Getting a great deal can make you feel richer, more attractive, and cooler than your friends who pay more. It’s not always easy to swing a discount or upgrade, but with a little luck and charm, you can almost always get hooked up with some free perks.
Do Your Research Before Booking
Find cheap hotels you would like to book, and then check rates on multiple sites (include the hotel brand’s own site). If the rates vary, it’s easy to call the hotel and ask for a price match with the lowest rate you find. Sometimes the front desk will even offer you a rate lower than you find on any other sites (because it saves them money to book with you directly).
Get Your Timing Right
While booking during the high travel season might be more fun or easier for your kids who are in school, booking off-season is cheaper. Also, fewer occupancies often mean that the hotel can afford to upgrade your room (whereas a hotel at 100% occupancy cannot move you to a nicer suite).
Checking in later in the day, such as between 4-6 pm, also gives you a better chance of an upgrade: the front desk person knows if people have cancelled and if suites are available.
Call Ahead & Schmooze With the Manager
By knowing the rates and occupancy rates as well as that it’s the off-season, you can gently inform the manager that you’re aware he can cut you a deal. Don’t be obnoxious about it: just ask once and take your answer in stride. Always thank the manager for his or her time, even if you are rejected.
Share Information About Yourself
Let the front desk person and manager know if you’re celebrating a special occasion during your stay. For example, by mentioning that it’s your birthday you could receive free champagne delivered to your room. If you casually mention that your husband is returning from a long deployment, you could find yourselves upgraded to a suite.
While you should never make it seem like you’re angling for an upgrade, dropping information about yourself can encourage the front desk person to treat you.
Play Nice With the Bored Front Desk Agent
Being funny and charming with a front desk agent who is bored and working long night shifts goes a long way towards friendly upgrades. Offer him or her a diversion from the mutiny of checking people in quickly, and you could make a connection that will help.
Be Sure to Tip Generously
Even if the hotel rejects your multiple ploys for an upgrade, remember to be kind and tip well. On future visits you could find that they will remember you and treat you more kindly.
Join the Rewards Programs
Hotel staff are often required to sign-up a certain number of guests for the incentives or membership program. Offer to sign-up if it will help them meet their quota: this action will subconsciously trigger a reflex in them that makes them want to do you a favor.
By being a great guest and getting to know the hotel team you can ingratiate yourself enough to get upgrades on each subsequent visit, even if the first one is a bust. Try to remember these tips and you will find yourself in the nicest suite in the hotel while your friends wither away on lower floors!