Overview: Hotel shops aren’t for everyone. Some have a basic set or requirements while others can require multiple interactions with different employees and narratives that can rival novellas. Payment can range from reimbursement only to reimbursement plus a fee. The shops that are connected with national chains do have the added advantage of allowing you to obtain reward points, assuming you are a member of the chain’s rewards program. Most hotel shops, however, do go fairly fast. They can be a case of you snooze you lose.
Project variations: Generally you will be staying for one night. The “extended stay” hotels generally require you to make a reservation for a minimal time and then you will cancel the extra nights upon check-in, or when specified by the shop guidelines.
Visit and reporting requirements: The basic scenario is the same. You’ll have to report on the check-in, room conditions, and check-out. From there, it can expand depending on the specific shop requirements. You may need to report on the breakfast buffet, the availability of a TTD device for the hearing impaired, needing a TV remote replaced, or perhaps a problem needing to be fixed in the bathroom.
Strategies: Above all else, follow the guidelines for your specific shop. It can be difficult and seem awkward in trying to fulfill all the requirements, but just treat it as what happens. I was at a Hampton Inn near Jacksonville, Florida where the toilet didn’t work and the remote control was missing. Too bad this wasn’t a shop, although it happened on a route of shops.
Special note: There are some MSCs that don’t advertise their hotel shops on their job boards. You need to prove yourself to them with other shops, and then you’ll begin to receive notifications of the hotel shops.
What others have to say: Posts on www.mysteryshopforum.com have various opinions of hotel shops. Some posters love them while others hate them. One key point is a basic disagreement among shoppers, which is also prevalent when it comes to dining shops—is a reimbursement only shop worth it? That’s a judgment the shopper has to make for themselves. I look at the overall picture. In January I had the opportunity to do a reimbursement only shop at a rather nice four star hotel. I took it because I had other shops in the area, so it saved me from having to get up two hours early to drive to do the shops. And I didn’t find the report to be that bad. On the other hand, I had a three star hotel here in town that paid a fee in addition to reimbursement. The report was overly detailed and I wouldn’t care to do another for double the fee.
Estimated pay: As stated, shops can range from reimbursement only to reimbursement plus a fee. I’ve seen some fees as high as $25.