Securing the Best Room Garden or mountain view? Regular room or Jr. suite. Suite or Deluxe suite? From a consumer point a view there are only a few room categories, but from a hotel or resort point of view, there can be 20+ categories with discrepancies as small as a tree partially blocking a view, the floor or the breadth of bathroom amenities provided.
Obviously, we all like an upgrade or want the best room room within our category. Here are 5 tips to help you secure a higher room category without paying for it!
5 Hotel & Resort Check-in Strategies Call ahead Calling ahead is a triple-threat. A) it confirms your reservation, B) it introduces you to the hotel and C) it gives you an opportunity to make any special requests in advance, so the hotel isn't scrambling to accommodate the day you check-in.
Look nice I hate to say it, but play the part. Hotel room assignments beyond your initially booked category are subjective, completely at the mercy of the staff member checking you in and occupancy rates. Because hotels want the floors with nicer rooms filled with people who 'look the part,' do the 'math' for them.
Arrive early Even though your room *may* not be ready until the standard 3pm check-in time, I've been able to get a room as early as 8am depending on the hotel's occupancy. Moreover, arriving earlier allows you to 'get in there' before the room roulette begins as the masses check-in!
Power of suggestion Even with a loyalty program membership, sometimes check-in staff don't see the full snapshot of your loyalty or recent activity, therefore, it's important to gently and nicely remind them of your allegiance and how often you've stayed with them or a partner hotel.
If all else fails There have been lots of times I haven't been upgraded. 99% of the time it doesn't bother me, but if you get to your room and die a little inside, say something! Put on your PR hat, take your bags to the font desk and ask for different room. Usually the hotel will oblige if they aren't fully booked, especially if you provide a good reason.
A Personal Story I have many stories of being upgraded or not, but one that illustrates a few of the above points comes from a stay at the Mariott Wailea. I booked the property through Priceline, so knew I wasn't going to get a room with a million dollar view. Knowing that within the lower room categories, there are rooms with NO view, and those with partial views, I gently asked if there was an opportunity to stay in the best room within the category set. The resort obliged and we had a 5th-floor ocean view for $120/night. Not too shabby for Wailea, Maui.
PS - Remembrance day is a National Canadian holiday observed every November 11th, as such, there will be no content published tomorrow. Stay tuned for Travel Trappings :: Cruising on Friday.
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