Edited by SciFi Nut
I'm a Hospitality Evaluator. That's industry-speak for someone who goes around to competing hotels (and even sometimes our own) and secret shops them. Some would say this existence is rather detached, moving from one place to the next without any true place to call home and although I tend to agree, I enjoy the freedom of being on the road. I set my own hours and I'm basically am my own boss. Can't remember the last time I was told to go somewhere or do something that I hadn't set up in advance with my actual boss. She doesn't care; she's told me I'm the best she's got. I work for the Galaxy Family of hotels, no doubt you've stayed at one of them. From our no-frills motel brand, Good Nite Sleep, to our all-the-frills Emerald Galaxy, we are one of the largest hospitality chains in the world.
Late August is a great time to be in Montana. There's a slight chill in the air at night and the days really aren't that hot. I'd laugh when I'd see the weather in places like Phoenix (118 degrees yesterday) or L.A. (98, downtown). This portion of this Mountain West trip was evaluating properties that were standalones. These days most hotels are built like Walmart and Moran's or Walgreens and DWS: across the street from and next to each other. It's like 5 hotels get together and form a hotelhood. Standalones were usually on the outskirts of a town and away from other hotels. I was after one of three things: to find out what they were doing that put them on our radar, to see if there was an adjacent location that might be good for us to open a new property on or, in rare cases, to see if Galaxy would want to buy the property. In the case of the Bozeman Trails Resort, it wasn't part of a chain, but as I was able to determine from my research, successful. It was about 12 miles east of Bozeman sitting right on Interstate 90, with the only neighbor being a stable.
While I could have made the reservation from my iPhone, I decided to take in the sights at a Bozeman coffee house and use their wireless connection. I found a coffee house that was right off the Montana State campus. As I said, it was late August and I knew school was in session. I was expecting some co-ed scenery to enjoy while I enjoyed my coffee. I must have hit between classes or something, because there were many more young women than I expected. Each one was hotter than the next. I'm not a pig, just a man who likes to look at pretty ladies. I'm in my early 30s, so I'm not old, but to these girls, I was time itself. So I just looked. I'm sure a few of the girls caught me not-so-clandestinely staring at the curve of her underwire bra which rose with the strong, perky swell of her sweater or t-shirt covered chest. Or the way the denim of her jeans molded to her legs just under her ass. I got a few dirty looks, but two decent smiles. I was torturing myself, but it was relatively delicious torture. I wondered how a few of the girls actually got into their jeans. I thought sadly that I'd never find out.
I pulled into the Bozeman Trails Resort parking lot and noticed right away it wasn't the best of times or the worst of times for them. It was most definitely cared for with a nice manicured lawn, well-kept landscaping and a basketball court which had two baskets with nets. The parking lot looked as if it was freshly paved with bright space markers. It didn't look bad, but it seemed a little tired.
I parked and headed into the lobby. For this assignment I dressed as a casual tourist wearing a clean t-shirt and a Dockers shorts. I was a photographer and just passing through looking for things to shoot. The nice part about that cover was that it wasn't really a lie. I always brought my camera gear with me and shot as time allowed. Which it nearly always did. The reason for dressing a certain way was something I did more often at our own properties (versus others) so we could see if they'd treat someone dressed in a business suit the same as someone dressed as I was today, assuming the "customer" acted the same. About half the time, the more business-like I looked, the better my treatment was. Which is unacceptable. Every customer should be treated the same. I know for a fact my reports had gotten more than a few hotel managers talked to.
The lobby was not the nicest I'd seen, but someone clearly cared about it. "Tired" was the word that resurfaced. The registration desk was relatively busy for 5 p.m. on a Thursday; most folks were usually checked in by then or would much later in the evening. A very cute girl (yes, she was a girl) of maybe 17 or 18 was helping an older couple. I simply stood there patiently waiting and I overheard another man at the desk talking with someone on the phone while a customer, who looked rather frazzled, listened intently. Evidently that person had some debilitating car trouble and the desk guy was arranging for a local mechanic to help him out. Impressive.
"I can help you over here," said a voice from somewhat behind a bunch of flowers. I hadn't even noticed someone was there.
I stepped over and my breath caught in my throat. The woman was gorgeous. I hoped I'd concealed my surprise well enough. "Hi. Welcome to Bozeman Trails. I'm Jeannie," she smiled.
I steeled myself, as not to completely act like a moron and offer this woman anything she wanted. Yes, that's how beautiful she was. I mentally took a deep breath. "Hi Jeannie. I have a reservation. Donovan's the last name.
"Hi Mr. Donovan, again welcome."
Jeannie went to work looking up my reservation as I tried not to stare at her beautiful brown hair, neatly pulled back into an oh-so-grabbable ponytail. Her eyes were a bright blue and had been outlined expertly with dark eyeliner, making them appear more intense and larger than they actually were.
"I've got it right here, Mr. Donovan."
"Great. Call me Nick. It's nice to meet you."
She smiled back and it didn't quite seem like a front desk smile. "You already know I'm Jeannie," as she held out her hand to shake mine. I shook it and could have sworn I felt a jolt of something when our hands touched. I thought her eyes got wide for a fleeting moment, as if she felt it as well, but immediately convinced myself I was imagining it. I know a tent began to spring up in my pants and I glad I was standing close to the desk so she couldn't see below my waist.
"You're staying with us for one night?"
"And you wanted a king-sized bed in a room with a fridge ... let's see, on the first floor. Right?"
"You've got it."
"Where did you hear about us?"
"Excellent. Just give me a second and you'll be on your way."
Jeannie dove back into the computer screen and I couldn't help myself. She was wearing a tight, but not-too-tight gray v-neck t-shirt which clung very nicely to her breasts.
She looked up at me and I don't think I was caught. "Give me one second, ok?"
"Sure. Take your time, I'm in no rush."
She smiled, spun around and walked a few steps to look at something in a folder. She was wearing jeans, and just like her top, tight but not-too-tight. It was an ass that would put any of those coffee house girls to shame. I figured she was around my age, maybe older or younger by a year or two. I got an added treat when she walked back over to me. Her top had shifted and I saw her black bra peeking out of her top. Jeannie had a great rack. Probably a heavy C-cup or a nice solid D. I disappointedly noticed the large wedding ring on her left hand.
"Ok, I've got you in 108 which has that fridge you wanted," she smiled.
"Great. The wifi?"
"Just turn your machine on and it should be there. There's no code or anything like that. Here's your key and a coupon for 50% off your second entree in the restaurant."
"Thank you, but I won't need that coupon."
She looked at me for a moment and then realized, "Oh right, you're here by yourself, I'm sorry about that. Let me do this." She took a different pen from the desk and scribbled something on the coupon and stamped it with what looked like a shamrock stamp. "Here's 30% off your entree that you can use if you'd like to eat with us tonight."
I smiled back at her, "That's very kind. Thanks."
"My pleasure. So here's your key and your coupon. You can drive around to the back and park right in back of your room. Your room has a front door and a back door."
"Great. Thank you very much. Have a nice night."
Jeannie smiled, "You too."
I took my key and headed back to my car, but not before I turned around to steal one last glance at Jeannie. She was still looking at me. We shared a grin and I walked out.
As I got into my car, I took a deep breath. "Holy shit. She was absolutely gorgeous. I wish..."
I drove around to the back, found my room, parked and unloaded my stuff. My room was as clean as an operating room, yet the wallpaper, paint and linen looked as if they could stand to be updated. The hotel guest book was a third party job, done with hotel supervision. It told me Bozeman Trails had a pool, hot tub, stables (I didn't realize they were part of the resort), an exercise room, a basketball and volleyball court as well as a four-machine arcade. I made a quick change into a clean pair of shorts and t-shirt then went out to investigate the property.
.... There is more of this story ...