13 Travel Secrets Only Hotel Managers Know
Don’t travel before reading these tips—unless you want to skip the upgrade and pay more for your room.
There are all kinds of suggestions for finding the best hotel deals and getting upgrades, but we wanted to know the insider secrets so we went straight to the source: Hotel managers. Find out the 13 incredible hotel amenities that will make you want to book a room ASAP.
Just show up
Hotels pay a significant commission to booking agents, so if you simply walk in without a reservation (and the hotel has rooms available), you may be able to negotiate a better price, says Flavio Serreti, manager at Soprano Villas in Italy. “Even if we undercut our website’s listed prices a little, we would still make more revenue than if we had to pay commission,” Serreti says. Booking your stay through a hotel website is one of many common travel tips you can safely ignore.
Simply being nice and cordial to the front desk agents—since these are typically the people who assign the rooms—will give you a better chance at an upgrade, says Michael Nenner, area general manager for Gurney’s Resorts with properties in New York and Rhode Island. Tipping the housekeeping staff won’t hurt, either.
Most hotels are more connected real-time to their guests through social media services like Twitter and Instagram, and review sites like Yelp, says Patrick Cook, regional director of sales and marketing at Swissotel Chicago. Chances are good that they will quickly respond to any comments posted from the moment you arrive. “Hotels want nothing more than to surprise and delight you during your stay, so if you are celebrating a special occasion, let the front desk know; if you had a great meal in the restaurant, spread the word,” Cook says. “It’s very possible the hotel will show its gratitude with a special treat in your room.” Need to complain via social media? Here’s how to do it… nicely.
Don’t ask about the best restaurants
Have a nice day Photo/Shutterstock
Instead, ask, “‘Is there a local food or drink specialty that I should experience while I’m here?’” says Ric Tanner general manager at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City. That way, you’ll be directed to the spots that you really must try. These are the travel secrets only flight attendants know.
Request a late check-out early
The chances of receiving your late check-out will improve if you request it early in the day rather than at the last minute, Tanner says. Since they can only let a few rooms have late check-outs, it’s typically first-come, first served. While you’re at it, make sure you avoid these 9 travel mistakes for the best vacation ever.
Bring binder clips
Black-out drapes sometimes gap in the middle, Tanner says. If you like a dark room, travel with a few binder clips to keep them snug. “A skirt hanger from the closet will also work in a pinch,” he says. This is how you can score a bigger hotel room for free.
When Michael Wilson, Hotel Zachary’s director of sales and marketing in Chicago, dines at the hotel restaurant, he always takes a 6-pack of local beer or a bottle of bourbon for the kitchen staff to enjoy later. “I give it to our server as he or she takes our first drink order,” Wilson says. “The response from the server and staff is always very appreciative, and they usually send extra bites, apps, shooters—and the chef will usually pop out and say ‘hello’ as well.” Try it with the front desk staff and you may get a free hotel room upgrade.
Book well in advance—or at the last minute
There are often deals to be found when planning well in advance or waiting until the day before to make your reservation, says Megan Walters, manager of Selvista Guesthouses on Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua. “Hotels want to fill spaces and get heads in beds,” she says. If you’re planning in advance, you’ll want to know the best day to book.
Check social media
Follow your hotel’s social media pages, as that’s where deals, promotions, and sales are often posted, says James Adamson, general manager of Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia. For example, Kimpton has a “social password” which can be used at check-in for a surprise like free parking or a bottle of wine. The catch: the only way to find it is on Facebook and Instagram. Plus, when people book through the link in the bio of Kimpton’s Instagram page, they’re automatically upgraded to the next room type based on availability. While you celebrate those savings, find out how to actually make money on vacation.