Many frequent travelers have become kind of “hotel junkies” and know a thing or two about how to get quality accommodation. Believe it or not the trick to going from a cheapskate room to a R3000 suite in a matter of minutes isn't being famous, having the right connections or evening tricking the manager into thinking it’s your honeymoon – sometimes it’s just a matter of being smart about timing and being honest!
Try out these next tips the next time you’re headed for your stay and see what happens…
Timing: First things first, you always have to have superb timing. Once you have booked your room, wait to check LATER in the day. The hotel clerk has no idea how many cancellations and no-shows there will be earlier in the day and therefore they won’t risk passing out upgrades until they do. If you check in later, between 4-6pm, you won’t have to wait too long and you’ll avoid getting put into the no-show list yourself!
Always keep in mind however, that if the place you are staying at is at max occupancy (during peak travel season) the likelihood of this method working it slim. They simply don’t have upgrades to hand out.
Honesty & Manners: Remember what mom always said, be honest and mind your manners. Every hotel clerk or receptionist on this planet as heard the same old white lies again and AGAIN. The “It’s my honeymoon!” or the “It’s our anniversary!” lines are overused and unless you booked way In advance (or wearing a wedding gown) the hotel clerk is going to smell the lie the second you open your mouth. One of the best and easiest approaches to obtaining a room upgrade is to just ask for one! Be sweet, be honest and you might be surprised – insulting the person with the power will most likely backfire.
The one thing you should not do is make up complaints about your room. However if there is something genuinely wrong with your room, don’t shout and make a scene about it, be understanding and polite and you will be rewarded.
The Internet: Not all of us have those cool connections, like being friends with the General Manager, but that doesn't stop us from working the digital connections available to all of us on the internet. Before you book yourself in anywhere check out a website called the Kiwi Collection. It will provide you with lots of free perks and hotel upgrades if you are a member, especially if you’re with them long enough to achieve VIP status. Once you reach this level, Kiwi agents will actually take on the role of your agent and get upgrades for you in an instant!
The best thing it is completely FREE. All they require is your loyalty. Another website to view before you make any bookings is TripAdvisor, it is a great place to check out reviews on specific travel related content and it also includes interactive travel forums.
Loyalty: Loyalty can help you even more than already mentioned. The main thing hotel, guest houses and resorts want is loyalty! They want to know that you’re recommending them to all your friends, family and co-workers. It’s quite simple really, when you refer the hotel, make sure to tell your referral to drop your name at check-in. Believe me, the clerk will make note of it and will thank you with a hotel room upgrade the next time you check in! They will always keep a record of everything and everyone – especially their loyal customers.
This isn't just a “keep our customers happy and loyal” trick that hotels like to use on you, it’s a “we want to save money on marketing” trick. It costs them less to bring back a guest than it does to acquire a new one entirely.
Speak Up: As mentioned before, hotel employees can sniff out a lie from a mile away. However, if you’re booking with a hotel for a special occasion – definitely let them know! If you combine this with tip #1 and check in later in the day, they will probably try to wow you with a surprise upgrade for your special day.
Furthermore, if you happen to be a loyal customer, speak up and tell them! You’ll receive an upgrade, no questions asked.
These are some great tips to keep in mind and some great advice to remember when traveling. They can work wonders for you on your next trip, but most importantly remember that loyalty matters.