7 Hotel Room Upgrade Strategies

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{Editor's Note: On the third Monday of every month we feature an updated and re-imagined version of a popular archive. This month's was published Nov. 10, 2010 and proved a hot topic with multiple shares and retweets.}

Ocean view or garden view? Base room or suite? Penthouse or poolside cabana? When we check into a hotel we imagine there'd be approximately five room categories, yet from a hotel or resort point of view, there can be 20+ categories with discrepancies as small as a tree partially blocking the view, the floor's height or the breadth of bathroom amenities provided.

Because we all like an upgrade, and most front desk staff have a little upgrade wiggle room, here are 7 tips to help you secure a higher room category without paying for it!

7 Upgrade 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 - Simply put, play the part. Hotel room assignments beyond your initially booked category are subjective---at the mercy of the staff member checking you in and occupancy rates. Hotels want the floors with nicer rooms filled with people who ‘look the part,’ so do the ‘math’ for them.

Arrive Early - Even though your room *may* not be ready until the standard 3pm check-in time, ‘get in there’ an hour or two before room roulette begins as the masses check in!

Ask Without Asking - Rather than straight-out asking for an upgrade, ask the front desk agent about their favourite room, or if the room they are putting you into is nice. Reason being, sometimes a room might not be a higher category, but it's has a neat feature, peek-a-boo view or the like!

Loyalty - If you are part of the hotel's loyalty program, provide your number {and remind them of your status} at check-in. Even with a loyalty program membership, sometimes check-in staff don’t see the full snapshot of your loyalty or recent activity at sister hotels, so gently remind them of your allegiance.

Room77 - Earlier this year we wrote about an app that provides tips on the best rooms to request at US hotels. Just before you check in, consult the Room77 app for last-minute insight.

If All Else FailsThere are lots of times I haven’t been upgraded. Usually 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.

Related Content  It Never Hurts to Ask :: Speaking up in your travels

[photo by @tripstyler taken in an upgraded room in Aruba]