1. The 1-800 reservations number will probably send you to a central office with set rates. If you call the hotel directly instead, you can negotiate.
2. Hotels can pay a commission of up to 30 percent to online booking sites. So offer me 20 percent less than the online price, and we both come out ahead.
3. Independently owned hotels are far more likely to give you a discount. Some chains balk at dropping the rate.
4. If you show up at 11 a.m. and check-in time is 2 p.m., please donât be upset if your room isnât ready. I canât make the housekeepers go any faster. And you donât want them to rush.
5. Donât ask me for an upgrade when other guests are within earshot. Want a more spacious room without paying more? Request a corner room or a handicapped one.
6. Some concierges get kickbacks for sending you to pricey tourist traps. If you want an unbiased recommendation, ask me.
7. Sometimes my boss makes me lie, like when the elevatorâs not working and I tell you someone is coming to fix it soon. I know it wonât be fixed until Monday, because the manager doesnât want to pay the repairmanâs weekend rate.
8. Donât call between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. with a special request. Chances are Iâll have a long line of guests waiting to check out or in and will just want to get you off the phone.
9. My official job description: errand runner, toilet plunger, bow-tie tier, towel deliverer, and chef (that free continental breakfast doesnât appear from above). Iâve also sprinkled rooms with rose petals and dealt with dead bodies. All for about $10 an hour.
10. We love it when you steal the soap, shampoo, and lotion. Thatâs why we put our logo on them. But pillows, bedspreads, and irons? Weâre billing your credit card.
11. Keep it down. Even the best hotels arenât totally soundproof, and Iâm the one who has to send the security guard up to knock on your door when someone complains.
12. Itâs a lot easier for me to remove Wi-Fi charges from your bill at checkout than to agree to waive them in advance.
13. No, we donât have an hourly rate. You donât want to be at a hotel like that anyway.
14. Most of us are happy to help.
If you ask us to, weâll tell callers youâre not registered at the hotel, or tell you where to park so you canât see your car from the interstate. But weâre also talking behind your back about what you might be hiding.
15. Always request clean linens when you check in. We wash the sheets every day, but blankets often only get washed once a week. And the bedspreads? If thereâs no visible stain, itâs maybe once a month.
16. In this economy, everything is negotiable.
If your hotel offers a hot breakfast buffet as well as a free continental breakfast, ask if you can get the hot breakfast with your room. Very rarely will we tell you no.
17. If you travel frequently, use the same hotel each time.
Get to know the staff. Regulars are recognized and treated as VIPs. You could get free upgrades, discounts, and more.
18. Never use the long distance.
Unless you want to pay $10 for a 5-minute call, itâs best to specifically ask for it to be turned off. Weâve had situations in which housekeepers have made calls from a guestâs phone.
19. If you request a king bed, thereâs no guarantee.
No matter how confident the reservations agent sounds, call the hotel directly and make the request again a few days before you travel. Then do it again on the day of. If we still donât have one when you get there and youâre nice about it, we may comp your breakfast or upgrade you to a suite.
20. Donât act like you own the place.
Our policy is to automatically upgrade people if weâve got the space â but Iâm not going to do it if youâre snarky.
21. It seems to have gone out of fashion to tip your housekeeper.
Most are paid minimum wage with the expectation of tips. Take care of them and theyâll take care of you.
Sources: current and former desk clerks at hotels in Mississippi, Kansas, Colorado, Maryland, Vermont, and Washington