in a drawer all week, you will contaminate your clothing by using any drawers without cleaning/disinfecting them first. I carry purse-sized Lysol on car trips or break out bleach wipes from a zip bag after air travel."

— Peri Collins

9."There was an incident where I had just started my housekeeping rotation. I was partnered with an experienced staff member...This staff member dropped a guest's toothbrush on the bathroom floor. He then picked it up and placed it back into the bathroom glass. The guest would have brushed his teeth that evening with an absolutely filthy toothbrush. I don't bother bringing my own toothbrush when I travel. I just request one from the hotel. And I request a new one every evening after housekeeping has cleaned the room. That way, I know I use a clean toothbrush every time."

— Anonymous

A single toothbrush stands upright in a clear glass with a blurry background
Alex Kwong / Getty Images

10."For many of the hotels I book for my clients, I have been told by resort managers that they assign the lesser quality rooms (the ones with the worst view, the worst location) to guests who book with online search engines (like Travelocity and Orbitz) while saving the best rooms for clients who book with travel agents. The reason is that hotel managers consider online search engine guests to be ones that will book any resort as long as it is cheap while guests of travel agents are more loyal travelers that will come back time and again to the agent and the resort."

— Katherine Schutte

11."I worked at a small B&B for a little over a year in a touristy town. There were only about seven rooms (including a detached 'cottage'). Basically, the owners did absolutely anything they could to save a buck here and there. For example, the shampoo, conditioner, and soap dispensers in the showers were filled with the lowest quality brands. The shampoo and body wash were filled with the same stuff but different scents. Same with the hand wash on the sink."

— Hannah Montgomery

12."According to people in the hotel chain (who opened up on Quora), if someone pees in bed, that's the only time sheets are washed, and the mattress is just dried out and put back in place!"

— Isha Singhania

A fabric surface displaying a large, irregular stain and visible wear. The material has a patterned texture. No people or text are present in the image
Bbostjan / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13."Most hotel maids can be tipped. If you tip us, we care a lot more how clean your room actually is, and we look the other way if you need more towels or soaps than are strictly necessary."

— Cherie Wilkerson

14."When hotel chefs reveal the places they eat, usually their hangouts will be run-down joints with a lot of character and, of course, fantastic food."

— Pradeep Banavara

A man in a chef's apron chops onions in a kitchen while talking to another person
Fg Trade / Getty Images

15."I worked as a maid during my first years in Uni during the summer. They were 4/5 star hotels in London, around 200 pounds per night. What some maids and managers did to save time was awful...different color sponges were used for different cleaning purposes and landed in one big box at the end of the day to dry without sterilizing them."

— Natalia Balska

16."The best deals are not always online. You might think booking a hotel room online is the easiest and cheapest way to go, but that's not always true. Sometimes, you can get a better deal by calling the hotel directly and asking for a discount or a special offer. This is because some hotels have lower rates for walk-ins or loyal customers, or they have some rooms that are not listed online. And sometimes, you can negotiate a lower price or a free upgrade if you're flexible with your dates or have a good reason."

— Jerry Tan

17.Finally, "If you are sensitive to noise, avoid the rooms near the elevator. I have had sleepless nights in four and five-star hotels because the room was near the elevator."

— Alex Hartmann

A family with a young child and parents holding boxes exits an apartment elevator, seemingly in the middle of moving
Natalia Lebedinskaia / Getty Images

Do you work in the hospitality industry and want to air dirty laundry? Tell us in the comments below or completely anonymously in this Google form.