You may think that your hotel experience is simply a roll of the dice, but your attitude can determine the success of your vacation stay. The best way to receive the worst service at any hotel is by not recognizing the front desk clerk as a fellow human being. Inappropriate demands, harsh language, anger, snubbing noses or blaming them for mishaps which weren’t their fault but they are desperately trying to fix, won’t put points on any arriving guests scoreboard. Guests displaying obnoxious behavior will probably get a room next to the elevator shaft or the housekeeping closet. The rooms the desk clerks save for those special people.
Besides flashing a million-dollar smile and being nice, there are other ways of slanting the odds in favor of having a wonderful stay. Ways even well-seasoned travelers may not be aware of. Especially if a traveler is forced to adhere to a somewhat scrawny budget, finding the best room for the best price and taking full advantage of every included amenity might be the only way they can afford the trip they want to take.
By knowing some ways to make certain your stay, wherever it may be, is everything you hope it will be and perhaps even a little more, these suggestions will help. After all, who doesn’t want to get the biggest bang for their buck and a decent room to boot?
Don’t Arrive Early
The biggest complaint made by desk clerks is guests arriving early and demanding they immediately be placed in a room. There is a valid reason why hotels establish a check-in and check-out time. Housekeeping has a job to do and if you don’t allow them the time to do it properly you might end up complaining about the state of the room when you swing the door open.
A front desk clerk at a Residence Inn had this to say; “Yes, we know you’re a platinum member who travels 350-million miles a year, but we can’t go around waking up guests to get you a room”. If a hotel room is available for an early arriving guest there is never a problem. The hotel wants their guests to be happy. But if there was full occupancy the previous night, expect to wait and don’t complain. Instead, tell them you understand and go play with your iPhone.
If you know you will be arriving early and it can’t be helped, let the hotel know in advance. This way they will prioritize a room and hop right on cleaning it up should any of their guests check out early. Once again. Their goal is to make their guests happy.
It Never Hurts to Ask
If you’ll be carefully counting your vacation dollars but still want to get the most for your money, and perhaps a little extra, ask for a free room upgrade. Also, when booking a reservation, very politely ask if what is being offered is the best rate available. Since you can catch more flies with honey, you may end up saving a few bucks by simply inquiring. In many cases, there are unadvertised perks and discounts only the hotel staff knows about and they won’t reveal their little secrets unless asked.
If your reason for being in a hotel is to celebrate a special occasion such as a wedding anniversary, let the hotel staff know in advance. By making arrangements you might be able to have some chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne waiting upon arrival. Hotels will go out of their way to help guests celebrate whatever it is they’re rejoicing about, but they are not mindreaders or psychics. Asking for special things like this upon arrival is generally too late. Chances are it won’t happen.
If the goal is to snag the cheapest but best room possible by comparing various online hotel booking services, be careful. You get what you pay for. People often wonder why they see the same room at the same hotel for different prices. Instinctively, most of us will choose the lesser price, but this is not always advisable. Though the room may appear to be the same, it probably isn’t. The cheaper room might be facing a parking or have some other undesirable feature. Once you check in you’re stuck with it unless the more expensive room you should have booked is available. Of course, you’ll end up spending the money you were initially trying to save in the first place, and probably more.
If and when in doubt, call the hotel directly. Speaking with a human will often get you what wanted at the price you were hoping to pay. You cannot negotiate with a website.
If someone pops open their luggage only to not find their toothbrush, rather than attempt brushing with their index finger they simply go to the front desk and ask for one. It’s widely known they keep toothbrushes on hand for those just in case moments. Easy enough. What most people don’t realize is that a majority of hotels keep more than toothbrushes behind the front counter but the clerk is not going to run down a list of what’s there, meaning you have to ask.
There is a virtual treasure chest of items most hotel guests are unaware of. When asked what was in stock, a concierge at a hotel in Beverly Hills revealed they have safety pins, umbrellas, tampons, phone chargers, adapters, nail files, hair ties, lint rollers, razors, and for those guest with sensitive hearing, earplugs. Rather than ruin an evening by running all over an unfamiliar town in search of something you forgot, ask the front desk clerk. You may save yourself from ruining the good time you planned on having.
If the pillow in your room just won’t cut it because it’s either too hard or too soft, once again, go to the front desk. You may be surprised to know that many hotels have a pillow menu, but just like what’s behind the counter, they don’t advertise it. Chances are the perfect pillow is probably hiding in the hotel’s linen closet. For those traveling with children who may become bored, there is a really good chance there’s an Xbox or a PlayStation tucked away somewhere. Prefer a pod-style coffee maker? Ask. How about a hair straightener? A concierge who spent five years behind the desk of a popular chain hotel said they always had it available. You never know unless you ask so don’t be shy.
Common sense is the rule of thumb. Treat people the way you like to be treated, if you need something ask, and make certain of the room you’re booking before you push the reserve button.