Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

1034 Making Changes to a Hotel Reservation

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,034 – Making Changes to a Hotel Reservation.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,034. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at ESLPod.com. Become a member of ESL Podcast and download a Learning Guide for this episode. The Learning Guide gives you a complete transcript of everything we say on the podcast.

This episode is a dialogue between Sally and a person who works for a hotel, and it’s about making a hotel reservation. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Reservation agent: Hello, Milton Hotel reservations. How may I assist you?

Sally: Hi, I’m calling to make some changes to an existing reservation.

Reservation agent: Certainly. Do you have the reservation number?

Sally: Sure, it’s 234678.

Reservation agent: That’s a reservation for Sally Menkel. Is that right?

Sally: Yes, that’s right. I’d like to change the check-in date from September 15th to September 16th.

Reservation agent: Certainly. I can make that change for you. Is that the only change?

Sally: No, the check-out date will also change, from the 23rd to the 24th.

Reservation agent: No problem. We have you arriving on the 16th of September and departing the 24th of September. Will there be anything else?

Sally: Yes, there will be two people in my party, not just one.

Reservation agent: I’ve made that change. Anything else I can help you with?

Sally: Yes, instead of a courtyard room, I’d like a room with a view, preferably on an upper floor.

Reservation agent: I can certainly change that for you, although there will be a change in the room rate. The new rate is $189 per night.

Sally: On second thought, I’d prefer a suite that overlooks the pool. Is that possible?

Reservation agent: Certainly. The new rate is $249 per night.

Sally: Oh, that’s really expensive. I think I’d better to stick to my original room.

Reservation agent: All right. I’ve changed your reservation back to a courtyard room. Anything else?

Sally: Maybe I should shorten my stay. If I do that, I could afford a suite. Yes, let’s change the dates and the rooms again.

Reservation agent: Let me make a suggestion. Let’s cancel this reservation and make a whole new one. That way, we can make sure everything is correct.

Sally: Oh, that’s not too much trouble for you, is it? I’d hate to be a bother.

Reservation agent: No, no trouble at all.

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with the “reservation agent” – the employee at the hotel who is in charge of taking reservations – answering the phone by saying, “Hello, Milton Hotel reservations. How may I assist you?” “Reservations” refer to calling up a hotel, or perhaps a restaurant, and telling the business that you want to reserve – you want for them to save for you – a room if it’s a hotel, or a table for dinner if it’s a restaurant.

“Reservations,” plural, is sometimes also used to describe the department or the office that is in charge of taking reservations, especially for a hotel or perhaps a rental car company. The reservation agent or employee says, “How may I assist you?” “To assist” means the same as “to help.” Sally says, “Hi, I’m calling to make some changes to an existing reservation.” Sally already has a reservation; that’s why she refers to it as an “existing (existing) reservation” – one that is already in place.

The agent says, “Certainly. Do you have the reservation number?” Many businesses that take reservations give people a number that is used to help the business find that specific reservation in the future – in their computer system, for example. Sally says, “Sure, it’s 234678.” The reservation agent says, after looking it up on his computer, “That’s a reservation for Sally Menkel. Is that right?” Is that correct?

Sally says, “Yes, that’s right. I’d like to change the check-in date from September 15th to September 16th.” The “check-in date” is the date when you arrive at the hotel. It’s the first night that you are going to spend sleeping at the hotel. The opposite of a “check-in” would be a “check-out.” The “check-out date” is the date that you are leaving the hotel.
Sally is changing her check-in date.

The reservation agent says, “Certainly, I can make that change for you. Is that the only change?” Sally says, “No. The checkout date will also change, from the 23rd to the 24th – September 24th, of course, being perhaps the most important day of the year. The reservation agent then says, “No problem,” which is an informal but very common way of saying “of course” or “yes,” especially when someone asks you to do something or thanks you for doing something. Often people will say, “Hey, thanks for that.” The other person will say, “No problem – it was nothing.”

The reservation agent asks if there are any other changes. Sally says, “Yes, there will be two people in my party,” noted one. The word “party” (party) here doesn’t mean a celebration like a birthday party. It refers to a group of people, usually people who are using some service at the same time. When you go to a nice restaurant, they may ask you how many are in your party – that is, how many people are going to be sitting with you.

There was a TV show, actually – oh, I don’t know, back in the 1980s, 90s – called “Party of Five.” The “party” there refer to the number of people in the group. Now actually, I told this story before, but it’s been awhile, so I’ll tell it again.

The star of that television show “Party of Five” was a woman by the name of Neve Campbell. So, one day I’m in a Starbucks waiting to order my coffee near one of the big movie studios here in Los Angeles, and there’s a woman in front of me who I don’t recognize because I don’t watch very much television, but a little girl comes up to the woman and asked the woman for her autograph, for her signature. This is something you often do with famous people. You ask them for their autograph so you can keep it and say, “See, I met this famous person.”

So anyway, the little girl didn’t have a pen, and Neve Campbell (I later learned that was her name) said to the girl, “Oh, I don’t have a pen, sorry.” I, of course, being a nice guy, took a pen out of my pocket and gave it to Neve, and Neve signed her autograph – I don’t know, it was probably on a small piece of paper – for the young girl. I only learned later who she really was.

Now here’s the problem. She kept my pen. Imagine! She makes all of this money as a big Hollywood star and she steals my pen! So, Neve Campbell, if you are listening to this, bring back my pen.

Okay, back to the dialogue. Sally tells the reservation agent that there will be two people in her party. The reservation agent then says, “I’ve made the change. Anything else I can help you with?” Sally says, “Yes, instead of a courtyard room, I’d like a room with a view, preferably on an upper floor.”

A “courtyard” (courtyard) – one word – is an open area that is surrounded by the walls of the building. Often in a courtyard you’ll have plants or trees and places for people to sit. This design for buildings is not that common in the United States. It’s much more common in other countries, particularly in Europe, but there are buildings that have courtyards, and that’s what this hotel has.

It has a courtyard, and Sally wants something that is not a courtyard room. Instead, she wants “a room with a view.” A “view” (view) here means something pretty or interesting to look at. If you go to a hotel in Paris and you can see the Eiffel tower from your room, that would definitely be a room with a good view – or at least, a view of the Eiffel tower, if that’s what you really want to see.

So, Sally is asking for a room with a view. Of course, not all hotels have very interesting views. The views are only as interesting as the place where the hotel is located, but Sally wants “a room with a view, preferably on an upper floor.” “Preferably” means that would be her first choice. An “upper floor” would be one of the higher levels, or higher floors, of the hotel – not on the first floor which, remember, in the United States is the same as the “ground floor,” the first floor that you come into as you walk into the hotel.

Sally doesn’t want a room down there. She wants a room up high, on an upper floor. The agent says, “I can certainly change that for you, although there will be a change in the room rate.” The “room rate” (rate) is the price of the room. We often use that word when we’re talking about the price of renting something for a certain amount of time. If you say, “I got a good rate on my rental car,” you mean you got a good price, a low price. The agent tells Sally that the new room rate will be a $189 dollars per night.

Sally then says, “On second thought, I’d prefer a suite that overlooks the pool. Is that possible?” “On second thought” is a common phrase used when you change your mind and you want to let the other person know that you’ve changed your mind. If you say to your wife, “I’d like to go to the movies. No, wait. On second thought, let’s go to the beach instead,” you’re changing your mind and then telling the other person that you changed your mind.

Sally says, “On second thought, I’d prefer a suite that overlooks the pool.” A “suite” (suite) is a group of connected rooms in a hotel, usually a very large room with a bedroom and perhaps a kitchen or even other rooms. Hotel suites are obviously more expensive than a single hotel room.

Sally wants a room “that overlooks the pool.” “To overlook” means to offer a view of something, usually above it. When you use this verb “to overlook,” you’re normally talking about someplace that is high up, high above the ground, above whatever it is that it overlooks. If you are overlooking the pool (meaning the swimming pool), your room is above the swimming pool in the building and you can see the swimming pool from your room, from your room’s window.

The reservation agent says, “Certainly. The new rate is $249 per night.” A “suite,” again, is more expensive. Sally says, “Oh, that’s really expensive. I think I’d better stick to my original room.” “To stick to” something means to decide not to change your plans – to go with your original idea, your original plan. The agent says, “All right, I’ve changed your reservation back to a courtyard room. Anything else?”

Sally says, “Maybe I should shorten my stay.” She’s suggesting that perhaps she won’t stay as many days as she had originally planned. She says, “If I do that I could afford a suite. Yes, let’s change the dates and the rooms again.” The agent says, “Let me make a suggestion. Let’s cancel this reservation and make a whole new one.” “To cancel” (cancel) means to decide that you’re not going to continue doing something, or that some event that was supposed to take place will not take place. The agent suggests canceling the reservation completely and starting a whole new one.

Sally says, “Oh, that’s not too much trouble for you, is it? I’d hate to be a bother” (bother). When you say that you “hate to be a bother,” you mean that you don’t want to cause difficulties for the other person. You don’t want to cause problems for the other person. “I don’t want to be a bother.”

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed

[start of dialogue]

Reservation agent: Hello, Milton Hotel reservations. How may I assist you?

Sally: Hi, I’m calling to make some changes to an existing reservation.

Reservation agent: Certainly. Do you have the reservation number?

Sally: Sure, it’s 234678.

Reservation agent: That’s a reservation for Sally Menkel. Is that right?

Sally: Yes, that’s right. I’d like to change the check-in date from September 15th to September 16th.

Reservation agent: Certainly. I can make that change for you. Is that the only change?

Sally: No, the check-out date will also change, from the 23rd to the 24th.

Reservation agent: No problem. We have you arriving on the 16th of September and departing the 24th of September. Will there be anything else?

Sally: Yes, there will be two people in my party, not just one.

Reservation agent: I’ve made that change. Anything else I can help you with?

Sally: Yes, instead of a courtyard room, I’d like a room with a view, preferably on an upper floor.

Reservation agent: I can certainly change that for you, although there will be a change in the room rate. The new rate is $189 per night.

Sally: On second thought, I’d prefer a suite that overlooks the pool. Is that possible?

Reservation agent: Certainly. The new rate is $249 per night.

Sally: Oh, that’s really expensive. I think I’d better to stick to my original room.

Reservation agent: All right. I’ve changed your reservation back to a courtyard room. Anything else?

Sally: Maybe I should shorten my stay. If I do that, I could afford a suite. Yes, let’s change the dates and the rooms again.

Reservation agent: Let me make a suggestion. Let’s cancel this reservation and make a whole new one. That way, we can make sure everything is correct.

Sally: Oh, that’s not too much trouble for you, is it? I’d hate to be a bother.

Reservation agent: No, no trouble at all.

[end of dialogue]

We’re not going to get a new scriptwriter here at ESL Podcast. We’re going to stick to the one we have – the wonderful Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
reservations – the department or group of employees in a hotel, rental car company or other business that is responsible for making arrangements for future visits or use of services by customers

* The reservations staff said they don’t have any rooms available until Tuesday.

existing – current; in existence now; already in place

* Do we have any information technology experts on our existing staff?

reservation number – a number or code assigned to a specific customer’s future visit or use of service so that it can be found quickly and easily in the computer system

* I’m sorry, but we can’t find a reservation under that name. Do you have your reservation number?

check-in – when one begins one’s stay at a hotel, arrives for an airplane flight, or indicate that one has arrived for another service

* Most of the conference participants have a Sunday-evening check-in so that they can get a good night’s rest before the sessions begin on Monday morning.

check-out – when one ends one’s stay at a hotel or officially leaves a place providing a service

* The hotel’s check-out time is 11:00 a.m. If you stay later, you might be charged for an additional night.

party – a group of people using some service or facility together and at the same time

* We weren’t expecting such a large party of dinner guests. Please wait at the bar until we can prepare a table for you.

courtyard – the open area that is surrounded by the walls of a building, usually with plants, benches, and seating areas

* The people who live in those apartments often have community barbeques and other parties in the courtyard.

room – the space occupied by a guest in a hotel, usually a connected bedroom and bathroom

* Each room can accommodate up to four adults.

view – with a window or balcony facing something that is pleasant to look at, especially an ocean, mountains, or a city

* Their apartment offers a great view of the Statue of Liberty.

upper floor – one of the top floors of a tall building

* My office is on the upper floor of the skyscraper, so I can see most of the city.

room rate – the cost of staying in a hotel room for one night; the per-night price of a hotel room

* Conference attendees can get a discounted room rate of just $165 per night.

on second thought – a phrase used when one has changed one’s mind and wants to let the other person know that a new idea or proposal is coming

* Those designs are nice, but on second thought, let’s see what it looks like if we change the font size and color.

suite – a group of connected rooms used by one hotel guest, usually a bedroom, a living area or sitting room, and a large bathroom

* Randall sometimes has to stay at a hotel for up to two weeks at a time, so he prefers to find a suite that feels more like a home than a hotel room.

to overlook – to offer a view of something from above

* Her office overlooks the port, so she can see ships moving up and down the river all day long.

pool – a swimming pool; a large hole in the ground filled with water for people to play and exercise in

* How often does the city change the water in the pool?

to stick to – to decide not to change one’s plans; to commit to one’s original plan or idea

* I didn’t realize it would be so expensive to change the flight! Let’s stick to our original plans.

to cancel – to change one’s plans so that one is no longer expected to have or do something in the future; to discontinue; to arrange for something to stop

* Why did you cancel your membership to the gym?

bother – someone or something that is annoying or irritating, creating problems or difficulties for others

* Are you sure it isn’t a bother for me to get a ride in your car to go to Boise?

Comprehension Questions
1. What is a courtyard room?
a) A room that is used by royalty.
b) A room that offers views of the streets around the hotel.
c) A room that offers views of the open area within the hotel complex.

2. What does Sally mean when she says, “I think I’d better to stick to my original room”?
a) She plans to spend most of her time inside the hotel room.
b) She wants to use her original reservation.
c) She wants to find the least expensive room.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
party

The word “party,” in this podcast, means a group of people using some service or facility together and at the same time: “For parties of more than six diners, we require a reservation.” A “party” is also a stakeholder, or someone who is involved in an agreement or contract: “Have all the parties signed the contract?” When talking about politics, a “party” is an organized group of people with similar opinions and values who support certain candidates: “Is she affiliated with the Republican Party or the Democratic Party?” Finally, the phrase “to be a party to (something)” means to participate or to be involved in something: “Were you a party to that decision?”

to stick to

In this podcast, the phrase “to stick to” means to decide not to change one’s plans, or to commit to one’s original plan or idea: “Are you going to stick to your current eye glasses, or do you want to try on some new frames?” The phrase “to make (something) stick” means to be able to remember something: “I’ve been studying for three hours but I can’t make these facts stick.” The phrase “to stick around” means to stay somewhere a little bit longer, especially to see if something happens: “Why don’t you stick around for a while after the party?” Finally, the phrase “to stick by (someone)” means to be loyal and to continue to support someone: “Thanks for sticking by me when I was having all those problems.”

Culture Note
The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Historic Hotels of America

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a “nonprofit” (not intended to earn money) organization based in Washington, DC that works to “preserve” (protect something from further damage and save it for the future) “historic buildings” (old buildings that have important historical or cultural characteristics) and neighborhoods. The organization “fundraises” (asks for people to donate money) and help take legal action to prevent historic buildings from being “torn down” (destroyed) to “make way for” (allow something else to happen) “new development” (new construction or building).

The organization “maintains” (has; keeps) a list of the 11 most “endangered” (at risk; in danger) historic places. These include the last example of housing for Chinese workers in Rancho Cucamonga, California; one- and two-room “schoolhouses” (buildings used for public schools) in Montana; and a “deteriorating” (falling apart) “cannery” (a building where food is stored in tin cans) in Alaska.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a program called “Historic Hotels of America,” which recognizes and celebrates 250 of the “finest” (best; nicest) historic hotels in the United Sates. The hotels have to be at least 50 years old and must agree to maintain certain historic characteristics of their “facilities” (buildings). The historic hotels are found throughout the United States, and members of the National Trust receive a “discount” (lower price) when they “book a room” (make a reservation in a hotel) at one of the historic hotels. Many of the hotels work with the National Trust to organize historic tours and other special events that celebrate the hotels’ “rich” (with a lot of interest, detail, and excitement) history.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b