Research your hotel before your stay.
- Does it have certain amenities you need, like a coffee maker in the room?
- A microwave?
- A fridge?
- Ice machine?
- Beach chairs and towels?
- Continental breakfast included?
- Parking included? If not,
- how much do these additional fees cost you?
Instead of calling the hotel, and trying to get through talking to a busy front desk or reservation agent, you can find a lot of that information on the hotel’s website, or their associated sales sites (booking, expedia, …).
If everyone had the habit of doing a lot of that research on their own, can relieve the hotel of man hours, and keep their cost lower (which could help you in the long term, in getting lower rates on rooms).
Information to look for online:
- How do the rooms look like?
- Are they big or small?
- Color or plain white?
- Clean, dirty, old, new?
- What area are you going to? Is it a newer district, or an older district? In the center of the city? Close to the airport, beach or other monument?
- Are other hotels in that area similar, or are you about to book from the only ‘dirty motel’ or 5 star penthouse on the block?
In most cases, people are in their rooms to sleep, and spend most of their time out.
If you have the finances, and prefer the view (who doesn’t?) go ahead and pay the overhead fee for an ‘upgraded’ room.
However, in many cases, the standard room offers nearly identical benefits, save for view, or some deluxe items you could do without if you are on a budget.
Research your prices!
Quite often you can find cheaper prices through other sales sites (booking, expedia, kayak, hotels tonight), where you can accumulate points, to get greater deals in the future.
However, booking directly with hotels also has benefits.
Most hotels offer price matching when you book directly with them.
Not only that, but they often also have specials for the guests that do direct reservations.
They should be identified in their website, or confirmation email.
Be sure to ask about these benefits at the front desk as you check in!
Dos and don’ts
Do not think that because they’re at work, it’s ok to treat them any worse than a friend, or a friend of a friend. Politeness is key, in getting things done!
Hotel staff’s response could change depending on the way you approach them!
- Be polite to the hotel front desk staff, just like they are polite to you. They are people like you and me. They have jobs, and they are there to serve you. Their response could change depending on the way you approach them!
- Few people know that frontdesk staff almost has the same power than management, and can decide to cancel your reservation when he or she perceives that you are not going to abide by rules or disrespect the personnel, just like any business can refuse service to you on those same grounds.
So be polite. Say hello, and thank you. You’d be surprised how many people just don’t do this.
- Have your ID and Credit card ready at check in. Most hotels ask for this from the get go, as they more than likely already have your reservation in their system. The only time when your reservation info is asked, is if that hotel specifically has a procedure of collecting that information, however, most don’t.
Or, if your reservation was not found in the system. Your confirmation email could help them find your reservation.
- When you need something for the room, do not try to make excuses, or point fingers. You have no idea how many times front desk personnel get blamed for everything. Clogged toilets, ‘non working’ AC units (sometimes the guest not knowing how to operate it), broken things in the room….
Front desk staff gets to hear the same complaints all the time, so chances are that your new ‘lie to get things done’, has been heard many times before. You’re asking for towels or something else? Fine, front desk will try to get it delivered; but be fair with it! Approaching the front desk pointing the finger ‘it’s your fault, you didn’t provide me …this or that…’, is not the way to go!
90% of amenities not delivered, are because the guest, was in the room at the moment service passed by, or had a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. Chances for staff to have overlooked are extremely small, because after the staff, management confirms that the work was done. So if you did have a DND sign on the door, please don’t try to make it seem like it’s the hotel’s fault.
Instead ask the front desk staff to make a note to make sure the service is done the next day.
- Most smaller hotels, do not deliver room service, and have maids that go home at a certain time (eg: 4 or 5PM), as well as front desk management. If your room was not serviced at this time, chances are low for you to receive a full service; or the ability to talk to management about payment issues, or serious issues that the front desk is not entitled to address. Please be aware of this.
Larger hotels have usually staff until midnight, or 24/7.
If you have an issue, know that in some cases, some issues can only be resolved the next day.
- Don’t spend your time chitchatting with the front desk, asking for random day rates, if you have no fixed day planned to stay over.
Their time is valuable, and so is yours. I can think of better things to do on vacation.
Just like flights, almost all hotels nowadays have variable rates, that change per day; and can change as much as 5x their base price, depending on season, weekend/weekday, and hotel occupancy.
If you’re lucky, the hotel will be empty, and rates are low. If you’re unlucky, you can go in a low season, yet the rates are high, because the hotel is full…
Rates get updated daily!
Very few have fixed seasonal rates. But asking rates won’t really tell you anything.
- Don’t bother the front desk personnel with endless conversations. They often have a lot of administrative work to do; and while everyone enjoys a nice meet and greet, unless there’s some special chemistry going on, keep the meet and greet timed.