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21 Secrets Hotels Won’t Tell You

Everything is negotiable.

Electronic card smart lock on wooden door at the hotel for powerstoatphoto/Shutterstock

Hotel secrets

Hotel receptionists spill their best secrets—from how to score a discounted room to how to get that Wi-Fi charge waived from your bill! Before you book your trip, make sure you know these 10 red flags you're about to stay in a bad hotel.


Don't try to bargain with the reservations number we give you

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. If you book with us, make sure to do it on the cheapest day of the week.


We don't get everything from online booking sites

Hotels can pay a commission of up to 30 percent to online hotel booking sites. So offer me 20 percent less than the online price, and we both come out ahead. These are the 11 secrets travel booking companies don't want you to know.

iStock/Massimo Merlini

Don't expect a discount if we are not independently owned

Independently owned hotels are far more likely to give you a discount. Some chains balk at dropping the rate. Learn the booking secret that guarantees the best room rate possible.

iStock/Steve Debenport

Give the housekeepers time

If you show up at 11 a.m. and check-in time is 2 p.m., please don’t be upset if your room isn’t ready. I can’t make the housekeepers go any faster. And you don’t want them to rush. Want to book cheap flights? Change your browsing mode. 


Ask in private for a room upgrade

Don’t ask me for an upgrade when other guests are within earshot. Want a more spacious room without paying more? Request a corner room. Try these other secrets for scoring a free room upgrade.


Ask the front desk about excursions

Some concierges get kickbacks for sending you to pricey tourist traps. If you want an unbiased recommendation, ask me.


We all lie

Sometimes my boss makes me lie, like when the elevator’s not working and I tell you someone is coming to fix it soon. I know it won’t be fixed until Monday, because the manager doesn’t want to pay the repairman’s weekend rate. Another lie: these sneaky ways hotel promo photos try to trick you.

iStock/Jodi Jacobson

Don't call during check-in time

Don’t call between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. with a special request. Chances are I’ll have a long line of guests waiting to check out or in and will just want to get you off the phone. Looking for a unique experience? Make sure to book a stay at one of these unique hotels.


Being a maid means a lot of different things at a hotel

My official job description: errand runner, toilet plunger, bow-tie tier, towel deliverer, and chef (that free continental breakfast doesn’t appear from above). I’ve also sprinkled rooms with rose petals and dealt with dead bodies. All for about $10 an hour.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest